Here we are and here we go, the highlight of the racing year for many punters the world over, four whole days of top quality racing from Cheltenham in deepest darkest Gloucestershire, where fortunes will be made and lost, massive bets will be struck, heroes will rise and heroes will fall, but a great time will be had by all (and No, that wasn’t supposed to rhyme).
Seven races would be tough on the wallet so I will not look to find the winners of all of them but try to balance the sensible side of my nature to find winners and value of there is any left to find by now of course.
Starting with the glaringly obvious I cannot help but go for Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle as I have been tipping and backing him for the race since last march, when he was third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, looking as if he faded late on. His critics have jumped on that to question his stamina up the infamous Cheltenham hill, but trainer Nicky Henderson pointed out to me that he hit the last, has had a breathing operation since, is a year older and stronger, and that this is over fences not hurdles! His races over fences have been amazing so far, with his last run at Newbury breaking a 23 year old course record yet he was never out of much more than a canter. His problem here will be staying off the front until when jockey Barry Geraghty wants to get there as he takes a couple of lengths out of his rivals at each fence. Overall, I believe that if he can be kept sound he could be the best two mile chaser we have seen in many a year, and I honestly feel he could have gone for the Champion Chase instead and not disgraced himself as a novice.
Avoiding the other short priced favourites (Hurricane Fly, Quevega), who both ought to win, my other bet needs to be higher risk (and a higher price), and I have come down on the side of Carrickboy in the last each way. He won easily last time out at Hereford and although the faster ground today is of concern, he could be thrown in at the weights for the 5.15pm under a five-pound penalty for that success. The Venetia Williams yard have been in good form in the last two weeks which could be all important, and I am pretty sure the handicapper would have liked him to be carrying a few more pounds, meaning that if the race eight days ago did not take too much out off him (and it looked little more than a canter), then at a massive price he could well sneak in to the frame.
Sensible bet for Punters
3pts Win SPRINTER SACRE 2.05pm Cheltenham @ 1.91 Paddy Power 50£ in Free bets!
Silly bets for dreamers:
1pt each way CARRICKBOY 5.15pm Cheltenham @ 13.00 with Paddy Power ( 7.50 profit if win, 1 profit if placed)
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