Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2014: Six of the Best for Quevega

In 2013, Ruby Walsh announced that his decade-long association with Paul Nicholls would end and, consequently, the Cheltenham Festival in 2014 was his first as stable jockey to Willie Mullins. Not that it made much difference, because the partnership were off the mark at the first time of asking – as they had been the previous year – with victory for Vautour in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The story on day one, however, belongs to another Mullins-trained runner, Quevega, who made it 6-6 in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, for which she had started favourite on all six occasions, the last four at odds-on.

Willie Mullins was also on target with Faugheen, ridden by Ruby Walsh, in the NIM Novices’ Hurdle and Don Poli, ridden by Michael Fogarthy, in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. Mullins and Walsh were crowned leading trainer and jockey, respectively, for the third year in a row.

Other notable winners during the week were Jezki in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, Sire De Grugy in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Silver Concorde in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, More Of That in the Ladbroke World Hurdle and Lord Windermere in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. The latter was trained by Jim Culloty, better known as the jockey of Best Mate, who won the Blue Riband event in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2013: Sprinter Sacre Reigns in Queen Mother

Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins set out his Festival stall early in 2013 with a treble on day one. Champagne Fever, the winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 2012, won the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Hurricane Fly regained his title in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, reversing 2012 form with Rock On Ruby, and the admirable mare Quevega won the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle for the fifth year running.

All three were ridden by Ruby Walsh, but Mullins’ son, Patrick, joined the party early on day two, making up 6 lengths on the run-in to win the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase on Back In Focus, also saddled by his father. Mullins Snr. and Walsh added Briar Hill – unbelievably a 25/1 chance – in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper later in the day to their respective totals and that was enough for the pair to take the leading trainer and jockey titles.

Elsewhere, Sprinter Sacre turned the Queen Mother Champion Chase into the anticipated procession, barely coming off the bridle to win by 19 lengths, Solwhit won the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Bobs Worth won the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. The hitherto unbeaten Our Conor, trained by Dessie Hughes and ridden by Brian Cooper, was the easiest winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle for many a year, effortlessly drawing clear in the closing stages to win by 15 lengths.

Monday, 7 May 2018

David Nicholson


David Nicholson, universally known as “The Duke”, was a highly successful National Hunt trainer. In a 31-year career, he saddled a total of 1,499 winners, including 17 at the Cheltenham Festival, and won the National Hunt Trainers’ Championship twice, in 1993/94 and 1994/95. In fact, he was the only trainer to break the monopoly on the trainers’ title held by Martin Pipe between 1988/89 and 2004/05.



Instantly recognisable on the racecourse by his gaudy sheepskin coat and red socks, and famous for his frank, forthright attitude, Nicholson sent out his first Cheltenham Festival winner in 1986. The victory of Solar Cloud in the Triumph Hurdle, though, was followed by another for Charter Party in the National Hunt Chase later the same day. Charter Party would return to Prestbury Park two years later to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Alongside property developer Colin Smith, who owned a share of Charter Party, Nicholson was instrumental in the development of Jackdaws Castle, a state-of-the-art training facility in Temple Guiting, near Cheltenham, now occupied by Jonjo O’Neill. In 1990, he sold Cotswold House, in Condicote, near Stow-on-the-Wold and accepted a salaried position at Jackdaws Castle. Later Cheltenham Festival highlights included Mysilv in the Triumph Hurdle in 1994, Viking Flagship in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1994 and 1995 and Anzum in the Stayers’ Hurdle in 1999.

David Nicholson retired from training in 1999 and died, from a heart attack, in 2006, at the age of 67. In 2008, a new race, registered as the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, was added to the Cheltenham in his memory but, for sponsorship purposes, has been run as the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle since 2011.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Grand National Quiz!

Well here we are, another year, another huge weekend for Horse Racing fans. The Grand National at Aintree in Liverpool has been running for over 170 years, and is without a doubt the most popular racing meet in history. Over its long four day weekend, it’s estimated that over 600 million people are set to watch the event globally, and a whopping 150,000 fans showing up in person to attend. With the festival just around the corner, we’ve got this brilliant quiz to help you dial in your knowledge this year. All you need to do is read the stats of each anonymous horse and guess which horse it is! The stats range from age, origin, important wins and even trainers. Hopefully it’ll help you figure out the best Grand National Betting offers this weekend.
Who’s your money on? D’you think you’ll do well? Let us know, and best of luck readers!



Relive the 2018 Cheltenham Festival

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival was an epic event which saw the favourites live up to the billing while they were a few underdogs who managed to make some surprises. The only downside of the event was probably the death of at least five horses both during and subsequently soon after the Cheltenham Festival, something which has prompted the authorities to launch an investigation into the matter. Besides this rather unfortunate turn of events, everything else was smooth and punters who managed to go to the Festival and those who placed their bets online at various sportsbooks such as NetBet Sport were thrilled at most of the favourites won. The last day of the Festival provided the bulk of the action, let’s relive some of the action. 

Gold Cup

The Gold Cup epitomised this year’s Cheltenham Festival’s brilliance and style as the top horses all fought resolutely for the ultimate prize. In a race that was widely awaited for by many, the Gold Cup did not disappoint as Native River won the prestigious Gold Cup in stunning fashion. The favourite before the start of the race Might Bite had to settle for second place despite putting in the performance of a winner. 

The Gold Cup which also presented Might Bite’s trainer, Nicky Henderson with the opportunity to record a first Cheltenham Festival treble ended in disappointment as Henderson’s horse, Might Bite could only manage second place. Nicky Henderson’s previous two wins were in the Champion Hurdle with Buveur d’Air and the Champion Chase with Altior. 

With favourites, Minella Rocco, Shantou Flyer, and Double Shuffle ruled out for this year’s Cheltenham Festival, Might Bite’s task was made a little bit easier. However, Might Bite paid dearly for a slow start which allowed Native River to get on the front from the word go, a position Native River maintained for the entirety of the race. 

Grand Annual

The penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival saw some top horses battle it out in the Grand Annual. The two-mile handicap chase which is a test of stamina and speed was full of action from start to finish. The race was made much more intriguing by the fact that there was no clear favourite before the start. Last year’s winner, Rock the World though competing again was not tipped by many to retain the title. North Hill Harvey, Don’t Touch It, Theinval, and Vanietux were some of the horses with favourable odds at the start of the race. 

At the start of the race, Bright New Dawn took the lead and showed incredible pace as he tried to establish a wider gap between him and the other horses. However, the fast start was halted a bit when he failed to negotiate some jumps and Gino Trail took the lead. It was only after some leaps that Bright New Dawn came back into the thick of things. With Gino Trail leading by two lengths, last year’s winner North Hill Harvey fell at the third last. A few lengths before Gino Trail could claim his first Cheltenham win, Le Prezien took a great leap and overtook Gino Trail to finish the race in pole position leaving Gino Trail having to contend with second place. Le Prezien which was being ridden by Barry Geraghty gave him his second win in three races at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2012: Henderson Breaks Records

Trainer Nicky Henderson started the week with 39 Cheltenham Festival winners, just one behind the late Fulke Walwyn but, by Friday evening, was far and away the most successful trainer in the history of the meeting. Henderson saddled seven winners, two more than the previous record held by Paul Nicholls, including an unprecedented four on the second day, to finish the week with a career total of 46 Festival wins. Perhaps the most poignant of the seven was Bellvano, who beat stable companion Tanks For That by 2¼ lengths in the closing Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase to give the Lambourn trainer a 1-2 in the race named in honour of his late father.

Interestingly, Henderson Jnr. saddled the winner of just one ‘championship’ race, Finian’s Rainbow in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but victories for Sprinter Sacre in the Racing Post Arkle Chase, Simonsig in the NIM Novices’ Hurdle, Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase and Riverside Theatre in the Ryanair Chase were sufficient to make Barry Geraghty the leading jockey at the Festival for the second time in his career with five winners.

Not even Henderson could stop Quevega or Big Buck’s completing hat-tricks in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle and Ladbrokes World Hurdle, respectively. Other notable winners included Rock On Ruby in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, Champagne Fever in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and Synchronised in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Results in Full - Day Four


13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
1.Farclas - G Elliott - J Kennedy - 9/1
2.Mr Adjudicator - W Mullins - P Townend - 8/1
3.Sayo - W Mullins - D Mullins - 33/1
9 Ran
14:10 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1.Mohaayed - D Skelton - B Andrews - 33/1
2.Remiluc - C Gordon - H Reed - 50/1
3.Whiskey Sour - W Mullins - D Mullins - 7/1
4.Chesterfield - S Mullins - D Sansom - 16/1
24 Ran
14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Spa Novices' Hurdle)
1.Kilbricken Storm - C Tizzard - H Cobden - 33/1
2.Ok Corral - N Henderson - B Geraghty - 16/1
3.Santini - N Henderson - N De Boinville - 11/4f
20 Ran
15:30 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1)
1.Native River - C Tizzard - R Johnson - 5/1
2.Might Bite - N Henderson - N De Boinvile - 4/1f
3.Anibale Fly - A Martin - B Geraghty - 33/1
15 Ran
16:10 St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase
1.Pacha Du Polder - P Nicholls - H Tucker - 25/1
2.Top Wood - Miss K Wood - S Davies-Thomas - 50/1
3.Cousin Pete - 66/1 and Barel Of Laughs - 14/1
24 Ran
16:50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle
1.Blow By Blow - G Elliott - D Meyler - 11/1
2.Discorama - P Nolan - D Robinson - 33/1
3.Early Doors - J O'Brien - JJ Slevin - 9/1
4.Sire Du Berlais - G Elliott - D McInerney - 10/1
23 Ran
17:30 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
1.Le Prezien - P Nicholls - B Geraghty - 15/2
2.Gino Trail - K Lee - J Moore - 25/1
3.Top Gamble - K Lee - D Russell - 8/1
4.Theinval - N Henderson - J McGrath - 16/1
23 Ran

Friday, 16 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Results in Full - Day Three




13:30 JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller)
1.Shattered Love - G Elliott - J Kennedy - 4/1
2.Terrefort - N Henderson - D Jacob - 3/1f
3.Benatar - G Moore - J Moore - 10/1
9 Ran
14:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1.Delta Work - G Elliott - D Russell - 6/1
2.Glenloe - G Elliott - B Geraghty - 9/2f
3.Connetable - P Nicholls - H Cobden - 33/1
4.Taj Badalandabad - D Pipe - T Scudamore - 40/1
23 Ran
14:50 Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Festival Trophy)
1.Balko Des Flos - H De Bromhead - D Russell - 8/1
2.Un De Sceaux - W Mullins - P Townend - 8/11f
6 Ran
15:30 Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1)
1.Penhill - W Mullins - P Townend - 12/1
2.Supasundae - J Harrington - R Power - 6/1
3.Wholestone - N Twiston-Davies - A Coleman - 14/1
16 Ran

16:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
1.The Storyteller - G Elliott - D Russell - 5/1f
2.Spash Of Ginge - N Twiston-Davies - J Bargary - 25/1
3.King's Odyssey - E Williams - A Wedge - 14/1
4.Ballyalton - I Williams - T O'Brien - 16/1
22 Ran
16:50 Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Dawn Run)
1.Laurina - W Mullins - P Townend - 4/7f
2.Cap Soleil - F O'Brien - P Brennan - 10/1
3.Champayne Lady - A Fleming - D O'Regan - 80/1
14 Ran
17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase
1.Missed Approach - W Greatrex - N McParlan - 8/1
2.Mall Dini - P Kelly - P Mullins - 4/1f
3.Squouateur - G Elliott - J Codd - 5/1
4.Double Ross - N Twiston-Davies - 40/1
21 Ran

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Results in Full - Day Two



13:30 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered as The Baring Bingham)
1.Samcro - G Elliott - J Kennedy - 8/11f
2.Black Op - T George - N Fehily - 8/1
3.Next Destination - W Mullins - R Walsh - 4/1
14 Ran
14:10 RSA Insurance Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
1.Presenting Percy - P Kelly - D Russell - 5/2f
2.Monalee - H De Bromhead - N Fehily - 10/1
3.Elegant Escape - C Tizzard - H Cobden - 9/1
10 Ran
14:50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1.Bleu Berry - W Mullins - M Walsh - 20/1
2.Topofthegame - P Nicholls - S Twiston-Davies - 9/1
3.Barra - G Elliott - J Kennedy - 16/1
4.William Henry - N Henderson - J Bowen - 8/1JF
26 Ran
15:30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)
1.Altior - N Henderson - N De Boinville - Evsf
2.Min - W Mullins - P Townend - 5/2
3.God's Own - T George - P Brennan - 40/1
9 Ran
16:10 Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase)
1.Tiger Roll - G Elliott - K Donoghue - 7/1
2.Urgent De Gregaine - E Clayeux - F De Giles - 12/1
3.The Last Samuri - K Bailey - D Bass - 11/4f
16 Ran
16:50 Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1.Veneer Of Charm - G Elliott - J Kennedy - 33/1
2.Style De Garde - N Henderson - N De Boinville - 12/1
3.Nube Negra - D Skelton - H Skelton - 15/2f
4.Padleyourowncanoe - C Tizzard - T Scudamore - 33/1
22 Ran
17:30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1)
1.Relegate - W Mullins - Ms K Walsh - 25/1
2.Carefully Selected - W Mullins - D Mullins - 6/1
3.Tornado Flyer - W Mullins - P Townend - 14/1
23 Ran

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Results in Full - Day One




1:30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f

1.Summerville Boy - T George - N Fehily - 9/1
2.Kalashnikov - A Murphy - J Quinlan - 5/1
3.Mengli Khan - G Elliott - J Kennedy -14/1
20 Ran

14:10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
1.Footpad - W Mullins - R Walsh - 5/6f
2.Brain Power - N Henderson - N De Boinville - 14/1
5 Ran

14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
1.Coo Star Sivola - N Williams - L Kelly - 5/1
2.Shantou Flyer - R Hobson - J Bowen - 14/1
3.Vintage Clouds - S Smith - D Cook - 7/1
4.Beware The Bear - N Henderson - J McGrath - 14/1
18 Ran

15:30 Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)
1.Buveur D'air - N Henderson - B Geraghty - 4/6f
2.Melon - W Mullins - P Townend - 7/1
3.Mick Jazz - G Elliott - D Russell - 25/1
11 Ran

16:10 OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle)
1.Benie Des Dieux - W Mullins - R Walsh - 9/2
2.Midnight Tour - A King - D Russell - 33/1
3.Appe's Jade - G Elliott - J Kennedy - 1/2f
9 Ran

16:50 National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase (Grade 2)
1.Rathvinden - W Mullins - Mr P Mullins - 9/2
2.Ms Parfois - A Honeyball - Mr W Biddick - 11/2
3.Sizing Tennessee - C Tizzard - Mr B O'Neill - 8/1
16 Ran

17:30 Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed)
1.Mister Whitaker - M Channon - B Hughes - 13/2
2.Rather Be - N Henderson - J McGrath - 12/1
3.Rocklander - T George - A Heskin - 25/1
4.Barney Dwan - F O'Brien - P Brennan - 15/2
20 Ran

Cheltenham Festival 2018

Many racing fans will be looking through the competitive racing action at the Cheltenham festival for the best bets. The Cheltenham odds continued to change on the run up to the meeting with punters looking to get the best price available on their fancied horse. One horse that certainly is a fan favourite is the seasoned and tough Un de Sceaux. The now 10 year old trained by Willie Mullins has continued to perform at the top level throughout his career and will be looking for his third Cheltenham festival victory in the Ryanair Chase.


The latest betting on the race makes him the current 6/4 market leader as opposition continues to be ruled out of the race. Un de Sceaux heads into the meeting with 20 victories and 3 seconds in his 26 starts under rules. He won the 2017 running of the race in emphatic fashion having pulled for much of the contest but again battled on well up the famous Cheltenham hill. If he puts in a similar performance as he has recently it will take a top performance to dethrone him.


Un de Sceaux returned this season following a 229 day break and was very weak in the market. However he won the contest by 25 lengths on the bridle landing odds of 4/6. His next start was record breaking as he became the first horse to win the Clarence house Chase for the third time. This resulted in his trainer branding him the iron horse which just shows what he is all about. As tough as they come with a huge amount of ability to back it up.


One of his key dangers for the race looks to be the revitalised Cue Card. He is another star of national hunt racing who returned from a short 84 day break to run the hugely talented unbeaten chaser Waiting Patiently to a 2 and ¾ length second. Cue Card now 12 years of age is also a multiple Cheltenham festival winner having won the bumper back in 2010 and most recently the Ryanair Chase in 2013. Both horses are absolutely stars of the sport so either would be a fitting winner of the 2018 renewal but if Cue Card were to get his head in front in may bring the roof off as he is such a fan favourite. Are you are still looking for that Cheltenham horse to support? Well we have you covered with this horse generator below:


Cheltenham Festival Value Bets

Looking at the prices across the whole of the Cheltenham festival this year there looks to be little value that the bookies haven’t already hoovered up. Footpad, the overwhelming favourite in the second race on Day 1 justified the confidence from the shot callers and romped home over 10 lengths clear, allowing Ruby Walsh to start celebrating even before he crossed the line.
Where there looks to be more value is in the Top Trainers stakes with Willie Mullins leading the race already but he has Nicky Henderson and Gordon Elliott breathing down his neck he’ll have to make sure his horses are in form. 


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

English Trainers Set to Win All Four of the Main Cheltenham Festival Races

 

The Cheltenham Festival is nearly upon us, and as usual there has been a lot of discussion around the horses that will be clashing in the four big races of the festival. In years gone by, we have seen Irish dominance in both these four races and the festival as a whole. However, this year, things look to be set up differently. The English trainers, led by Nicky Henderson, appear to have great chances in all four of the Championship races, and there looks to be a very good chance of all four titles remaining in England.
The Champion Hurdle
The feature of day one is the Champion Hurdle, a race over two miles to test both the speed and jumping ability of horses. Last year’s champion Buveur D’Air is back to defend his crown, and right now there appears to be no danger to him. The Nicky Henderson trained seven-year-old has sauntered through this season, winning all three of his races without being challenged. The one worry about him may be that he has not had enough preparation, and hasn’t been tested since this race last season. However, Nicky Henderson is a man who knows what he is doing, and he is sure to have thought of this, and ensured there is enough work in Buveur D’Air to get him in top shape on the day.
Opposition to Buveur D’Air is thin on the ground, with Faugheen looking to be the likeliest to pounce on any sub-par effort from the favourite. However, he has been nowhere near his best recently, and it is likely that he will either go very close, or be tailed off, which would be a disappointing sight. That leaves My Tent Or Yours as the one most likely to chase home Buveur D’Air, potentially giving Nicky Henderson a one-two in the race.
The Champion Chase
The Champion Chase tells a similar story to the Champion Hurdle. We have a Nicky Henderson favourite, and a Willie Mullins trained challenger who has had problems in the past. The Henderson horse is Altior, and the Willie Mullins horse is Douvan. Altior is potentially a very special horse, and last season he put in a great performance to win the Arkle Chase. He’s had his problems over the summer, but has been given time to return and was mightily impressive when he did come back, beating Politologue with ease despite not being fully fit. We could be seeing another Sprinter Sacre with Altior, he really could be that special and at just eight, he is in the prime of his life right now.
The main challenger to Altior will be Douvan if he runs - if not, it will be the other Willie Mullins horse, Min. Douvan was a very short priced favourite to win this race last season, but injured himself during the race to finish nearer last than first. We have not seen him since that run, and it is going to take a monumental effort from Willie Mullins to get him back and beating Altior. However, if there is a man that can do that, then Willie Mullins would be top of the list. Should Douvan not make it then Min would be the clear second favourite, although he has a lot to find on form with Altior, something that looks like being too much for him to turn around.
Providing we don’t have any scares with the favourite, it is likely that after the Champion Chase, Nicky Henderson will have won both of the big races so far at the 2018 festival.


 
The Stayers Hurdle
The Stayers Hurdle looks to be the best betting heat out of the four big races this season, with a wide open feel to it. Opinions vary on this race, but there is one horse in the field who could still be improving and eventually turn out to be a lot better than his rivals, and that is Sam Spinner. He will have to do this the hard way, because he loves to race from the front, something that will be very difficult for him to do. However, it is impossible to not be impressed by his upward curve this season, he looks to be a superstar in the making, though this is his toughest step so far.
His main rival in the betting appears to be Supasundae who is currently edging favouritism for the race. He is an Irish raider who will be tested by the stiff three miles here. This is a big step up from the two miles he faced last time out, and his challenge hinges on whether he will stay the trip or not. If he does stay then he has to be respected, but that is not a certainty. With many others having each way chances, including Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge, this is a great betting heat, and it may be the ideal opportunity to take advantage of a Paddy Power risk-free £20 bet, or one of the free bets from Timeform.
The Gold Cup
The final big race of the meeting takes place on the final day of the festival and it is the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Nicky Henderson looks sure to be involved in this race as he has the current favourite Might Bite aimed at the race, an enigmatic horse, but one who won at the festival last season. Whether he will stay the trip of three miles and two furlongs on likely soft ground is the big question mark against him. Fellow English challenger Native River is the second favourite, and he has no such question marks by the side of his name. He is a great jumper, with a willing attitude, guaranteed to stay and will like the soft ground - there is plenty going in his favour here.
Elsewhere, many people will be looking for each way bets in the race as they look to find value and Definitly Red, a northern challenger is one to consider. Like Native River, he will like the ground, and is sure to stay the trip - he could surprise a few at a big price and pick up at least a place. He was very impressive round Cheltenham last time out, and deserves this step up to the top level.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Native River and Definitly Red to Fight Out Cheltenham Gold Cup


"Cheltenham Racecourse" by Stephen Bowden (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The Cheltenham Festival is nearly upon us and the biggest race of the week, without a doubt, is the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Run on Friday, the final day of the meeting, this race brings together the best staying chasers and they take each other on in what is always a huge test of jumping, stamina and courage. This year, with the going expected to be softer than normal it will take even more courage and character from the brave horses involved if they are to lift one of racing’s biggest prizes.
The soft ground, assuming it comes, will suit some horses better than others, and two of the horses that will love it are Native River and Definitly Red. Although not favourite at the moment, it would be no surprise to see Native River sent off favourite on Friday, as money goes on the soft ground specialists. We have only seen him once this season, a completely different preparation to the one he had last season. He impressed on his return to the track in February, and trainer Colin Tizzard will be hoping he has done the right thing and got him spot on for the big day.
Current favourite Might Bite has a doubt about staying the Gold Cup distance, and soft ground will question that even further. The likely drift of Might Bite and the money for Native River is highly likely to force a change in favourite.


 
Definitly Red is an outsider for the race at the moment, but would be of real interest on rain softened ground. The further they go, the better he will be - so the more emphasis on stamina the better for him. He won in great style at Cheltenham last time out when the going was soft, and he is also going to attract a lot of betting support as we draw closer to the big event. The latest Cheltenham odds 2018 have Definitly Red at 12/1, something that is highly unlikely to be available on the day, given the ground we are likely to encounter.
The Brian Ellison yard have targeted this race instead of another tilt at the Grand National, a race in which he was pulled up last year after the saddle slipped. He was desperately unlucky that day, and will be looking for redemption in another big race this Friday, when he takes to the track at Cheltenham.
Punters will be able to see how bad the ground is on the first three days of the festival before deciding where to put their money. However, if it is as soft as people are expecting it to be, then expect to see a lot of that money going towards Native River and Definitly Red. The money is likely to send Native River off as the favourite, while Definitly Red is also likely to shorten and those two can battle out the finish on Friday, with a huge audience watching both at the track and at home on TV.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

 
Here's hoping you're all geared up for The Cheltenham Festival. If you're looking for race by race breakdown gives you an insight on the schedule, course, insight into previous years and tips for this year's Cheltenham Festival then check out our Cheltenham Focus blog!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2011: Maiden Win for Mullins

Ruby Walsh made a statement of intent by winning the Stan James Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Al Ferof for Paul Nicholls and, by the end of the opening day, was well on the way to yet another leading jockey title, courtesy of Hurricane Fly in the Stan James Champion Hurdle and Quevega in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle. Further victories on Big Buck’s in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Final Approach in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle gave Nicholls’ stable jockey a total of five winners for the week, but it was Willie Mullins, with four winners – Hurricane Fly, Quevega, Final Approach and Sir Des Champs, in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle – who lifted his maiden trainers’ title.

Other notable winners included Sizing Europe in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Cheltenian in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and Long Run in the Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. The latter performance was particularly special, not only because the 6-year-old beat Denham and Kauto Star by 7 lengths and 4 lengths but, in so doing, also became the first horse since Little Owl, in 1981, to win the race under an amateur jockey.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Amazing Career of Ruby Walsh




The great Ruby Walsh is universally considered as one of the greatest jockeys of the National Hunt. The Irish jockey's long career is extremely rich with achievements.


He got injured at Punches town in a fall on last November and had been on the sidelines since. However, he is now preparing for a return at the mega Cheltenham Festival where he enjoys an amazing record.


He said, "I could even be riding out by the end of next week. Things are going well; I just need to be patient and not do myself any damage. There's no real pain any more, but things can't be rushed."

He remained associated with the great trainers Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls, winning every significant race in the world of National Hunt racing.
 

Every year, the festival at Prestbury Park brings all the best horses, jockeys and trainers in jump racing with every day having at least one major race for punters. And as the Cheltenham Festival is drawing ever near, we will give you the latest tips and offers so that you know where you can put your money. Besides the best free bets for Cheltenham, we will also give you the best odds for all the races of the Cheltenham Festival from the prestigious Gold Cup to the World Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle.


Betting is so much more fun now with so many lucrative offers. Paddy Power will give you the £20 Risk Free Bet. With Betfair, you can get up to £100 free bets. While Coral is giving you the Bet £5 Get £20 offer and 888Sport will give you the Bet £10 Get £30. Along with the free bets, these bookmakers are also offering the special offers like the Best Odds Guaranteed and the Non Runner No Bet. With the Best Odds Guaranteed, the bookmaker will pay you at the bigger odds while the Non Runner No Bet essentially means that you won't lose your money if your horse falls on the racing day.


His father is the former champion amateur jockey Ted Walsh while his sister Katie Walsh is also a top female jockey. He began showing his talents for racing from very early on, winning the the Irish amateur title twice. At just his first attempt, he managed to win the 2000 English Grand National on his father's trained horse Papillon.
 

In the 2004-05 season Ruby Walsh grabbed 3 out of the 4 Nationals- the Irish Grand National, the Welsh National and the 2005 Grand National. He also holds one of the best Grand National records with two wins to his name.


Ruby Walsh has the incredible record of riding over 2000 winners. He won 56 of these at the Cheltenham Festival. He also has the record of becoming the first jockey to ride four winners on the same day at the Cheltenham Festival. In the 2009 Cheltenham Festival, he established the record of riding seven winners over the 4 days. While he managed to equalize that record at the Cheltenham Festival of 2016. 
 

His other popular victories are the Cheltenham Gold Cup wins in 2007 and 2009 on Kauto Star, the 2004 Queen Mother Champion Chase on Azertyuiop and the successes at Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2008 and 2009.


He won the 2006 King George VI Chase on the legendary horse Kauto Star. Not only that, he repeated the very same feat for the next three years by riding Kauto Star to win the King George VI Chase in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Hennessy Gold Cup came to him twice on Strong Flow and Denman.

Aboard Bluestone Lad, he completed the fastest ever century of winners in 2007. By the end of the 2006-07 season, he had a combined total of 198 winners in Ireland and the UK. While he ended the next season of 2007-08 by riding his 200th winner.


He is the most successful rider at Cheltenham Festival with 56 victories to his name. Within the last 14 years, the great jockey Walsh has won the leading rider's award for 11 times. He also won the Australian Grand National in 2015 on Bashboy.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Could Ravenhill Road Upset Cracking Smart, Samcro In Cheltenham Battle?

Cracking Smart is the headline horse ahead of Cheltenham Festival and will be looking to enhance his reputation by claiming victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle title.
There are a number of talented horses in the field and it promises to be a fascinating contest due to the quality on display. Ravenhill Road is the leading competitor to emerge from the northern stables to challenge Gordon Elliott's charge. However, he will face a massive challenge to defeat Cracking Smart.
The French horse is considered the leading contender for the crown among leading bookmakers with Oddschecker and would be well worth use of a free bet, although he will face stiff competition at the race in March. We’ll now breakdown Cracking Smart’s form and his major rivals’ performances from their careers thus far heading into the showdown.
Cracking Smart

  
Source: JamesStevens180 via Twitter

Gordon Elliott’s charge began his career at Naas in the GAA Maiden Hurdle. The French horse was considered an outsider for the event, but produced a fine performance to finish in second place, although he was one-and-three-quarter lengths off the pace of winner Midnight Banks. Cracking Smart made his breakthrough at the GAA Race Day Flat Race at Fairyhouse. Jamie Codd manoeuvred the bay gelding through the field before cantering down the final stretch to win by 13 lengths, ending the 2017-18 campaign on a high note.
He returned to action for the Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown. Jack Kennedy took over the reins, with the French horse considered the favourite for the event. He made a steady start to the action and made his way through the field before finding his rhythm before the penultimate hurdle. Cracking Smart surged down the stretch to win by four lengths ahead of Irish horse Shady Operator. Elliott’s charge proved his quality with a fine outing at the Irish EBF Novice Hurdle. Kennedy was again in the saddle and he gradually moved into striking distance before the last fence. Cracking Smart almost made a costly error, but managed to regain the stride pattern needed to close out the victory by a comfortable margin.

The French horse’s run of three victories on the spin was ended by Next Destination at the Navan Novice Hurdle. The six-year-old struggled for rhythm down the stretch of the race and could not match the speed of his rival, losing out by five-and-half lengths. The two horses duelled it out again at the Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle, with the Irish horse triumphing once again, with Cracking Smart falling short by one length. Elliott will be looking for a stronger performance from his charge in his first outing at Cheltenham.

Ravenhill Road
Ellison’s charge has the opportunity to make a splash at the race and challenge the elite competitors, despite his lack of experience on the major stage. The chestnut gelding has never appeared at Cheltenham and has only five races under his belt. However, with Ellison and Brian Hughes in the saddle, he could be one to watch at the Festival. Ravenhill Road began his career at the Standard Open NH Flat Race at Market Rasen.
The Irish horse was considered the favourite for the event, and was able to rise to the occasion to claim the victory in a comfortable manner, cantering down the stretch to win by 14 lengths ahead of Temple Man. In his next two-mile outing, Ravenhill Road was challenged by a talented field at Doncaster. Kaine Wood kept his charge in rhythm and was able to pull away three furlongs towards the end of the race. The Irish horse found top gear down the stretch to gallop to a four-and-a-half length victory, placing ahead of compatriot Molly Childers.
After almost a year out of action, the seven-year-old returned to the fold at the Ditherer Stakes Maiden Hurdle at Sedgefield. Hughes took to the reins and guided the horse steadily out of the gate before finding rhythm to challenge the leaders. Ravenhill Road moved ahead of the field three furlongs and put forward a dominant closing run, finishing the race 23 lengths ahead of his nearest rival Inniscastle Lad.
The Irish horse faced a challenge maintaining his form at the Sky Bet Fast Withdrawal Novices' Hurdle at Doncaster. After a solid opening to the race, he began to close on the leading group, but was unable to make the decisive shift in pace overhaul his rivals. Ravenhill Road lacked the speed to claim the victory, finishing in third behind And The New and Django Django.
As a result of that performance, he was an outsider for the Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial Novices' Hurdle. After a strong start to the race, the Irish hose lost his rhythm and meandered at the eight fence. He failed to regain his stride pattern before pulling up three fences from the finish. The chestnut gelding will have to be flawless to beat out his rivals at Cheltenham.
Samcro


 
Source: Racing Post via Twitter
The six-year-old has won all six of his races to date and will challenge his stable-mate Cracking Smart along with Next Destination for the crown. He began his career at the start of the 2016-17 National Hunt season in the GAA Flat Race. Samcro was considered the favourite for the meet at Punchestown and rose to the occasion after a steady start, producing a strong finish to secure his first win by nine-and-a-half lengths.
Elliott’s charge impressed once again at the Future Champions Flat Race at Navan before Christmas 2016. Jason Codd was in the saddle and led the chestnut gelding through the field. Good Thyne Tara provided a challenge down the stretch, but he fended off the push – winning the contest by half-a-length. His next flat race was a formality as he cantered to a dominant victory by 17 lengths at Fairyhouse, ending the campaign on the highest of notes.
Samcro returned for the current campaign at the peak of his powers at the Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown. Jack Kennedy took the reins and was able to guide the Irish horse to a compounding victory as he remained in contention in the early stages of the race before moving into the lead in the closing stages, cantering down the stretch to a 15-length triumph. Elliott’s charge was the overwhelming favourite for the Monksfield Novice Hurdle and once again he was on top form, taking the lead three fences from the end of the meet.
Samcro turned on the power towards the final furlong and pulled away from his nearest rival Jetz to win by 12 lengths. The chestnut gelding had to rise to the occasion against a talented field at Leopardstown in the Novice Hurdle. Kennedy was once again in the saddle and he again kept the Irish horse steady out of the traps in the early stages of the meet. Samcro found his rhythm and was able to pull away from the rest of the field to win by five-and-a-half lengths. He has the quality to challenge Cracking Smart and will be looking to make an impact in his first opportunity at Cheltenham.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2010: Cue Card Doesn’t Fluff His Lines


Wins on defending champions Quevega, in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, and Big Buck’s, in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, plus Sanctuaire in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, were sufficient for Ruby Walsh to edge out fellow Irishman Barry Geraghty, who also rode three winners, and retain his title as leading jockey.

However, two of Geraghty’s winners, Spirit River in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle and Soldatino in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, were saddled by Nicky Henderson, who also won his fifth Smurfit Champion Hurdle with Binocular and became leading trainer at the Festival for the first time in a decade.


Binocular and Big Buck’s aside, the other ‘championship’ races of the week, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and the Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup went to Big Zeb, Cue Card and Imperial Commander. Hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing, but the once-raced Cue Card romped clear in the closing stages to win by 8 lengths and the same under Joe Tizzard at odds of 40/1!


Thursday, 1 February 2018

Friday, 26 January 2018

Cheltenham Betting Tips 2018

Select Runner-Up Odds

 

Tipsters have won big money in past Cheltenham events with 33/1, 20/1 and 10/1 odds. Never be put off by bookie odds as horses might reserve the best of their performance for Cheltenham.
 

Follow Expert Handicapper Advice

 

This very complete section on the Cheltenham Racecourse includes some top handicapper picks for each of the major races. 
 

The Willie Mullins Picks

 

Will Mullins is by far one of the very best trainers there are in the present, thus he gets to train the very best horses and he has an eye for it. During Cheltenham in nearly always lands a winner on one of the big races, but instead of looking into the short price favorites focus on his runners. Rule Supreme (25/1), Ebaziyan (40/1), Thousand Stars (20/1), Champagne Fever (16/1), Briar Hill (25/1), Wicklow Brave (25/1). 

Great Bookie Offers

 

The most horserace focused bookies like William Hill offer great promotions during the event. Take advantage of the free bets. 
 

Cheltenham Favorite Horses

 

It is still too early to pick top favorites, but these candidates have a nice chance of being champions in their respective races. 
 

Charli Parcs

 

A progressive young hurdler that is still getting to his finest point but should perform highly during the Cheltenham as the field favors his style of a strong pace.

Yanworth

 

Yanworth was kind of a disappointment at the Kinwell Hurdle at Wincanton one year ago, but this is the type of horse that wins by the bare minimum and remains unbeaten at the two miles. 
 

Douvan

 

This horse has a better record with a clean round of jumping, be sure to have in as one of the final contenders in the stretch. 
 

Ballyoptic

 

Ballyoptic has underperformed during the winter season, but should not be regarded far behind one of the top favorites like Unowhatimeanharry. 
 

Gold Cup Contenders

 

The Gold Cup will be the jewel of the Crown of the Cheltenham Festival, some of the very best contenders will make their show here. 
 

Might Bite

 

Might Bite is the people’s favorite that leads early odds after winning the King George VI, a race long time considered key to identify the winner of the Gold Cup. Trained by Nicky Henderson, Might Bite stands unbeaten in 5 starts throughout the 2017 season.

Bristol Mai

 

Bristol du Mai will be a top contender for the Gold Cup. A progressive stayer that won the Peter Marsh at Haydock with an impressive run. His odds have dropped a bit after coming in second at Newbury behind Native River, but that was a tactical from his rider. 
 

Native River

 

Native River could be Might Bite’s nightmare with its strong stamina and preference for wet grounds. Winner of The Hennessy and Welsh National, Native River stands with 8/1 odds. Handicapper circles keep bringing River’s name to the equation considering the horse might just be at the top of his career: 8 years old, past Gold Cup experience (finished third in 2017) and enhanced stamina.

Sizing John

 

Sizing John is the present Gold Cup winner, very few horses accomplish a double win in a row. Considering the poor performance during the King George in December, Sizing John stands as a contender mostly for his past achievements.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2009: Magnificent Seven for Walsh


Paul Nicholls became leading trainer at the Festival for the fourth year running, and the sixth time in all, in 2009. In fact, the former jump jockey surpassed his previous efforts by saddling a total of five winners, namely Master Minded in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, Chapoturgeon in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase, Big Buck’s in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, American Trilogy in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle and Kauto Star in the Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. All bar Chapoturgeon were ridden by stable jockey Ruby Walsh, who upstaged his boss by riding a treble, on Quevaga, Mikael D’Haguenet and Cooldine, for Irish champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins, for a record-breaking seven winners over the four days. 

Other notable winners during a memorable week were Punjabi, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle and the much-touted Dunguib, trained by Philip Fenton in Co. Tipperary and ridden by amateur Brian O’Connell, who quickened clear to win the Weatherbys Champion Bumpre by 10 lengths.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2008: Business as Usual for Nicholls and Walsh


The Cheltenham Festival in 2008 was unusual insofar as the second day was cancelled due to high winds, forcing the Queen Mother Champion Chase to be run on the Thursday, along with the World Hurdle and eight other races. Friday, too, featured a nine-race card but, results-wise, the Festival wasn’t entirely unpredictable.


Paul Nicholls, leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival for the previous two seasons, was once again in the box seat in 2008. The Ditcheat handler saddled three winners, Master Minded in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, Celestial Halo in the JCB Triumph Hurdle and Denman in the Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, to become leading trainer at the Festival for the third year running. Ruby Walsh rode the first-named pair and was also victorious on Fiveforthree, trained by Willie Mullins, in the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle to retain his title as leading jockey.

Master Minded was particularly impressive, readily drawing clear to beat the winner of the race the previous year, and favourite, Voy Pour Ustedes, by 19 lengths with Fair Along a further 16 lengths back in third.


Other notable winners included Katchit in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, Inglis Drever in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Cousin Vinny in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.