The jump racing extravaganza known as the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival will bring the top talent from Ireland and the UK together for four days of elite horse racing. Bettors will be able to choose from 28 races over these four days, providing plenty of opportunity for competitive and advantageous oddsmaking.
Bettors need to know that the feature race of each day will be held at 3:30 on each day of the festival. First is The Champion Hurdle, The Champion Chase the next day, The Stayers’ Hurdle after that and the Gold Cup on the final day.
This year will bring a great deal of variety over each day and over the four days. The most popular racer seems to be Presenting Percy, if early bets and buzz are any indication. However, some experts are predicting Altior as the can’t miss bet of this season. With 17 consecutive professional victories over the past four years, Altior is arguably the most elite chaser of this century.
In the latest Cheltenham odds, Altior has been given best-odds of 4/7 be Betfair to become this year’s Champion Chase winner. The next best competition seems to be the top rated Footpad (7/1), although few experts are predicting that Footpad can bring the upset that would certainly upset more than a few oddsmakers.
What will punters with a slightly less risk averse profile be doing?
There is plenty of excitement to be had at The Stayers’ Hurdle betting on Faugheen, who now has 7/1 odds (Paddy Power). The legendary status of Faugheen cannot be questioned, but the question today is if he still has enough juice to beat the new challengers in the modern field. Faugheen can create magic – this is how he got his name in lights. However, his last victories have been spotty at best.
If you are more of a neutral personality, then you also have some options to watch as well.
The Gold Cup this year looks to be an open field. Arkle Chase may even be a better option, because the competition here will be among the best in the entire event. No less than five top horses will do battle here – Cilaos Emery, Lalor, Kalashnikov, Dynamite Dollars and Le Richebourg – and bookies are having a hard time splitting the odds. The range is between 5/1 and 7/1, and no large group is convincingly picking a winner.
Of course the results at Cheltenham will affect the betting pools in top races after that. Big events in the UK are coming at a relatively fast pace after Cheltenham, and great performances from top horses will add a great deal of buzz to races like the Grand National. If Bellshill or Elegant Escape perform well at Cheltenham, the word will be out on them in a big way. Shakeups are great for the odds, and neither horse necessarily has to win in order to create a brand new set of odds for races in the coming months.