Cheltenham Festival Betting Odds and Latest Races Ante Post Tips

Cheltenham Festival Betting Odds and Latest Races Ante Post Tips

The biggest event in jumps racing, the Cheltenham Festival 2017, is fast approaching. Starting with a bang – and the famous Cheltenham Roar – on Tuesday 14th March, we’re in line for four days of top class National Hunt racing action.

Here we take a look at four of the many Grade 1 races at the Festival as we bring you our predictions and betting tips to help you pick some winning bets. We’ve also got the latest betting odds comparison to help you maximise your value whichever horse you back. So, without further ado, let’s get stuck into the Mares’ Hurdle.

OLBG Mares’ Hurdle

The Mares’ Hurdle is one of the many great races on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. It has been the domain of champion trainer Willie Mullins in all but one of the renewals since it was inaugurated at the Festival in 2008. Much of Mullins’ success has come down to six-time victor Quevega, though he has won it twice since with Glens Melody (in 2015, after the Mullins favourite Annie Power fell at the last!) and Vroum Vroum Mag in 2016.

With Annie Power missing this year’s Festival with a leg injury, Mullins will be hoping that last year’s victor can do it again. Vroum Vroum Mag is currently priced at betting odds of 9/4 with Betfair, but she is not quite the favourite.

That accolade goes to Gordon Elliott’s Apple’s Jade, who was second in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at last year’s Festival and who edged victory over Vroum Vroum Mag at Fairyhouse in December in a Grade 1 hurdle. There is clearly not much between the two favourites, but we have to say that Mullins knows all too well how to set up his mares for this one, so our betting tip is to lump on Vroum Vroum Mag before her odds shorten.

Neptune Novices’ Hurdle

Officially entitled the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle, this Grade 1 race over two miles and five furlongs opens the second day of the Festival. Like so many races at Cheltenham, Mullins is the leading trainer for the Neptune having won it four times, including in 2014 with Faugheen and last year with Yorkhill.

At this stage of proceedings it is a Colin Tizzard-trained gelding, Finian’s Oscar, who is the favourite. He is priced at betting odds of 9/2 with Betfair after winning both his hurdles races to date in fine fashion. He won by five lengths at Sandown in January in the Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle ahead of Paul Nicholls’ Capitaine, and that victory, in which he was in complete control, has got a lot of punters excited about his prospects here.

For us, though, he is under-priced for a horse with so little experience and we much prefer the look of 16/1 shot Death Duty (with Paddy Power). Having had more experience (with six wins, a second and a third from his eight runs to date) he is better placed to handle the Cheltenham atmosphere, and having won all his four hurdles starts so far, including a Grade 1 at Naas in January, we predict he’ll be well in the mix. Backing him each way should pay handsome dividends as he has every chance of winning.

RSA Novices’ Chase

The RSA Chase is traditionally a tough race to call and has seen seven different trainers saddle the winners of the last seven renewals, most recently Nigel Twiston-Davies with Blaklion.

The favourite for the 2017 race hails from the Mullins stable, the seven year old Bellshill, priced at odds of 4/1 with Betfair. He was second in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree last year but managed to finish only 13th of 14 in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last March. While this looks like an anomaly for a horse who has won eight of his 14 starts, it should be noted that in his only other run at Cheltenham he was 10th (in the Champion Bumper in 2015). As such, we’re not loving his chances here.

Instead we are plumping for an each way bet on the overpriced Shantou Village, who is available at 33s with Betway (though is as short at 16/1 elsewhere). He won the Neptune Hurdle at the 2015 Festival and has won and finished second since at this course. At those odds, he’s too good to turn down.

JLT Novices’ Chase

The JLT has only been run at the Festival since 2011, but that man Mullins has already won it three times, including in the last two years. We have little doubt that he’ll win it again if his seven year old Neptune winner Yorkhill stays in the field. Priced at best betting odds of 9/4 with Sky Bet, we think he’s definitely the one to beat here.