Cheltenham 2018 (13th-16th March) is now less than a month away and there will be few chances between now and then to see runners in action before the Festival. The like of Might Bite, Altior and Buveur D’Air will be wrapped in cotton wool between now and when the big races go off.
It is starting to get to the point where the markets can really start taking shape. There are a few puzzles still left to work out. For example, nobody really knows for sure if Douvan will race at the Festival, or if Yorkhill is indeed a spent force.
However, there is plenty of value to be spotted in the ante-post markets, especially with the majority of bookmakers offering NRNB on the races. In that light, here are five long-shot tips for the Festival. To get even more value, compare UK free bets at Freebets.co.uk to see the latest offers from bookmakers.
Ch’tibello 33/1 Champion Hurdle:
Dan Skelton’s horse represents cracking each way value for the Champion Hurdle. There is a good chance that the race will have less than 10 runners this year, but Ch’tibello looks likely of being one of them. If you can get three places each way at the moment with NRNB, Ch’tibello could get your Festival off to a flyer. While two wins from 11 races does not look great, Ch’tibello is a much, much better horse than that record shows.
Act of Valour: 25/1 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle:
A patchy December was followed by a fine run in the Triumph Hurdle Trial in Musselburgh in early February. Act of Valour finished around four lengths behind short-priced favourite We Have a Dream in that one, but it was a ride that hinted at better things to come. We Have a Dream looks set for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, while Act of Valour could upset the odds in the Fred Winter.
Total Recall 25/1 Cheltenham Gold Cup:
Three wins from three this season, including the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in December. Total Recall looks to be in good shape for the Gold Cup. Might Bite, Native River and Sizing John look like they will dominate the headlines, but Total Recall looks in great shape for the big one. Huge each-way value from Willie Mullins’ operation.
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Agrapart 20/1 Stayers’ Hurdle:
Has traded blows with Wholestone at Cheltenham this January, with Agrapart getting the better of his rival in the Cleeve Hurdle and Wholestone coming out on top in RelKeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day. It is hard to pick between the pair for the Stayers’ Hurdle but Agrapart gets the nod here as he won the last encounter and is available at nearly double the odds of his rival.
Frodon 20/1 Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase:
It is not entirely clear where Paul Nicholl’s could end up at Cheltenham, with the Ryanair Chase a possibility. However, the six-year-old is capable of winning in whichever race he finds himself in. He has performed very well in good company in recent weeks, including a win at Cheltenham at the end of January.