The 2019 Cheltenham Festival (12th-15th March) is now just a few weeks away, and we have almost got a final picture for what the betting markets will be like. Sure, there can be plenty of adjustment in the markets, but many trainers will have their charges wrapped in cotton wool and won’t put them in action until race day.
Still, there is a lot of betting happening right now, with some value in the ante-post markets. Conversely, there are some horses whose prices look all wrong. In light of that, we have picked three horses for you to get on now while the going is good and three to avoid as their prices are much, much too short. If you see any you like, match the selection with these latest Cheltenham betting offers for maximum value.
Good Value – Clan Des Obeaux – 5/1 (Coral) Cheltenham Gold Cup
The latest betting for the Gold Cup sees Presenting Percy priced as favourite at 5/2 and last year’s winner, Native River, at 11/2. Fair enough, but why is the King George VI Chase winner, Clan Des Obeaux not the favorite? He trounced Native River in December in that race, and he was well ahead of several others who will be in action on Gold Cup Day. Paul Nicholls’ horse might end up making us all look foolish by completing a Gold Cup/King George double when the writing was on the wall all along.
Bad Value – Presenting Percy – 5/2 (Paddy Power) Cheltenham Gold Cup
You can get 3/1 for Presenting Percy with some bookies, but even that looks like really poor value. Look, he is a good horse and he showed he can handle Cheltenham with a fine win in the RSA Chase last year, but to be so far in front of the field in a Gold Cup market should be something special. Presenting Percy seems to be in there by default, by being the only one of the top contenders not to have a poor season. Puzzling.
Good Value – Altior – 4/7 (Betfair) Queen Mother Champion Chase
When is a horse ever good value at odds of 4/7? When it’s the greatest chaser of his generation. Moreover, there is a general feeling that those who might give him a bit of a challenge – and “a bit” should be stressed here – like Footpad (6/1) and Min (10/1) shy away and be used elsewhere. A 4th successive Festival success and 18th successive race win beckons for king Altior.
Bad Value – Laurina – 3/1 (William Hill) Champion Hurdle
Bookies aren’t stupid, so they know what they are doing when they set a price. However, just why the largely untested Laurina is doing at 3/1 when coming up against the best hurdler we have seen in several years is anyone’s guess. Is there something we don’t know?
Good Value – Sharjah – Verdana Blue – 12/1 (William Hill) Champion Hurdle
If you are going to take a chance on someone stopping Buveur D’Air winning a 3rd successive Champion Hurdle, then why not take a chance on the horse who, you know, actually beat him in his last race. Verdana Blue looked fabulous when taking the Christmas Hurdle by a neck over his illustrious rival – he is definitely worth an each-way punt.
Bad Value – Faugheen – 7/1 (Paddy Power) Stayers’ Hurdle
Faugheen is a bona fide legend, perhaps one of the horses of the decade. However, his time in the sun seems to be firmly behind him now. The problem is that each time he is written off, he bounces back, doing just enough to warrant another shot with punters. 12/1 is offered by William Hill for Faugheen to complete a remarkable end to his career with a Stayers’ Hurdle win. That might tempt some, but the 7/1 from Paddy Power looks really shot. Treble those odds and we might have a shot at the legend who was once known as “The Machine”.