Tommos advice for Cheltenham
Some of the biggest bets of the year will be placed at Cheltenham this week-Im talking 5 figure bets-and there is no doubt the market is one of the strongest you will find anywhere in the world!
The hype surrounding the meeting, the heady atmosphere at the track and punters all over the country trying to back winners makes the Cheltenham Festival a very special place.
And that roar when a fancied runner passes the winning line in front and enters the coveted winners enclosure - its a sight and sound that remains with you for ever!
However its also easy to get carried away and remember every race is ultra competitive and some favourites that might look goodthings can prove disappointing.
Indeed on the eve of Cheltenham many people are going for an accumulator on last years 4 Champions doing the business again and although they are all short price favourites an accumulator on the 4 would come into double figures.
There is no doubt Hurricane Fly, Sizing Europe, Big Bucks and Long Run look as if they will all win again- they have the form in the book- and deserve to start favourites but overall at the Festival favourites dont have that great a record!
Take the opening race the William Hill supreme Novices Hurdle. Its always a great battle between the British and the Irish as to who can get off to a winning start and the Irish have won this 11 times in the past 21 years!
However only 3 favourites have come home in front in the last 10 years and all of the last 7 have been beaten!
Sprinter Sacre is going to start a red hot favourite and I like many people think hell win but watch out- only 1 favourite has won the Arkle in the last 10 years!
Move onto the Champion Hurdle and Hurricane Fly is many peoples idea of the banker and the way he won last year and also in Ireland last time out makes him stand out but only 3 favourites have won in the last 10 years!
Im not in any way saying these horses cant win but the statistics do suggest that they can be beaten.
The first race on the Wednesday is the Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle only 1 favourite has won this in the last 10 years-while the RSA Chase fares a little better with 3 favourites winning in the last 10 years.
Sizing Europe is going to start favourite in the Queen Mother Champion chase and this magnificent horse- just have a look at him in the parade ring if you are there- will in my book take all the beating and the stats for him are a little better with 4 favourites winning the Queen Mother in the last 10 years.
And if you think youd go home with a smile on your face and some money in your pocket after backing the favourite in the bumper wellonly 2 favourites have won in the last 10 years.
By the way 4 year olds have a bad record in this indeed only 2 have won and 51 havent!
The Irish however have a fantastic record in this with 7 wins in the past 10 years and 14 wins from the 19 run.
Thanks to Big Bucks and Baracouda 5 favourites have won the World Hurdle in the last 10 years and thats good news for followers of Big Bucks although I personally feel he faces his biggest challenge to date in the shape of Oscar Whiskey!
Dont back the favourite in the Triumph Hurdle- you can almost hear Big Mac shouting that already- as only 1 favourite has won in the last 10 years!
But the race at the meeting where you can get stuck into the favourite is the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
No fewer than 6 favourites have won this race in the last 10 years so you can breathe a sigh of relief if you believe Long Run can win it again.
Indeed Long Run should take the beating but Ive just been a little worried about his jumping this season and there is a little doubt in the back of my mind that he might not be quite as spot on as last year.
I have no worries about his jockey Sam Waley Cohen who knows the horse well and in my book is a big plus rather than a minus.
There is no doubt it would be fantastic to see Kauto Starwin and if he did it would be one of those Red Rum, Desert Orchid, Dawn Run, Best Mate moments that seem to transcend the frontiers of sport.
And after his well publicised problems over the past few weeks he has drifted in the betting to a very big price and if Paul Nichols and his team can get him there on Friday he does look outstanding value!
The best value bet of the week however is the tote Placepotas it will attract massive pools and you can get a massive return for a small outlay!
Just get a horse to be placed in the first 6 races everyday!
Finally from a personal point of view its quite simply one heck of a week.
Ill be in the Betfred Shop in Cheltenham on Monday Lunchtime with the Cheltenham Gold Cup so if you want to come along and have your photo taken with it please come along at lunchtime.
Then on Monday night its a quick dash to Wales to the Ryder Cup course at Celtic Manor where Ill be hosting the big Cheltenham Preview Dinner alongside people like David Pipe and Jason Maguire.
Then its an early start to get to the track for the Morning Line where Ill be reporting live from the track watching all the horses exercise and reporting on the going.
Then the afternoon show on channel 4 gets under way and then the highlights show and thats how it goes on for 4 long but very very enjoyable days.
It is an incredible week and for me it doesnt end on Friday after the Gold Cup because after that I drive up to Uttoxeter for their big race of the year on saturday the Betfred Midlands National.
Enjoy the week but remember watch out for those favourites!
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