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The Road To Cheltenham

Jezki Shaping Up Into A Champion

We'll bring the curtain down on the Road for 2013 with a glance to the rainbows of 2014. Hurricane Fly proved beyond a doubt this season he's the best since Istabraq, but is getting on and the pretenders are queing up.

Willie Mullins has a couple in his locker, while My Tent Or Yours, The New One, Our Conor and Jezki all look top notchers, with the last-named fancied at 12/1.

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The Joy of Boldness

Punchestown 2013 was billed as being the best ever, and it didn't disappoint as Sprinter Sacre continued his reign of terror and gave Irish National Hunt fans a glimpse of the kingpin.

With Gold Cup principles Sir Des Champs and Long Run slugging it out again, and supermare Quevega racking up a fourth World Series Hurdle it was much more than just a teaser for next season.

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Enjoy the End of Season Craic

The Punchestown Festival has grown in importance and the quality on show this year will probably be the best ever – its likely 3 of the 4 championship race winners at Cheltenham will run.

It's often a minefield for punters as runners are over the top after a long season, so fresh horses like Quevega are the ones to focus on.

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Working Out What We’ve Saved

The 2013 Grand National was a pivotal one in the race's history, and Auroras Encore's victory combined with the safe return of all 80 horses and jockeys was a triumph.

The 'success' of the tinkering may well shape the direction in future years, as it becomes less of a jumping challenge.

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The Most Talented Of Modern Times

Cue Card and Flemenstar were supposed to test Sprinter Sacre in the Melling Chase, but the world's best chaser dismissed them with ease for another dominant Grade 1 win.

Stablemate My Tent Or Yours went one better than in the Supreme Novices' and looks another top prospect for Nicky Henderson.

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Zarkandar Benefits From Walsh Masterclass

It was a good innovation to switch the Aintree Hurdle to the opening day and it was rewarded with a cracking race as Zarkandar fought off The New One close home.

The winner will step up to three miles and the World Hurdle next season, while the novice runner-up is heading down the Champion Hurdle route.

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Always Possible To Achieve National Dream

The Grand National is racing's shop window so hopefully today's contest will promote the race in the best possible light to the 600 million viewers who presumably do think it’s a great event.

There’s no horse in the field more likely to negotiate the 30 obstacles safely than Always Waining, who in winning three Topham's seems to have convinced a lot of people that he won’t get the extended trip.

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Sacre May Be A Sprinter

We get treated to possibly the race of the season today as champion chaser Sprinter Sacre steps up to two and a half miles and has to take on two seriously good rivals in Cue Card and Flemenstar.

The champ brings about memories of Master Minded, who lined up here after a dominant Cheltenham display in 2008 but got beaten at 2/5, and we'd speculate on a similar result.

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Star to Provide Ray Of Light

The opening day of Aintree's showpiece festival features four Grade 1 races, including Silviniaco Conti's bid to get over a fall three out in the Gold Cup when going for the Betfred Bowl.

Impressive Neptune winner The New One is favourite stepping out of novice company in the Aintree Hurdle, but there are doubts about the market principals so we'll side with a horse who skipped Cheltenham at 33/1.

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Potts Luck Needed In Irish National

Easter weekend at Fairyhouse means the Irish Grand National meeting, but it's only two weeks removed from Cheltenham this year and the climate is still very much in winter's grip.

Those horses who ran at the Festival must be worth taking on, and we've found a pair in the Powers Gold Cup and Irish National, both owned by Sizing Europe's connections.

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5 Lessons From This Festival

The Road to Cheltenham 2013 comes to an end and as always there are lessons to be learned. Ante-post punting is certainly more treacherous than in years past, and there are serious warning signs with the dilution of quality in the main races. Hopefully the organisers can move with the times.

Thanks for following; we hope you enjoyed and see you soon on the long road back to the Festival.

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When I Thought Our Chance Had Passed

Cheltenham 2013 had looked like being a losing one for the portfolio, but wins for Ted Veale (25/1) and Salsify (10/1) saved the day and we finished with an 8pt (24%) profit.

The Gold Cup went to Bobs Worth, as he emulated Flyingbolt in winning three different Festival races by powering past Sir Des Champs and Long Run up the hill.

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Farewell To The Fragile Warrior

Day 3 of Cheltenham 2013 was a rough ride for punters, as all seven favourites were beaten. Cue Card's impressive all-the-way Ryanair win was the standout performance.

On evidence, a fifth World Hurdle would have been a breeze for Big Buck's as stablemate and regular victim Celestial Halo got the better of all bar Solwhit in the feature.

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A Privilege To Watch

Day 2 saw Irish banker Pont Alexandre downed by The New One in the Neptune, then Lord Windermere took the RSA Chase as Best Mate's jockey Jim Culloty trained a first Festival winner.

Sprinter Sacre was the undoubted star, however, and he added the Champion Chase to his collection with an effortless 19L beating of Sizing Europe.

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Jumping Is The Name Of The Game

Cheltenham 2013 kicked off with another Ruby Walsh masterclass as Champagne Fever saw off My Tent Or Yours in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Simonsig won the Arkle although didn't thrill as expected, then Hurricane Fly became the first horse since Comedy Of Errors to regain the Champion Hurdle.

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It's been a rough Festival for the portfolio, but the injuries to JT McNamara and Davy Russell highlight what's really important in this great week.

We still have Salsify and Ted Veale as live contenders today, so it can all be turned around and there's a few more betting opportunities, including Silviniaco Conti in the Gold Cup.

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Day Three Preview

There is often a bit of a sense of anti-climax on the Thursday of the 4 day Festival. We’ve had the best two days racing and have the Gold Cup to come on Friday. With no Big Buck’s this year’s Thursday card doesn’t have the class of the rest of the week.

Nevertheless, there's plenty to be getting involved with. Click through for a run through of the card including three double figured tips.

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Day Two Preview and Tips

Whilst there’s nothing like the anticipation on the opening day of the Festival, Wednesday usually has the best racing and any day you get to see Sprinter Sacre run is a good one.

Read a full preview of the day's card.

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Uncertainty As The Curtain Goes Up

The day before the Cheltenham Festival and the frost covers are down with snow coating the Cotswolds. Lord knows what kind of ground we are going to start with so the Supreme becomes a race to watch.

Stopwatches at the ready for the opener as the time will indicate ground conditions. If it's really soft this will incovenience Overturn and possibly Simonsig in the Arkle; but not Arvika.

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Grounds For Concern

Scandanavian cold fronts and antediluvian rain ensure that the 2013 Festival will be run on soft ground - and with frost covers down we won't know just how soft until after the Supreme.

With the assumpton the Festival is always run on decent ground this is concerning for several of the portfolio, but it also brings opportunity and we've found a bet that should profit on unpredictability.

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Hoping For Legendary Timing

According to the markets the Pipe camp have made their choice as where to run Dynaste, with the half-mile shorter Jewson looking the likely option. He should be much shorter than a current 5/2 non-runner no bet.

The now-probable switch is slicing the price of every RSA entry, so we have to step in now on an Irish raider who possesses the necessary experience and toughness.

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Lays Of The Festival

We're almost at the next Cheltenham declaration stage, so before the mad rush once they are released, we take a look at a few horses we definitely want to take on next week.

The weather forecast is taking on an increasingly unsettled look, and several of those highlighted have alternate targets, so an ante-post lay would land the money in such an instance.

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Value In Backing Doubtful Runners

Owners, trainers and jockeys are keeping their cards close to their chests as to where several big Festival hotpots will run, and with the weather forecast mixed the impasse will continue until at least the weekend.

We highlight several non-runner no bet prices that will become outstanding value should these horses switch targets.

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Prepare For The Trampoline Effect

Just a week to go but Festival clues are still out there. Leopardstown's post-racing gallops featured several interesting contenders, and Master of Ballydoyle Aidan O'Brien has committed Shield to run in the Bumper.

Now is the time when the weather forecast takes on added importance, and with the temperature rising but rain forecast there's a few theories as to how the ground could ride.

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Whisper To Play To The Gallery

The Neptune is invariably won by a really fast horse on the prevailing good ground and the embryonic stayers at the front of the market look worth taking on.

A decade ago the classy flat recruits purchased by the Wylies and trained by Howard Johnson were underestimated at the Festival, and the same looks to be happening with John Ferguson's charges that were formerly owned by Godolphin.

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Martin Still The Man For Handicap Coups

With the Festival handicap weights released yesterday, it's a good idea to get cracking with the research, as the trail of cash on the handicap hotpots are a tip in itself.

One man who has torched the Cheltenham layers over the past decade or so is Tony Martin; the likes of Xenophon and Dun Doire carving out his reputation as a plot master. He has one at 25/1 in the County Hurdle with the right kind of profile.

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No Stopping Fresh For Non

Our 66/1 poke on Lambro for the Ryanair Chase didn't come off, but with several at the top of the market potentially running elsewhere now is the time to step in before the price crash.

Casting our minds back to October, one horse put up a piece of form that compares favourably with any other contenders, and coming into this race fresh looks overpriced at 20/1.

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Bank On Brilliant O'Connor

The 4-mile National Hunt Chase is not the golden goose it once was since the race terms changed. These days the things to focus on are clearly stamina, experience and class, however a top amateur jockey is an underrated commodity.

Irish point-to-point king Derek O'Connor rode a Festival double in 2011 but missed last year with a broken leg. His early booking for one contender looks significant.

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Batsman Drives Home Ground Warning

Opening Batsman won a competitive Racing Plus Chase, and by turning round form with Rolling Aces on better ground it served a warning to be suspicious of winter form should we get good ground at the Festival.

Yesterday's Naas card attracted several Cheltenham hopefuls and Annie Power's sixth straight win in the two-mile Grade 2 underlined the strength in depth of Willie Mullins's novice hurdlers.

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Non Runner No Bet Prices Defy Logic

Bet Victor and Bet 365 have gone NRNB for the festival and we are reacting quickly to the moves.

Logic dictates that a Paul Nolan horse, running at Naas today, is the one to back in the Neptune Novices Hurdle.

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Silver At The End Of The Rainbow

Sprinter Sacre dominates the Champion Chase market and we don't feel it's worth bothering to get the 2/7 favourite beaten. An each-way bet has half your stake down the pan immediately.

Bookies are now offering odds without the black aeroplane, and with the front two in the betting possibles for the Ryanair, it's time to pounce on the defending champion.

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Half Term Report

Three weeks until the Festival so let's take a step back and review the position. We have great value on Jezki and Salsify, and we're happy that Ballycasey and Unaccompanied are on side.

Bookies will be introducing non-runner no bet shortly, and we're ready to pounce at this instance, but one more investment stands out right now at 33/1 in the Jewson.

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Hoping Cue Card Goes The Bold Route

Cue Card and Captain Chris dominated the finish of the Ascot Chase, showing that both had recovered from a gruelling King George. The winner is in the Champion Chase and Ryanair at the Festival and we hope he takes on Sprinter Sacre in the former.

Our RSA tip Rocky Creek won again but frustratingly still may not be Festival-bound, while Jewson tip Tap Night put a poor last start behind him for a second win over fences.

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Sometimes The Best Don’t Win

The Ascot Chase presents an unusual puzzle with the horses with the best form looking unlikely to produce their best here, so it makes sense to side with a course specialist that's likely to be primed for the race. There are no such concerns with the favourite for the big novice chase and the suggestion is to get stuck into him.

At Wincanton, the favourite for the Kingwell looks too short and so a sporting alternative is suggested.

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Ballycasey Looks Albert Bartlett Standout

The Albert Bartlett has been a very good race for those at the front of the market, with 3 favourites obliging in the 8 renewals so far and only 1 winner going off at double figure odds.

The vibes around joint favourite Ballycasey are really strong and Willie Mullins has a good line on At Fisher's Cross through Inish Island, who Mullins isn't sure is even good enough to go to the Festival. Ballycasey could go off a short price on the day so the 6/1 is worth taking now.

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Perplexing Festival Targets

A bumper week's racing left more questions about Festival prospects unanswered than resolved, with Boston Bob, Champagne Fever and Unioniste amongst those whose targets are hard to fathom.

With so many of the top horses concentrated in so few hands now, working out how the top owners and trainers will shuffle their pack is an integral part of ante-post betting.

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The Mills Grind Slowly

With arguably Ireland's best days racing of the year at Leopardstown switched to Saturday to avoid a clash with the rugby, a top card at Newbury and the Kingmaker at Warwick, tomorrow is a real feast for jump racing fans.

It also looks to have several great betting opportunites, and we've found four horses worthy of investment.

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Putting It In Perspective

Darlan's fatal fall at Doncaster today provided only despair for racing fans, but it showed there are more important issues than the success and failure of betting.

Poor performances from Tap Night and Lambro don't give much hope for their Cheltenham chances but it's only a game and we're going back in with Quevega's main rival in the mares' race.

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Back Sprinter Not To Shorten

Sprinter Sacre looks peerless in the two-mile chasing division, and the bookmakers think his coronation in the Queen Mother Champion Chase is a formality, with the best price available 2/5.

Master Minded looked similarly dominant in 2009 and was sent off at 4/11 for his second Champion Chase win, and we think the bookies are likely to try and take on Nicky Henderson's star.

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Brilliant Sprinter Sacre A Class Apart

Racing fans got a treat from Cheltenham on Saturday, as the weather was beaten and the 8-race card had a mixture of stunning performances and epic finishes.

Sprinter Sacre has the two-mile chasing division at his mercy, while 2010 Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander showed at age 12 he still has something to offer when getting mugged by Cape Tribulation close home in the Argento.

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Walkon Value for Cleeve Glory

Cheltenham looks likely to beat the weather for their Festival trials day, which includes the bonus Victor Chandler Chase, switched from Ascot, yet hardly a betting heat with Sprinter Sacre at 1/5.

Elsewhere Tidal Bay is 50-50 for the Argento Chase, so for betting opportunities we look at the staying hurdles, with Oscar Whisky and The New One hot favourites but worth opposing.

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Lambro Can Progress Into Ryanair Contender

The head of the Ryanair betting is distinctly muddy, with all the market leaders possessing alternative Festival targets.

One horse who has yet to be seen this year, but has no alternate entries, is Willie Mullins's Lambro, who got closest to Flemenstar last season over an inadequate two miles. Entered at Leopardstown this weekend, 66/1 looks far too big a price.

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The Merits of Very Limited Handicaps

Snow is causing havoc with the January racing, with the Victor Chandler Chase's rerouting to Cheltenham on Saturday unlikely to beat Mother Nature.

In any case, the restructuring of the race to a level weights contest has removed much of the competitiveness. Azertyuiop and Well Chief enhanced their reputation by giving lumps away, and nobody doubts Sprinter Sacre could do likewise.

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Exploiting Non Runner No Bet

Non-runner no bet is a recent phenomenon in ante-post betting, but it deserves to be taken seriously as the bookmakers have yet to get to grips with the conditions of the market.

We take a detailed look at the factors at play, and highlight a 66/1 shot for the Gold Cup who exemplifies the benefits this method of betting provides.

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Another Grand Day For Henderson

The Champion Hurdle betting has been affected by races run at a slow pace on bad ground; conditions that are most unlikely to occur at Cheltenham in March.

As in the other championship races, Nicky Henderson holds a very strong hand with Darlan, Oscar Whisky and Grandouet all towards the head of the market. The last-named appeals most at 7/1, plus a 50/1 outsider not seen this season.

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Rocky Lands Early Punches

Our 25/1 RSA tip Rocky Creek won well at Warwick, and cut to 14/1 he looks a good addition to the portfolio.

Elsewhere two horses stamped themselves as the leading British-trained novice hurdlers. My Tent Or Yours is another two miler of much promise for Nicky Henderson, while Nigel Twiston-Davies may have found the next Imperial Commander with The New One.

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Hoping It’ll Be Up The Creek

David Pipe's Dynaste is the best staying novice chaser seen this season, but 5/2 for the RSA doesn't appeal when taking into account the usual race conditions. The stable has also had Our Vic and Grands Crus beaten as hot favourites in recent years.

We're looking for an experienced, battle-hardened novice, and Dynaste's market monopoly has inflated the prices on a few likely candidates.

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Tap Night To Find Rhythm In Jewson

The head of the Jewson market is filled with horses who have alternate targets in the Arkle or RSA, so although it's hard to weigh up it creates bigger prices on more likely runners.

Nicky Henderson's Captain Conan is the 5/1 favourite, and we're siding with a JP McManus-owned horse who beat him in a Grade 2 hurdle at Kelso in March, at five times the price.

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Warrior Fit For Battle

Six-time Grade 1 winner Solwhit made a good comeback ater two years off injured at Punchestown on Monday, but was unable to get a blow in on Bog Warrior, who is back over hurdles in a bid to restore his confidence.

Both horses are now nine so it's now or never to be pitched in at the top. Bog Warrior is 14/1 for the World Hurdle, but maybe connections will be braver and aim for the Gold Cup (66/1).

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Irish Eyes Not Smiling

The Lexus Chase lived up to the hype as far as the race itself, but with their great white hopes Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs defeated by the veteran Tidal Bay it's understandable the Irish were left feeling deflated.

Hurricane Fly showed his class once more to keep him at the head of the Champion Hurdle picture, but the Irish Grade 1 Cheltenham hand looks short on strength.

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Wary of Heavy Ground Form

Racing in the UK over the Christmas period took place exclusively on heavy ground, so it's probably wise to treat the form with suspicion regading true Cheltenham contenders.

Long Run outstayed Captain Chris to win a gruelling King George VI Chase, in which the majority of the field failed to get home. Long Run is 7/1 to regain the Gold Cup, but he's all stamina these days so will need rain to slow the others down.

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Monk to Regain Winning Habit

Two Grade 1s and a Grade 2 at Leopardstown tomorrow, with the Lexus Chase looking likely to be the key trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Topaz Novice Chase will look to throw up a threat to Dynaste at the head of the RSA market, and the 3m Christmas Hurdle is a jostling for position in a division left wide open by Big Buck's injury. We have tips for all three races.

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River To Bust The Bank

The King George picture looked very different a week ago, as Sizing Europe, Al Ferof, Sir Des Champs and Finian's Rainbow were all possibles for the race, yet injury and the weather has ruled the quartet out.

2010 winner Long Run is now a solid 2/1 market leader, but he's been a beaten favourite in four of his last five races and is opposable. Where does the value lie?

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Champion Casts A Long Shadow

If we needed any more proof as to Big Buck's domination of the staying hurdle division, his most recent Newbury victim Reve De Sivola battered his rivals in the Long Walk Hurdle and is now 12/1 for Cheltenham.

Elsewhere Cause Of Causes won the Ladbroke to put himself in the novice hurdle picture, which is beginning to get clearer as Puffin Billy was another to lay down a Supreme marker.

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Trusting Time For A New Order

Big Buck's' injury has thrown a meteor into the World Hurdle picture, and with the four-time champ out for the season we'll have a new name on the roll of honour in March.

The current market hasn't had time to mature, and the names at the top are largely horses with alternative targets. We want to side with an unexposed horse who won the Fixed Brush Hurdle off top weight.

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Rare Glimpse of Champion Hurdle Prospects

The market got it right as Zarkandar grinded out the International Hurdle, though the big one back in March will be a very different test.

Grandouet and Rock On Ruby's Champion Hurdle aspirations are still very much alive, but with connections of all three pointing a gentle course to the Festival there may be not much more opportunity to weigh up their credentials.

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A Cristal Clear December Day

If there is a grade one horse in the December Gold Cup it looks to be Cristal Bonus, who will give weight to all bar one of the field. However, Al Ferof defied a similar burden a month ago.

The International Hurdle is a key Champion Hurdle trial, and it will bring together defending champ Rock On Ruby, Zarkandar and Grandouet. The last named has been off for a year but is the one with speed.

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Two New Superstars Emerge

The old guard has gone but this weekend saw two of the pretenders lay down a serious grade one marker and consolidate their places at the top of the Cheltenham ante-post lists.

Flemenstar ended Sir Des Champs's unbeaten record in the John Durkan Chase, and Sprinter Sacre laughed at the threat of Sanctuaire in a Tingle Creek demolition job.

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Stars May Get Stuck In The Bog

Sprinter Sacre and Sanctuaire's duel at Sandown will take all the attention on Saturday, but the day after all eyes switch to Punchestown for the John Durkan Memorial Chase.

Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs have taken most of the attention but the other two runners are no lost causes, with last year's winner Rubi Light and Bog Warrior making up a quality quartet. The last-named looks big at 12/1 for one so talented.

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Wishing Oscar Well

As our Arkle betting guide shows, the championship two-mile novice chase is the most predictable race of the festival, with none of the last 22 winners priced bigger than 11/1!

Speed is the key, as few horses are able to combine speed and jumping to a necessary degree, so the range of likely candidates is lesser than other Cheltenham races. One such Irish hope catches the eye at 16/1.

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Thanks Magnificent One

Kauto Star retired this year as winner of 16 grade one races, having been at the top of the tree for seven seasons.

His durability is as noteworthy as his talent when discussing his place in the National Hunt pantheon, and under expert handling from Paul Nicholls he completely dubunked the theory that French-breds burn out early. We take a look as to where he stands amongst the greats of the sport.

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A Worthy Gold Cup Favourite

The RSA form stood up in fine style in the Hennessy as Bobs Worth and First Lieutenant were first and third. Already a two-time Festival winner, Bobs Worth is now a worthy favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Over at Fairyhouse Champagne Fever lost his unbeaten hurdling record, but conqueror Jezki looks an ace and is worthy of interest for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at double figure prices.

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Focus On Fantastic Fairyhouse

Fairyhouse hosts a trio of grade one races on Sunday. Last year's winner Voler La Vedette is favourite for the Hatton's Grace Hurdle, but has to bounce back from a 1/7 defeat.

The other two grade ones should be very informative novice heats. Champion Bumper winner Champagne Fever goes in the Royal Bond Hurdle, won in the past by Istabraq, Moscow Flyer, Hardy Eustace and Hurricane Fly.

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Duke To Get Lucky With The Ground

The 48-hour declarations for Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup will be revealed tomorrow, but the weather forecast doesn't look that bad, so it should be ok to side with those who don't like very heavy ground.

Philip Hobbs won the race with What's Up Boys in 2001, and landed a big pot last weekend with Captain Chris. At 20/1, his Duke Of Lucca looks to have the right profile for the big autumn handicap.

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Spotting Class Through The Mud

Long Run was downed by Silvinaco Conti in the Betfair Chase, and our tip Captain Chris was a 7/2 winner of the Amlin Chase, but the very soft ground around the country has to throw a cloak of doubt over the form.

Silviniaco may head straight for the Gold Cup, and he's now a general 7/1 second favourite for the chasing blue riband, with Long Run out to 10/1.

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Captain To Strike Back For Older Brigade

Heavy ground at Haydock has thrown a question over the Betfair Chase six, many of whom are unproven on the surface. If he handles it, Long Run is well clear on form.

Champion chaser Finian's Rainbow returns at Ascot, but has to give weight to several classy rivals, We like the look of Captain Chris to pose him problems in receipt of 10lbs.

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Nicholls Horses All Right Now

The Paddy Power Gold Cup has not been a lucky race for Paul Nicholls, but Al Ferof broke the jinx in fine style on Saturday and is right in the mix for the top races this season.

Nicholls has made a flying start to the season, which has seem him cut from 5/2 to 7/4 to win an eighth straight trainers title.

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Time To Cash In

All eyes are at HQ today for the first day of Cheltenham's Open Meeting, which has increased in popularity enough to become an Autumn mini-Festival.

Plenty of horses running have March dreams, and that's also the case for Punchestown on Sunday. We've taken a look around and found a couple of stand-out weekend bets to go with Walkon in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

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Ten To Follow Selections

Having talked strategy for this season's Ten to Follow, we take a look at the key bonus races and analyse which horses are worth focusing on.

Big Buck's and Sprinter Sacre are the bankers, but should one flop and you've left them out this will give you a significant edge on the field. Perm away.

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Exploiting Ten To Follow Changes

The popular Ten to Follow competition has had a rebrand for the 2012/3 jumps season, so lets look at where to concentrate your £250,000 dream team.

It's important not to get suckered in trying to find the big handicap winners, such as the Grand National, when the Irish graded races are far easier to solve.

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Fathoming Cue Card’s Ideal Trip

Cue Card got closest to Sprinter Sacre last season and the former Cheltenham bumper winner looks set for a great year after an impressive reappearance in the Haldon Gold Cup.

The King George is the plan and if he handles three miles at Kempton the temptation will be to go for the Gold Cup. On breeding, three and a quarter miles should be within his range.

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Hope In My Heart

The Paddy Power Gold Cup has developed from a season opener to one of the most anticipated races of the year.

The raise in profile is such that of those higher up in the weights, it often requires a better performance to land this prize than the Ryanair Chase at the Festival in March.

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Watch The Early Season Novices

The majority of the horses placed in the Festival novice events run before the end of October, so it's important to keep up with the early season form.

While champion novice hurdler Simonsig dominates the Arkle betting, the RSA is much more open and several interesting contenders have opened their fencing account.

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On The Road Again

Welcome to The Road To Cheltenham 2013, as our pro blogger Matt Tombs is back to shoot for the riches on the National Hunt season and the Cheltenham Festival in particular.

Kauto Star is retired, but there's lots of talent looking to fill his shoes and we'll be trying to hone out the ones to write their name into jumping folklore.

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The Road To Cheltenham

Welcome to our exclusive betting blog focusing on the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.

For the second year running, we recruited National Hunt expert Matt Tombs to cast his eye over the jumps season, analysing races and form all with the intention of hitting the jackpot at the Cheltenham Festival. As with his 2012 Cheltenham Tips, he came out with a 6 point (24%) profit after a big 25/1 winner on Friday.

You can view the complete list of articles and recommended bets below, or go to 2014 Cheltenham Festival Tips.


Cheltenham Portfolio:

Jezki - Supreme Novices - 1pt 12/1 - 3rd

Arvika Ligeonniere - Arkle - 1pt 8/1 NRNB - U/P

Oscars Well - Arkle - 1pt 16/1 - N/R

Hey Big Spender - JLT Chase - 0.5pts E/W 33/1 - U/P

Grandouet - Champion Hurdle - 1pt 7/1 - U/P

Cotton Mill - Champion Hurdle - 1pt 50/1 - N/R

Unaccompanied - Mares' Hurdle - 1pt 7/1 - N/R


Rival D'Estruval - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 8/1 NRNB - U/P

Defy Logic - Neptune Novices Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 NRNB N/R

Whispering Gallery - Neptune Novices Hurdle - 1pt 33/1 NRNB - N/R

Taquin Du Seuil - Neptune Novices Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Rocky Creek - RSA Chase - 1pt 25/1 - N/R

Lyreen Legend - RSA Chase - 1pt 16/1 NRNB - 2nd

Sprinter Sacre 4/11 or longer - Champion Chase SP - 2pts 3/1 NRNB - L

Finian's Rainbow - Champion Chase w/o Sprinter Sacre - 1pt 11/2 - N/R


Tap Night - Jewson Novices Chase - 1pt 25/1 - N/R

Molotof - Jewson Novices Chase - 0.5pts E/W 33/1 - U/P

Dynaste - Jewson Novices Chase - 2pts 5/2 NRNB - 2nd

Top Of The Range - Pertemps Final - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Lambro - Ryanair Chase - 1pt 66/1 - N/R

For Non Stop - Ryanair Chase - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - 3rd

Trustan Times - World Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 N/R

Bog Warrior - World Hurdle - 1pt 10/1 U/P

Sweet My Lord - Byrne Group Plate - 1pt 14/1 U/P


Ted Veale - County Hurdle - 1pt 25/1 NRNB - WON

Ballycasey - Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - N/R

Flemenstar - Gold Cup - 1pt 25/1 - N/R

Bog Warrior - Gold Cup - 1pt 66/1 NRNB - N/R

Silviniaco Conti - Gold Cup - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

Salsify - Foxhunters - 1pt 10/1 - WON

Kid Cassidy - Grand Annual - 1pt 10/1 - 2nd

Drumshambo - Grand Annual - 1pt 25/1 - 4th


Under 10 - Total Winning Favourites - 2pt evens - WON


Advised Bets:

Buckers Bridge - Powers Gold Cup - 1pt 11/1 - U/P

Goonyella - Irish Grand National - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Rocky Creek - Reynoldstown Chase - 1pt 6/5 - WON

Somersby - Ascot Chase - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

Raya Star - Kingwell Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - U/P

Cotton Mill - Betfair Hurdle - 1pt 8/1 - 2nd

Menorah - Denman Chase - 1pt 8/1 - 3rd

Bog Warrior - Irish Hennessy - 1pt 12/1 - NR

Bright New Dawn - Deloitte Hurdle - 1pt 6/1 - 2nd

Walkon - Cleeve Hurdle - 1pt 11/1 - U/P

Coneygree - Neptune Novices' Hurdle - 1pt 11/4 - U/P

Flemenstar - Lexus Chase - 1pt 6/4 - U/P

Jenari - Topaz Novice Chase - 1pt 25/1 - U/R

Monksland - Christmas Hurdle - 1pt 5/1 - WON

Riverside Theatre - King George - 1pt 11/2 - U/P

Oscars Well - RP Novice Chase - 1pt 7/4 - 2nd

Trustan Times - Long Walk Hurdle - 1pt 3/1 - U/P

Cristal Bonus - December Gold Cup - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Grandouet - International Hurdle - 1pt 5/2 - 2nd

Bog Warrior - John Durkan - 1pt 12/1 - N/R

Arvika Ligeonniere - Drinmore Novice Chase - 1pt 10/3 - WON

So Young - Hatton's Grace Hurdle - 1pt 7/1 - U/P

Duke Of Lucca - Hennessy Gold Cup - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Captain Chris - Amlin Chase - 1pt 7/2 - WON

Walkon - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 10/1 - 2nd

Recommended Free Bets | £320
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