Punchestown Chase Review

Punchestown Chase Review

Don Cossack has been called some names in the past, but a sixth victory of the season in the Punchestown Gold Cup has completed his rehabilitation. Can he step up to the Cheltenham blue riband next season?

Fellow aristocrat Don Poli was ante-post favourite, but now has something to prove after a first career flop.

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Punchestown Hurdles Review

Punchestown Hurdles Review

Ten runs and ten wins over rules for Faugheen, who is king of the castle without ever really having his authority tested. If he stays sound we are likely looking at a potential great.

Firmly in that category already is stablemate Hurricane Fly, who lost nothing in defeat as old rival Jezki got the better of him over three miles.

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Punchestown Friday Preview

Punchestown Friday Preview

Day 4 at Punchestown is highlighted by Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen gunning for a tenth straight win. Stablemate and Cheltenham runner-up Arctic Fire is his only realistic rival.

Elsewhere on the card, another Mullins inmate Nichols Canyon goes for a fourth Grade 1 victory of the season.

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Punchestown Thursday Preview

Punchestown Thursday Preview

Day three at Punchestown sees Hurricane Fly step up to three miles in his quest for a 23rd Grade 1 victory, and old rival Jezki takes him on once more.

Elsewhere, top two-mile novice Un De Sceaux bids to continue his trail of destruction in the Ryanair Novice Chase.

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Punchestown Wednesday Preview

Punchestown Wednesday Preview

The highlight of Punchestown day 2 is the Gold Cup, where Cheltenham 2nd and 3rd Djakadam and Road To Riches take on runaway Aintree winner Don Cossack.

Elsewhere on the card Shaneshill steps up to three miles against Gigginstown's much-vaunted Albert Bartlett third No More Heroes.

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Punchestown Tuesday Preview

Punchestown Tuesday Preview

Punchestown 2015 kicks off with three Grade 1 races, the highlight being the Boylesports Champion Chase to crown the top two-miler in Ireland.

Also in action are two of Willie Mullins's Cheltenham winners, Douvan and Don Poli, who are both long odds-on to follow up their Festival victories.

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Aintree Review

Aintree Review

The Grand National has taken some knocks over recent years, but the changes to the course have had a positive effect and Many Clouds's victory was another shot in the arm for the 'world's greatest steeplechase'.

Elsewhere at Aintree 2015 Silviniaco Conti bounced back from his Gold Cup disappointment and Don Cossack gave McCoy a great send off.

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Aintree Saturday Preview

Aintree Saturday Preview

AP McCoy will look to finish his career in style as he mounts the favourite Shutthefrontdoor in his 20th and final ride in the Grand National.

Also on the card, Cole Harden looks to follow up his Cheltenham win in the Liverpool Hurdle with Zarkander in opposition.

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Aintree Friday Preview

Aintree Friday Preview

Champagne Fever was forced to miss the Champion Chase after being bitten by a stablemate on the trip over. He tries to make amends in today's Melling Chase, but he won't have it easy with several top class horses in opposition.

Also on the card, World Hurdle runner-up Saphir Du Rheu reverts to fences in the Grade 1 Mildmay.

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Aintree Thursday Preview

Aintree Thursday Preview

The first day of Aintree's Grand National meeting features Champion Hurdle runner-up Arctic Fire taking on two past Champion Hurdlers in Jezki and Rock On Ruby.

Elsewhere beaten Gold Cup favourite Silviniaco Conti will bid for a repeat win in the Betfred Bowl.

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Grand National Preview

Grand National Preview

The Grand National is a unique spectacle in the racing world, but it is also a unique test for the horses with nothing else in the calendar replicating the four and a half mile test.

This nature is borne out by the starting price of recent winners, with 25/1 shot Pineau De Re the latest victor to come from deeper in the betting. Read our preview of the 2015 National.

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Five Festival Lessons

Five Festival Lessons

We've had some time to reflect on Cheltenham 2015, which will go down as one of the most thrilling in history, and found five lessons to take from this year's Festival.

It was a fourth consecutive year in profit for the Road, and with the shape of the week evolving quickly it's crucial not to rest on the established trends and order - as Coneygree's connections will attest.

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Friday Review

Friday Review

Friday at Cheltenham saw Coneygree become the first novice in 41 years to land the Gold Cup, as he led all the way and saw off Djakadam and Road To Riches up the hill.

The 8yo was only committed to the race a few days earlier, and the overnight rain came in time to justify the decision to run here and not the RSA in the ultimate style for the Bradstocks.

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Thursday Review

Thursday Review

Thursday at Cheltenham saw Cole Harden take his seat at the big table with an all-the-way success in the World Hurdle. Also making all was Uxizandre in the Ryanair Chase, sending AP McCoy into retirement with a winner.

The day's most impressive winner was Vautour, who destroyed his JLT rivals and is the 2016 Gold Cup favourite.

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Wednesday Review

Wednesday Review

Dodging Bullets went into Wednesday's Queen Mother Champion Chase as the form horse of the season but largely ignored in favour of past champions Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy. He bested the old boys however to give Paul Nicholls a fifth race win.

In the RSA Chase, Don Poli gave Willie Mullins another Gold Cup arrow for 2016.

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Tuesday Review

Tuesday Review

Day 1 of Cheltenham 2015 was dominated by Willie Mullins, as Faugheen, Un De Sceaux and Douvan all did the business under Ruby Walsh.

The betting industry was saved a monster payout however in the Mares' Hurdle, where Annie Power fell at the final flight with the race at her mercy. Punters who backed the Mullins 4-fold will be crying about that one for a while.

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Friday Preview

Friday Preview

Get our best bets for day 4 of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival. Lord Windermere won a dramatic Gold Cup last season and is back to defend his title. Silviniaco Conti is favourite to land the blue riband on his third run in the race.

Also today will see the final Festival rides for 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy, and the closing Grand Annual will be run in his honour.

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Thursday Preview

Thursday Preview

Get our best bets for day 3 of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival. With defending champion More Of That out injured, the World Hurdle looks wide open.

Don Cossack is favourite to land the Ryanair Chase, and last year's Supreme Novices' winner Vautour is fancied for the JLT Novices' Chase.

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Wednesday Preview

Wednesday Preview

Get our best bets for day 2 of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, where the last two Champion Chase winners, Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy, clash in the day's highlight.

Also on the card Willie Mullins runs Don Poli in the RSA and Nichols Canyon in the Neptune Novices' Hurdle.

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Tuesday Preview

Tuesday Preview

Get our best bets for day 1 of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, where Faugheen puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Champion Hurdle.

Elsewhere stablemates Un De Sceaux, Douvan and Annie Power are all short-priced favourites for Willie Mullins.

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Mullins Acca

Mullins Acca

Festival week is upon us, and if things go right for him it could be the defining moment of Willie Mullins' career. At the time of writing, he has the favourite for 10 of the 27 races.

Stable form is a crucial factor, so if the early ones fire it enhances the chances of the others. We've picked out several to perm up in an acca.

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Festival Place Lays

Festival Place Lays

There are lots of fancied horses running next week and we want to take on plenty of them. Certain ones, however, are good not only to oppose in the win market but in the place market also, as they may be given an easy time if the race is lost.

We bring you four horses to lay for a place at this week's Festival.

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Tower Of Power

Tower Of Power

We have Shantou Bob in the book for the Albert Bartlett, but he broke a blood vessel last time out and the we want another arrow to fire at the race.

The market leaders have big reputations, but you need a hardy horse for this gruelling test and as such there's value in looking further down the betting.

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Chasing De Shadows

Chasing De Shadows

We've been with Un De Sceaux for Arkle since the summer, and with the race fast approaching we have no intention of deserting him. At 8/13 however you won't get rich lumping on now.

So likely is victory some bookies have priced up the race excluding Un De Sceaux, and there are several interesting angles to weigh up.

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County Cash Cow

County Cash Cow

The County Hurdle has been good to the portfolio, with 25/1 Ted Veale rescuing the portfolio in 2013 and Arctic Fire just being touched off at 16/1 last year.

The key to the race is discarding lots of the exposed horses and focusing on the more lightly-raced individuals who have yet to be really given a chance to show what they can do. Read our preview of this year's race.

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Five Festival Predictions

Five Festival Predictions

The 2015 Cheltenham Festival is only a week away, so it's time to make some broader predictions on what we can expect next week.

We investigate the state of the ground, how last year's winners will get on, trainers to watch, the Irish challenge and handicap trends.

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Polly Looks A Cracker

Polly Looks A Cracker

Quevega won six out of seven renewals of the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle, so while on the surface stats would appear fruitless the race hasn't been scrutinised heavily.

Another Mullins mare is dominating the betting this year, but while Annie Power has plenty in hand on ratings she has been off the track with injury so we want an each-way play against her.

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Lump On The Bumper

Lump On The Bumper

This may be the first Festival where Willie Mullins has dominated the conversation in the open divisions, but it's been that way regarding the Bumper since he trained three consecutive winners from 1996-98.

His runners obviously merit close inspection, but this can mean other hotpots are neglected. Read our race preview.

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Banks Bankers

Banks Bankers

The Cross Country isn't everybody's Festival highlight, but if you isolated certain trends towards the start of the race's history it may be the hidden jewel of the week.

Form over banks courses is key, with weight much less of a hindrance than contests on the conventional courses. Read our race preview.

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Honouring AP

Honouring AP

20-time champion jockey AP McCoy retires at the end of the season on top of the game. He's ridden 30 Festival winners before but any more will get the biggest cheers of all.

His boss JP McManus likes nothing more than getting one ready for this week, and we've found one in the famous green and gold silks that could go very close.

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Sire Catches Fire

Sire Catches Fire

Sire De Grugy looked much more like the reigning Champion Chaser at Chepstow, with a weight carrying performance that shot him back up the Cheltenham betting. He's 7/2 to defend his crown in two weeks.

We round up the rest of the weekly action, plus add a NRNB bet to the portfolio in the National Hunt Chase where the price will collapse if our dark horse runs.

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Novice Chasing Strategy

Novice Chasing Strategy

Aside from the obvious stamina reserves, it takes a different kind of horse to win an Arkle and an RSA Chase at the Festival.

We investigate the Cheltenham novice chases and the characteristics best suited to each race; be it hurdling ability, jumping style or the number of miles on the clock.

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Where There Is A Willie There Is A Way

Where There Is A Willie There Is A Way

With Champagne West injured, it's time for another look at the RSA Chase. The race could be on the verge of falling apart, with Coneygree potentially Gold Cup bound and Don Poli at the centre of a power struggle between Willie Mullins and Gigginstown.

Will the trainer get his way by switching Don Poli to the 4-miler and running Valseur Lido in the RSA?

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Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Trying to solve the 2015 Cheltenham novice hurdles looks more about working out which Willie Mullins beast goes where than any strict form analysis.

We make the Irish champion trainer odds-on to win the Neptune Novices' Hurdle, and while his Nichols Canyon is an obvious contender there's another dark horse from the yard we want to get onside.

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Prep Dangers

Prep Dangers

With only three weeks until the Festival, some trainers are trying to sneak another run into their horses. Any blips this stage however can ruin everything.

Ptit Zig lives to fight another day after his fall in the Ascot Chase, but Gilgamboa's defeat at Navan has put Cheltenham off the agenda.

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Old Boys Club

Old Boys Club

Trends and stats are a key part of Cheltenham betting. Some are well-known, but this is factored into the price so the theories are prime to poke holes in.

One such stat we've identified involves the record of older horses in the four Championship races - should they be supported or taken on?

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Supreme Flyer

Supreme Flyer

After Champagne Fever and Vautour, Willie Mullins will be gunning for a third straight Supreme Novices' Hurdle, and has an almost unprecedented crop of youngsters to call on.

As a result several of the leading contenders in the betting are likely to run elsewhere, so we want to take a flyer on an outsider now and revisit the race once team Mullins is finalised.

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Gold Cup Preview

Gold Cup Preview

Last year's Gold Cup was an unusual affair, with Lord Windermere leading home a blanket finish for chasing's greatest prize.

Silviniaco Conti was fourth that day, but is favourite to make amends and win the race on his third attempt. Can he keep the new school at bay or will one of the upstarts grab the keys to the kingdom?

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Coney Island Baby

Coney Island Baby

The weekend racing brought the house down, with the novice Coneygree announcing himself a Gold Cup player at Newbury before AP McCoy and Carlingford Lough gave Leopardstown another glorious Sunday.

McCoy rightly stole the headlines as he announced this season would be his last in the saddle, and the perennial champ can enjoy a deserved farewell tour.

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Sire Back In Town

Sire Back In Town

It's almost a month before Cheltenham 2015, and the last huge weekend of racing is here, as Newbury hosts Betfair day on Saturday before Leopardstown's quadruple Grade 1 raceday on Sunday.

Champion Chaser Sire De Grugy makes his seasonal debut in the Game Spirit Chase, while Willie Mullins trains the favourite in all four top level Irish contests.

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Ultimate Warriors

Ultimate Warriors

The four-mile National Hunt Chase for amateur riders has fundamentally changed since becoming a level-weights race, and the class acts now play out the finish.

One such beast is favourite Don Poli, who is also market leader for the RSA Chase. If he runs there this market will collapse, so now's the time to play on one of the other heavyweights.

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On The Hunt

On The Hunt

Gitane Du Berlais emphasised the strength of the Mullins novice chasers when thrashing the Brits in Sandown's G1 Scilly Isles. She heads to the JLT at the Festival where she could come up against stablemate Vautour.

Cheltenham clues were tin on the ground elsewhere, but there was a hunter chase recruit who we want to get in the book for the Foxhunters'.

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Outsiders Chance

Outsiders Chance

40 days to go and bookmakers are breaking out the novelty markets on Cheltenham 2015. Plenty are a lottery but there's always the odd diamond in the rough lying around.

We won't go that far describing the latest bet, but it's an angle on longest winning SP that we think the bookie has got wrong.

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JLT Preview

JLT Preview

The spectre of Un De Sceaux is likely to scare several novice chasers away from the Arkle, with the half-mile longer JLT on the Thursday the obvious beneficiary.

Un De Sceaux's stablemate Vautour is the favourite in a race the Irish have another strong hand. Who do we want to back now?

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Sceaux Me The Money

Sceaux Me The Money

It was a day for the ages at Leopardstown yesterday, as Un De Sceaux properly announced his arrival as a superstar and Hurricane Fly brought the house down with a fifth Irish Champion Hurdle.

At Cheltenham on Saturday, Many Clouds followed up his Hennessy win in the BetBright Cup and is third favourite for the Gold Cup.

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Dress Rehearsals

Dress Rehearsals

Cheltenham hosts its last meeting before the Festival on Saturday, with Dynaste favourite for the BetBright Cup and Saphir Du Rheu back over hurdles in the Cleeve.

A day later at Leopardstown, Hurricane Fly and Jezki do battle in the Irish Champion Hurdle, while Un De Sceaux finally tests his mettle in Grade 1 company.

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Break Out The Bubbly

Break Out The Bubbly

The RSA Chase is a race that often falls to a similar type of horse - battle-hardened with lots of fencing experience under their belt. The flashier types regularly get found out.

The usual concerns about alternate targets muddy the waters, but it does provide a potential void in the market. Where are we siding?

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Willie Conquer

Willie Conquer

Willie Mullins stables the ante-post favourite for 8 of the 27 Festival races at his Carlow base, and is a heavy odds-on shot to end the week on top.

His strength in depth is greater than in previous years, so we could be looking at an annexation of the Grade 1 races, especially in the novice hurdling division.

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Sprinter Shot

Sprinter Shot

There were as many questions as answers posed from Sprinter Sacre's return at Ascot, as he travelled with the old zest but was brushed aside by Dodging Bullets at the business end of the Clarence House Chase.

The 2013 champ is is still 3/1f to regain his Champion Chase title, and it will be straight to Cheltenham for a rematch in one of the most intriguing races of the week.

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Return Of The Sac

Return Of The Sac

Many said we'd never see Sprinter Sacre back on a racecourse again, but the brilliant 'black aeroplane' returns to action in Ascot's Clarence House Chase. Can he recapture the spark of old?

Also this weekend, Leopardstown hosts the valuable Boylesports Hurdle. Find out where our cash is going.

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World Record Timing

World Record Timing

More Of That was sensational in last year's World Hurdle, but with a defeat and potential breathing op on his plate this term it's worth exploring alternative options.

His rivals will be the usual mix of upstart youngsters and grizzled old warriors, and we've found two horses who appeal for the staying hurdling championship.

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Jumping Joss Flash

Jumping Joss Flash

Josses Hill got off the mark over fences at Doncaster, but still didn't impress with his jumping. Can Nicky Henderson get him ready for the Arkle?

In Ireland, Douvan hacked up in a Grade 2 to solidify his place as favourite for the Festival opener.

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Albert Grind Time

Albert Grind Time

The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle is a punishing race for young horses, where stamina and experience have counted for more than class over three miles around Cheltenham.

The bigger yards don't have a particularly good record, so it's worth taking a closer look at some of the more unfashionable contenders.

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New Year Acca

New Year Acca

Only nine weeks to go until the 2015 Festival begins, and we've bought another lottery ticket with a 4-horse accumulator to win a life-changing sum of money.

It's apt that one of the four is Noel Meade's Gold Cup hope Road To Riches; now second favourite after his Lexus triumph.

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Ruby Still Rocking

Ruby Still Rocking

No horse has completed the Champion Hurdle-World Hurdle double in over 50 years, but Rock On Ruby is lining himself up to bust that stat.

Elsewhere, Ptit Zig and L'Ami Serge also put serious Festival markers down for the home side, and are clear top rated in their divisions this side of the Irish Sea.

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When A Fire Starts To Burn

When A Fire Starts To Burn

The Champion Hurdle betting is dominated by defending champ Jezki, the 'wronged lover' The New One and the unbeaten machine Faugheen. Beyond these three, it's slim pickings.

Something has to come out of the woodwork however, and we've got our eye on an unexposed horse yet to get his ideal conditions.

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Flight Of Fancy

Flight Of Fancy

Hurricane Fly landed a 21st Grade 1 days before his 11th birthday, yet serious talk of another Champion Hurdle bid looks fanciful, especially with stablemate Faugheen running wild.

Elsewhere over Christmas at Leopardstown, Road To Riches cemented his status as a leading Gold Cup contender by beating the old guard in the Lexus Chase.

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Emerald City

Emerald City

The Irish used to be happy with a few winners each Cheltenham Festival, but recent years have seen them challenge the home team for superiority.

The last two years they have won 14 and 13 out of the 27 races, and despite a potential best-ever raiding party for 2015 bookmakers aren't convinced they can have as much success.

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Flat Track Bully

Flat Track Bully

Silviniaco Conti won a second King George VI Chase in dominant fashion, putting his proven stamina and jumping to use from the front. Whether he is as effective at Cheltenham is another thing.

Also on Kempton's Boxing Day card, Faugheen solidified his place at the head of the Champion Hurdle betting with another destruction job in the Christmas Hurdle.

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Lexus Lords

Lexus Lords

Silviniaco Conti took hold of the Gold Cup market in the King George, but today's Lexus Chase should clear the waters equally as to the blue riband principles in March.

Also at Leopardstown, there's a very open 3m Christmas Hurdle where we're well inclined to take a chance on one of the outsiders.

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Boxing Day Knockouts

Boxing Day Knockouts

The star turns on Boxing Day at Kempton are Rich Ricci's pair Faugheen and Champagne Fever, though the latter has a tough ask wrestling the King George limelight away from Silviniaco Conti.

Ruby Walsh's presence in west London means Vautour will be partnered by Paul Townend when he runs in the G1 Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

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Buzz Sceaux

Buzz Sceaux

Un De Sceaux unshipped Ruby Walsh on his chasing debut, but there we no such problems next time at Fairyhouse as he sauntered home and joined stablemate Vautour at the top of the Arkle market.

Ptit Zig beat Josses Hill at Ascot, and the market thinks these will be Britain's top two hopes to take on the Mullins machine.

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Ladbroke Preview

Ladbroke Preview

A £150k pot for the Ladbroke tomorrow, with Paul Nicholls' proteges Harry Fry and Dan Skelton training the two market leaders, Activial and Shelford.

Philip Hobbs is having a tremendous season, and Greatwood winner Garde La Victoire carries top weight - but we like his second string.

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The One And Only

The One And Only

The New One gave 8lbs and a beating to Champion Hurdle pretender Vaniteux in the International Hurdle, and showed he's the main British hope to stave off Jezki and Faugheen.

Kings Palace sits at the head of the RSA market, and while he's been impressive over fences thus far, it's shaping up to be one of the races of the Festival.

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Questions Of Loyalty

Questions Of Loyalty

Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Caid Du Berlais goes for the Cheltenham handicap double, and up only 5lbs looks a good thing to land another payday for connections and the column.

Also at Cheltenham, Vaniteux and Zamdy Man will try to take down The New One in the International Hurdle.

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Tingle Bells

Tingle Bells

With no Sprinter Sacre or Sire De Grugy, tomorrow's Tingle Creek has an unconventionally open look about it, though 10 runners blasting over the railway fences should provide some spectacle.

Haldon 1-2 God's Own and Balder Succes head the market but they don't especially stand out. Find out where our cash is going there and elsewhere at Sandown and Aintree.

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Sceaux Simple

Sceaux Simple

Willie Mullins has such ammunition at his Carlow training base, it's a balancing act for both the yard and punters to work out Festival targets for the horses.

The Arkle is a prime example. He has the two clear market standouts - Vautour and Un De Sceaux - but they're unlikely to take each other on, so who is the one to be on?

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Nicholls Firing More Bullets

Nicholls Firing More Bullets

Paul Nicholls landed another big Saturday pot when Dodging Bullets won a first Grade 1 in the Tingle Creek. He could yet make up into a leading Champion Chase player.

At Punchestown, Don Cossack won a third race this season and arguably should be favourite for the Ryanair Chase, with Gordon Elliott minded to go straight to the Festival.

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December Acca

December Acca

Why play the lottery when you can throw some change at a pie-in-the-sky acca, with the possibility a Cheltenham winner (or four) can make you a millionaire.

Our December quad features three 25/1+ shots, plus a horse who could end up going off odds-on but is currently 6/1.

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Starved Of Air

Starved Of Air

The Ryanair Chase is now well-established at the Festival, but it's still gets its deserters and Dynaste's win in 2014 was over a field that cut up badly.

Looking at the head of the 2015 betting, plenty of horses will run elsewhere so it's worth looking down the list for likely runners at bigger prices.

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Many Clouds Will Part

Many Clouds Will Part

Many Clouds gave Oliver Sherwood his biggest win for years when landing the Hennessy, and he must be a player in what looks a winnable Gold Cup.

At Fairyhouse, Valseur Lido put a strong field to the sword in the Drinmore and is an obvious Cheltenham candidate - but for what race?

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Fairy Lights

Fairy Lights

No Annie Power on Fairyhouse on Sunday, but it's still a top card with three Grade 1s. The Tullow Tank will look to give the Hughes family an emotional success in the Drinmore.

The Fighting Fifth highlights Newcastle's premier jumps meet of the season, where Champion Hurdle pretenders Irving and Arctic Fire square off.

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Mining The Hennessy Gold

Mining The Hennessy Gold

This weekend's Hennessy Gold Cup is a top-heavy handicapping affair, with lots of the fancied runners carrying big weights. The wildcard is 4/1f Djakadam, touted as a potential Gold Cup horse.

Despite the strong vibes, there's plenty of reasons to take him on and we're siding with Paul Nicholls to scoop another big Saturday winner.

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Frightening Faugheen

Frightening Faugheen

Faugheen cemented his place at the head of the Champion Hurdle market at Ascot, while stablemate Vautour was fairly flawless on his chasing debut at Navan.

Indeed, several of the Willie Mullins' battalions were unleashed and novice hurdlers Shaneshill, Tell Us More, Douvan, Outlander and Milsean should all take high rank.

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Back For More

Back For More

Last year's Betfair Chase was arguably the best chase run all season, and the principles who fought out the finish are back for more and closely tied at the head of the market.

The New One is also in action on Haydock's premier card of the year, while fellow Champion Hurdle contender Faugheen puts his unbeaten record on the line at Ascot.

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Score Up For The Fly

Score Up For The Fly

Hurricane Fly landed his 20th Grade 1 on Sunday when defeating Jezki in the Morgiana. If he's trained for these pots rather than the Festival he can mop up again this winter.

At Cheltenham, Caid Du Berlais stormed up the hill to land a 16/1 winner for the column in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Bigger and better things await for the 5-year-old.

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Open For Business

Open For Business

The Paddy Power Gold Cup highlights Cheltenham tomorrow, but Sunday's card has even more depth with five Graded/Listed contests including the Greatwood Hurdle.

Across the Irish Sea defending Champion Hurdler Jezki locks horns with old champion Hurricane Fly as they both start their season in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

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Power To The Caid

Power To The Caid

Cheltenham's Open meeting is for many the true start of the National Hunt season, with the £160k Paddy Power Gold Cup one of the most targeted handicaps of the year.

Last year's winner Johns Spirit is back for another crack, but he has more weight to carry and the right handicap mark is one of the keys to finding the winner.

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Theatre Of The Gods

Theatre Of The Gods

The Haldon Gold Cup was the seasonal starting point for several top chasers, and God's Own showed his Punchestown Grade 1 win to be no fluke when besting Balder Succes.

Still technically a novice, he is one of several weekly winners who could be pitching for Festival honours in March.

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Simply A Must Bet

Simply A Must Bet

The record of second season novices to have won off a high handicap mark, then follow up at the Festival, goes largely ignored but bears close scrutiny.

One horse has done so already this season but is as big as 33/1 in a Champion Chase market where several of the principles will do well to get to the race.

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Forgotten Horses

Forgotten Horses

We all know the most highly hyped horses of the National Hunt season - just take a look at the top of the ante-post markets.

We've tried to identify several horses who have similar levels of potential, but for whatever reason haven't quite gripped the racing world just yet.

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Fitness First

Fitness First

Road To Riches showed the benefits of race fitness at Down Royal when running several high class chasers ragged in the JNwine Champion Chase.

At Wetherby, Menorah followed stablemate Wishfull Thinking by plundering a big Saturday plot in the Charlie Hall Chase.

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Attack An Acca

Attack An Acca

With winter closing in, we all need that extra cockle warmer on the long nights, and a Cheltenham acca lets thoughts drift towards a Caribbean beach in April.

We've picked out four ante-post bets that together pay over 20,000/1.

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Jumps Away

Jumps Away

It's a long way until March to be thinking about the novice hurdling division, but several of those to have run already will be in the mix at Festival time.

We take a look at those that have shown the most promise over timber this autumn.

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Chasing The Dream

Chasing The Dream

Chepstow has proven a good introduction to fences over recent years, and several promising types have already made their mark over the larger obstacles in the past month.

With More Of That staying hurdling, there's no obvious RSA Chase market leader as we round up the novice chasers seen out thus far.

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Elliott Off To A Flier

Elliott Off To A Flier

We begin our round-up of races already run this season with a look at horses in open company.

Gordon Elliott's yard have made a hot start with Don Cossack, Tiger Roll and Clarcam already on the board, stamping themselves as forces to be reckoned with over the coming months.

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Ma King George Springer

Ma King George Springer

The Road to Cheltenham returns for another year of ante-post dreams! Matt Tombs will be guiding us through the winter months once more in the hope of striking it gold at the Festival in March.

Before that however, there's a 33/1 shot for the King George on Boxing Day that stands out as "maybe the best value bet we’ll get all season".

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Cheltenham Countdown

The best Cheltenham Festival blog on the planet returns for 2015!

Over the past three years our National Hunt expert Matt Tombs has held our hands on the road to the Cheltenham Festival, with analysis and bets through the season, but the main focus being on the four days in March that brings the racing world together.

Matt has turned a profit every year, and in 2014 ante-post bets on Jezki (12/1) and Balthazar King (33/1) ensured it was another successful Festival. View the archive of years past at 2014, 2013 and 2012.

You can also follow and contact Matt on Twitter.

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Cheltenham Portfolio:

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Bentelimar - Supreme Novices - 0.5pts e/w 50/1 - U/P

Un De Sceaux - Arkle - 1pt 6/1 - WON

Smashing - Arkle w/o Un De Sceaux - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Arctic Fire - Champion Hurdle - 1pt e/w 33/1 NRNB - 2nd

Polly Peachum - Mares Hurdle - 1pt e/w 10/1 NRNB - 2nd

Cause Of Causes - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 8/1 NRNB - WON

Wounded Warrior - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 10/1 - N/R

Vroum Vroum Mag - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - N/R

Cocktails At Dawn - Novices Handicap Chase - 1pt 16/1 NRNB - U/P

Jarry D'Honneur - Novices Handicap Chase - 1pt 16/1 NRNB - N/R

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Nichols Canyon - Neptune Novices - 1pt 6/1 NRNB - 3rd

Arbre De Vie - Neptune Novices - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - N/R

Champagne West - RSA Chase - 1pt 16/1 - N/R

Valseur Lido - RSA Chase - 1pt 10/1 NRNB - N/R

Simply Ned - Champion Chase - 1pt e/w 33/1 - U/P

Sire Collonges - Cross Country - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Moon Racer - Champion Bumper - 1pt 12/1 - WON

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Apache Stronghold - JLT - 1pt 16/1 - 2nd

Caid Du Berlais - Ryanair Chase - 1pt 25/1 - N/R

Un Temps Pour Tout - World Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Whisper - World Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - U/P

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Rich Coast - County Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - U/P

Shantou Bob - Albert Bartlett - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Martello Tower - Albert Bartlett - 1pt 12/1 - WON

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

Smad Place - Gold Cup - 1pt e/w 25/1 NRNB - U/P

Current Event - Foxhunter Chase - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

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15 or more - Total Irish Winners - 1pt 9/1 - Lost

Mullins treble - Novice Hurdles - 1pt 20/1 - Lost

Fred Winter - Longest Winning SP Race - 1pt 20/1 - Lost

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Other bets:

Shanahan's Turn - Novice Handicap Chase - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Pearlysteps - Champion Hunters Chase - 1pt 9/1 - 3rd

Rivage D'Or - La Touche Cup - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Lots Of Memories - World Series Hurdle - 1pt e/w 40/1 - U/P

Ballynagour - Punchestown Gold Cup - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

No More Heroes - Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle - 1pt 10/3 - U/P

Ange D'Or Javilex - Martinstown Handicap Hurdle - 1pt 40/1 - U/P

Modus - Champion INH Flat Race - 1pt 5/1 - 3rd

Valseur Lido - Growise Novice Chase - 1pt 9/1 - WON

Mallowney - Boylesports Champion Chase - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Saint Are - Grand National - 1pt 33/1 - 2nd

Corrin Wood - Grand National - 1pt 100/1 - U/P

Cole Harden - Liverpool Hurdle - 1pt 11/4 - 2nd

Nichols Canyon - Mersey Novices Hurdle - 1pt 7/2 - WON

Sizing Granite - Maghull Novices Chase - 1pt 6/1 - WON

Simply Ned - Melling Chase - 1pt 22/1 - U/P

Carraig Mor - Mildmay Novices Chase - 1pt 14/1 - 2nd

Roi Des Francs - Sefton Novices Hurdle - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Blue Heron - Aintree Hurdle - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Silviniaco Conti - Aintree Bowl - 1pt 3/1 - WON

Dresden - Red Rum Chase - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Neverownup - Fox Hunter Chase - 1pt 40/1 - U/P

Wicklow Brave - Betfair Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Houblon Des Obeaux - Denman Chase - 1pt 10/3 - 2nd

On His Own - Irish Hennessy - 1pt 7/2 - U/P

Apache Stronghold - Flogas Novice Chase - 1pt 5/1 - WON

Un Temps Pour Tout - Cleeve Hurdle - 1pt 11/4 - 3rd

Robinsfirth - Classic Novice Hurdle - 1pt 8/1 - U/P

Arctic Fire - Irish Champion Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - 2nd

Twinlight - Clarence House Chase - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Katie T - Boylesports Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - WON

Lord Windermere - Lexus Chase - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Dedigout - Leopardstown Xmas Hurdle - 1pt 33/1 - U/P

Le Vent d'Antan - Beginners' Chase - 1pt 3/1 - WON

Al Ferof - King George - 1pt 6/1 - 3rd

Purple Bay - Christmas Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 - 2nd

Simply Ned - Dial-a-Bet Chase - 1pt 10/1 - 3rd

Corrin Wood - Rowland Meyrick - 1pt 8/1 - 3rd

Ma Filleule - King George - 2pts 33/1 - N/R

Hello George - Ladbroke - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Caid Du Berlais - December Gold Cup - 1pt 7/2 - U/P

Zamdy Man - International Hurdle - 1pt e/w 12/1 - U/P

Dodging Bullets - Tingle Creek - 1pt 10/1 - WON

Irish Saint - Henry VIII - 1pt 13/8 - U/P

Ma Filleule - Betfred Chase - 1pt 9/4 - U/P

Benny's Mist - Grand Sefton - 1pt 12/1 - 3rd

Rocky Creek - Hennessy Gold Cup - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Aurore D'Estruval - Fighting Fifth - 1pt 4/1 - 2nd

Real Steel - Drinmore - 1pt 12/1 - 3rd

Tandem - Royal Bond - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Menorah - Betfair Chase - 1pt 9/1 - 2nd

Zamdy Man - Price Rush Hurdle - 1pt 25/1 - 2nd

Caid Du Berlais - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 16/1 - WON

Sausalito Sunrise - Club Novices Chase - 1pt 3/1 - 2nd

Simply Ned - Shloer Chase - 1pt 9/4 - 2nd

Regal Encore - Greatwood Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Jezki - Morgiana Hurdle - 1pt 4/5 - 2nd