The top ten most backed horses for Cheltenham Festival
We reveal the most backed horses since the Cheltenham markets opened.
Altior – Champion Chase ($1.44*)
The shortest favourite in the markets, Nicky Henderson’s star chaser has recorded 17 successive wins and would equal the record 18 set by Big Buck’s with a victory in this race. The nine-year-old has won the 2016 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, 2017 Arkle Chase and last year’s Champion Chase. He’s as short as $1.40* to defend that Champion Chase title, implying a 71.4% probability he wins.
Paisley Park – Stayers’ Hurdle ($2.75*)
Emma Lavelle’s gelding is another short-priced favourite that’s been heavily backed in the past few months. Catching the eye most notably with a 12-length victory in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Trials Day back in January, the seven-year-old looks like another that will be difficult to oppose.
Buveur D’Air – Champion Hurdle ($3.25*)
Last year’s Champion Hurdle winner is another of Nicky Henderson’s main hopes for this year’s festival. Despite defeat in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, he looks set to mount a strong Champion Hurdle defence. Now likely to be challenged by Apple’s Jade and Laurina, he’s gone from odds-on back in December to $3.25*.
Tiger Roll – Cross Country Chase ($2.10*)
Another hoping to defend last year’s title, Tiger Roll is hoping to do the Cross Country Chase and Grand National double again this time round. Gordon Elliott’s nine-year-old has had a mixed season, most recently shocking a field at Navan with a $26* win over hurdles. Punters have seen enough to get behind him again in 2019.
Apple’s Jade – Champion Hurdle ($3.25*)
This year’s main ‘will they, won’t they’, Gigginstown now look certain to send Apple’s Jade to the Champion Hurdle rather than the Mares’ Hurdle. That’s bad news for the swathes of punters that had backed her in the Mares’, but after a 16-length win in the Irish Champion Hurdle last month, she’s got plenty excited.
Presenting Percy – Gold Cup ($5.50*)
The 2018 RSA Chase winner has been one of the most talked about horses all season, but not having run over fences in preparation for the Gold Cup, his price has drifted to $5.50*. Patrick G Kelly’s gelding remains the favourite to win the highlight this year.
Sir Erec – Triumph Hurdle ($2.38*)
There’s movement in this market as question marks surround a few runners. Sir Erec is currently the 11/8 favourite, having drifted from the even-money mark after news of picking up an injury. Joseph O’Brien is confident he will make a full recovery and a big chunk of ante-post punters will have everything crossed.
Benie Des Dieux – Mares’ Hurdle ($2.10*)
Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old is the current second favourite for the Mares’ Hurdle behind Apple’s Jade and marginally ahead of Laurina. With the latter two runners likely to go for the Champion Hurdle, early backers of Benie Des Dieux are sitting pretty.
Laurina – Champion Hurdle ($5.50*)
Another of Willie Mullins’ main hopes, Laurina showed her Champion Hurdle credentials with an impressive six-length victory at Punchestown recently. Still, a $2.25* shot in the Mares’ Hurdle market with plenty of bookies, a sizeable number of ante-post punters will be disappointed as she now looks set for a clash with the likes of Buveur D’Air and Apple’s Jade.
Delta Work – RSA Chase ($3.25*)
Unbeaten this season, Delta Work has ended up not having a run since winning at Leopardstown in December. That won’t be of too much concern to those with ante-post money on Gordon Elliott’s stayer, as he is considered by many to be one of the strongest favourites in the markets.