Fancy taking on the favs? Our racing tipster has picked out his value picks for the Festival.
As the saying goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” and that quote applies neatly to so many of the Championship races at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, where there’s good each-way value to be obtained behind each of the short-priced favourites. The likes of Getabird, Apple’s Jade, Footpad, Altior, Samcro, and Buveur D’Air all look good on paper, but whilst excepting that the majority of these horses will probably win, there’s just as much money – even more in most cases – gained by finding those at bigger odds to fill the frame.
Add on top of that, bookmakers aggressive marketing strategies for the week with extra places and advanced place terms and it’s a week where the bad each-way thieves can really go to town and make a killing. Without throwing all eggs in one basket and committing too early not knowing the ground and full extent of each race, here’s just a few suggestions of names worth considering for each-way multiples.
The very first race of the meeting is likely to offer a great opportunity to get the exotic bets flying as most bookmakers will be trying to lure in many punters by offering fanciful four, five or even six places in a race when there’s likely to be less than 20 runners. As mentioned, Getabird takes out a huge chunk of the market being the quintessential Irish banker in the Supreme, but despite his obvious claims based on historic records, KALASHNIKOV and SUMMERVILLE BOY appear rock-solid each-way alternatives.
Despite being beaten fair and square by the latter in the Tolworth at Sandown, the weight of money has very much been in the favour of Amy Murphy’s inmate following his tremendous display in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury subsequently and it’s hard to see him not being in the shake-up unless the ground was absolutely bottomless – which is unlikely. Unlike Kalashnikov, Summerville Boy has proven Cheltenham form and there’s a big argument to be had to say he’s overpriced based on his victory at the Esher venue back December.
Sceaux Royal would have been the obvious one for the gritty each-way merchants in the Arkle, but without his presence, SAINT CALVADOS looks the perfect substitute – even more so as there could be a field-size less than the dead-eight. MY TENT OR YOURS has a record at Cheltenham to suggest he’s got to do something catastrophic not to be in the first three in the Champion Hurdle and at his current price of 10-1, he will surely be the linchpin to kick-start many speculative each-way multiples.
Although yet to be 100% confirmed, it seems likely looking at the recent market activity that LA BAGUE AU ROI will be asked to face Apple’s Jade rather than tackle a whole multitude of potential players in the World Hurdle later in the week – and that appears to be the right decision. Warren Greatrex’s mare has improved every time she’s raced this season and a strong-run 2m 4f on soft ground will be right up her street.
On day two, there’s likely to be a pretty thin field taking on Samcro for the opening Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the two that standout as being the ones most likely to make him work for his corn are NEXT DESTINATION and BLACK OP. Although yet to be confirmed for this race, it makes more sense for Willie Mullins’ to run his classier novice in this race rather than tackle the gruelling Albert Bartlett on day-four and if he does run, it’s easy to see him going off much less than his current 11-2 quotes.
Similar comments also apply to the latter who crucially has smart track form courtesy of his latest outing and he has enough class and speed to figure prominently based on his time figures. Some firms are still offering 7-2 about MIN in The Champion Chase and that looks wrong on many levels. Firstly, there’s a distinct possibility that stable mate Douvan won’t run and secondly, there’s also a strong chance there will be a field less than eight. Either way, he’s one that simply has to be put in every single each-way combinations during the four days.
Another race that could cut up considerably is the Ryanair and if so, BALKO DE FLOS is likely to get even shorter than his current 7-1 quotes. Connections of Waiting Patiently appear to be looking for every reason under the sun not to run/risk their charge after his hard race at Ascot, while the likes Yorkhill, Douvan, Djakadam, Min, Benie Des Dieux, Valseur Lido and Outlander are all likely to take up other engagements during the week.
Despite the complex and wide-open nature of the Stayers Hurdle, L’AMI SERGE has the sort of record and run-style that makes him an irresistible prospect for the each-way/place only sharks. Although beaten on merit by SAM SPINNER in the best trial for this race at Ascot earlier in the campaign, he still travelled like the best horse for 90% of the journey and given that he’s likely to be ridden in a similar fashion come the Thursday of the meeting, his current odds of 12-1 makes plenty of each-way appeal.
Sam Spinner would easily be clear favourite if he were trained at a bigger yard and it’s hard not to see him going extremely close given that he’s likely to give his true running.
Each-way Super Yankee
My Tent Or Yours – Champion Hurdle
La Bague Au Roi – Mares Hurdle
Saint Calvados – Arkle
Min – Champion Chase
Balko Des Flos – Ryanair
Each-way Combination Treble
Kalashnikov and Summerville Boy – Supreme
Next Destination and Black Op – Ballymore
Sam Spinner and L’Ami Serge – Stayers Hurdle
8 each-way bets
My Tent Or Yours - Champion Hurdle
L’Ami Serge – Stayers Hurdle