Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Six Reasons Why We Can’t Wait for the Festival
The Preview Nights
The preview nights are the start of the Cheltenham Festival season and they are full of fantastic insight, stories and most importantly TIPS!
Most of the jockeys, trainers and owners will be plucked to chat about their horses and rides throughout the week. Often you can get a lot of really good information about how they have been performing at home and also talk about horses who may be going under the radar.
Last year at a preview night had Olly Murphy on the panel. He was asked about his two in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle who at the time were 33/1 and 66/1. He stated that the pair of them should never be that price and have been going well at home and to potentially back them both each-way. They finished 2nd and 3rd behind Klassical Dream and gave punters some fairly decent each-way money.
So look out on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube for any and all the Preview Nights you can and jot down information you think could be vital for the week.
The New Talent
The novice races look like they could have some Cheltenham favourites in there for many years to come.
Last year’s Champion Bumper winner, Envoi Allen, is unbeaten in eight and could be a superstar in the making. He won a Grade 1 at Naas last time out and should come to the Festival fresh. Expect him to be in plenty of people’s accas. All roads lead to the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for Gordon Elliott’s stable star where he is currently 1/1 with Marathonbet.
The Donnellys hold two aces in the Supreme Novices’ with Shishkin and Asterion Forlonge leading the betting and it’s difficult to look past either. Asterion Forlonge holds all the right credentials to win the opener and is trained by the master, Willie Mullins.
Notebook leads the betting for the Arkle Novices’ Chase. He’s won all four of his chase starts this year under Rachel Blackmore, but Brewin’upastorm for Olly Murphy could be his closest challenger. He came fourth in last year’s Ballymore and has followed that up with two wins this season.
We’ve all been there. The Monday of Cheltenham. Wandering around the office with your chest out, thinking you’re the Wolf of Wall Street. This, after you’ve told everyone that you backed the odds-on Ante Post favourite for one of the big races at double figure odds months ago and are just waiting for the steering job the jockey has to do so you can collect your haul and book your holiday to the Maldives.
Or you’re frantically looking through the 4-day race card to see if you can make your doubles, trebles, lucky 15’s, Yankees or Super Heinz’s for the week ahead.
Andy Williams sings that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year”, sadly Andy is extremely wrong. The second week of March is, Mr. Williams. It’s filled with hope, expectation and joy, as we watch these magnificent animals compete at the highest level. They might even win you a quid or two.
The reason we all love Cheltenham is how brilliant and competitive all 28 races are throughout the week. The calibre of the horses on show is a huge reason for this. One of the edges Jumps racing has over flat racing is that we can fall in love with these animals year after year as they keep coming back.
The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the UK and Irish jump racing calendar. Every trainer has hopes and aspirations when the season starts that their stable stars will line-up in March to compete. This means that trainers will have the horses at their absolute best on the day, meaning we can look forward to some superb racing.
Over the course of the week there are a staggering 13 Grade 1’s to be contested. The likes of the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Stayers Hurdle and the Gold Cup being the main attractions of each day.
The Champion Hurdle is a personal favourite of many as the two-miler has seen some of our recent stars Annie Power and Faugheen put in stellar performances whilst being backed.
Speaking of Faugheen, he could be the biggest story of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. His recent victory at Leopardstown was greeted with the loudest cheers the course has ever seen. The fan favourite put in a superb round of jumping to win his 11th Grade 1 race. The Willie Mullins-trained 12-year-old will be hoping to claim his 12th in the Marsh Novices’ Chase (formerly the JLT) in Wednesday’s opener, and is currently priced at 5/1 to take this race in the Cheltenham Festival ante post betting.
If he’s in contention going over the last, Prestbury Park could break the World Record for decibel levels as 60,000 people cheer him on.
It would complete a remarkable turn around considering the Machine was pulled up at Aintree in April in what looked to be his last run. A tilt over fences has revitalised him and he looks better than ever.
The old saying is “a 4/1 winner at Southwell is the same as a 4/1 winner at the Cheltenham Festival”. That may be factually correct, but a winner at Southwell isn’t something you will remember fondly. However, a 4/1 shot getting up in the final strides of the Gold Cup to beat the favourite everyone has backed is a different story. Your friends down the boozer won’t hear the end of it for a good few months.
The beauty of the National Hunt season is you often get champions trying to defend their crowns. This year that honour falls on Roksana (Mares’ Hurdle), Altior (Champion Chase), Tiger Roll (Cross Country Chase), Paisley Park (Stayers’ Hurdle) and Al Boum Photo (Gold Cup) all of whom were fantastic winners of their races.
Fancy them all to win again? You can get a tasty 336/1 on that happening with Marathonbet.*
*Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
See here for more Horse Racing Tips.