Cheltenham Festival Expectations

8th Mar 2012 | Horse Racing

With the Cheltenham Festival getting ever closer we have a quick chat with our racing expert to get his thoughts on next week’s action.

What do you hope for next week?
Financial gain would be a good start! The 2011 Cheltenham Festival was my most successful for many years. I landed Zarkandar, Albertas Run and Bostons Angel all at decent odds for 15.75 points profit and a 286% return on investment. Just a tenth of that success would be great.

Which Championship race are you looking forward to most?
Fingers crossed Kauto Star can make it to the Gold Cup from a neutral’s perspective. It is a race that takes the sport to a wider audience and has a great narrative.

From a personal viewpoint, the Gold Cup lacks a bit of strength in depth and I’m being drawn towards the Champion Hurdle again. Hurricane Fly is exemplary but Binocular is returning to his best and could give the favourite a scare. The likes of Overturn, Rock On Ruby and Zarkandar shouldn’t be discounted either.

Which horse are you looking forward to most?
Everyone enjoys the old champions coming back to defend their titles, and that is what makes Cheltenham great, but there are a couple of lesser lights that interest me.

Zaidpour had the world at his feet 18 months ago and has rather been forgotten since flopping at the festival last year. He has slowly rebuilt his reputation in Ireland, winning all four of his races this season. The ground might be too quick for him at Cheltenham but if he does run, the Champion Hurdle is on the first day when there might be some moisture left in the ground.

I’m also looking forward to watching Hold On Julio in the JLT Chase (2.40 Tuesday). At 6/1 (William Hill) he is quite short in the betting but I was mightily impressed by his two victories at Sandown. He is nine-years-old but incredibly lightly raced; he’s unbeaten in three chase starts and could be quite useful.

Any tips for Cheltenham?
All my selections will be on Betting Bias each day and I alert people on twitter (@bettingbias) when they are posted. I have some horses in mind but I tend not to make a firm decision until the actual day.

Surely four days of manic punting sends you mad?
It could - but primarily Cheltenham is great fun. Having said this I have some rules to make the most of my week. I’ll prep all the races in advance, study the form several nights before the actual race and draw up my short list. On the day of the race I want to be free to hunt for value rather than still studying the form.

Best of luck and enjoy the week.

Zaidpour to win the Champion Hurdle 40/1 with Boylesports Place Bet
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Tips & Advice

Market Movers: Global Leader

Global Leader hasn't shown much in four starts but he's been gelded since his last run and a drop in trip looks in his favour. The money has come, backed from 11/2 into 11/8.

Market Movers: Piazon

Piazon lost his last race at the start but if he breaks on terms he has a good chance in the 3.35 Yarmouth. There has been plenty of overnight money, his price shortening from 7/4 to 10/11.

Nothing Fishy About Piscean

Has been running well but races haven’t unfolded in his favour; needs a strong pace but could get that today.

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