The 2019 Cheltenham Festival has treated us well so far with Tiger Roll, Band Of Outlaws and Envoi Allen all winning for us on Wednesday, so I have decided to treat myself and attend Day 3 of The Festival despite not planning on it! Let’s hope we can pick up some more winners today. Be sure to follow me on twitter @JakePriceTips for live updates from the track throughout St Patricks Thursday.
After a solid Day 1 Preview with Supreme winner Klassical Dream (6/1) and A Plus Tard (16/1 Ante-Post) storming home, we swiftly move onto Day 2, where hopefully we can again pick up some more winners. Be sure to follow me on twitter @JakePriceTips for live updates from the racecourse throughout the day.
After a long twelve months, the wait for the best week in Horse Racing is finally over – the Cheltenham Festival is back! We kick off the week with my favourite day of them all – ‘Champion Day’ Tuesday. The feature race is of course the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle, where we have an outstanding renewal which includes the two Mares Apple’s Jade and Laurina, taking on Dual Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air. Elsewhere we have another three Grade 1 events, two fantastically competitive Handicaps, and one of my favourite races of the season – the four-mile National Hunt Chase. I’ll be attending Day 1 as usual, providing live updates from the track via my Twitter account @JakePriceTips. The recent rain has significantly eased the surface, and despite the dry winter, we look set to race on the softer side of good.
Ante-Post Preview #8 – 05/03/2019
2m Arkle Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – Tuesday 12th March 2019
The Arkle Novices’ Chase is the first of three Championship races open to first and second season Novice Chasers, ran on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival. Some of the best horses in our sport have won this race in the past including Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Sprinter Sacre, Altior and Douvan. Last year the race was won by Irish banker Footpad, trained by the genius Willie Mullins – who has won three of the last four renewals. The Closutton handler doesn’t have his normal fire-power this year however due to injuries and dry ground, so the race has a much more open feel to it. With Ante-Post favourite Le Richebourg also ruled out of the race due to injury, this looks a fantastic opportunity for a horse to have their day in the sun.
Ante-Post Preview #7 – 03/03/2019
2m½f Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) – Tuesday 12th March 2019
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the traditional Cheltenham Festival curtain raiser, always preceded by the famous Cheltenham roar of a crowd full of anticipation and excitement. Run over a fast paced two-miles, this is one of the most competitive Novice Hurdles of the season. The Supreme has a fantastic roll of honor including the likes of Altior, Douvan, Vautour, Al Ferof and Champagne Fever in recent years – so it clearly takes a classy horse to win. Last year the race was won by Tom George’s Summerville Boy, and we look to have an even more competitive renewal this year with no Willie Mullins hot-pot at the front of the market.
Ante-Post Preview #6 – 27/02/2019
2m4f Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) – Tuesday 12th March 2019
The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase is run over two-and-a-half-miles and is limited to Novice Chasers rated 145 or below. This rating band changed from 0-140 last season, and in result we now have an extremely competitive handicap. Last season the bottom weight ran from a mark of 137, and this year we look set for another tightly matched field. Mister Whitaker won from that bottom weight in 2018, but the nature of the race means that the top weights won’t have as difficult a task as they may have in a traditional handicap – we could see as little as 5lbs between the field this year.
Ante-Post Preview #5 – 26/02/2019
2m½f Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) – Wednesday 13th March 2019
The Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is one of two races at the Cheltenham Festival for four-year-olds, and this race is usually made up of horses not quite up to Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle standard. Last year the race was won by Gordon Elliot’s Veneer Of Charm, with the likes of Diego Du Charmil and Sanctuaire also on the honors list. The race is run over two-miles-and-half-a-furlong on Wednesday of the Festival and is the last race over obstacles on the Old Course, before action switches over to the New Course the following day.
Ante-Post Preview #4 – 13/02/2019
2m4f JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – Thursday 14th March 2019
The JLT Novices’ Chase is one of three Championship Novice races for Steeplechasers, and opens Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival. The race is run over an intermediate distance of 2m4f, and last year was won by the likeable Mare Shattered Love. Since the races’ inception in 2011 Willie Mullins has struck up an impressive four wins (50% strike rate!), most memorably when Vautour demolished his rivals by fifteen lengths in one of the all-time great Cheltenham Festival performances. In a weird season which has been halted by both the weather and Equine Flu, we’re set for another competitive renewal. Continue reading “Cheltenham Ante-Post #4 – JLT Novices’ Chase”
Ante-Post Preview #3 – 05/02/2019
2m4f OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) – Tuesday 12th March 2019
The Mares’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 contest ran over an intermediate trip of two-miles-four-furlongs, and is only eligible for female horses. There have been some fantastic renewals in the past such as when Apple’s Jade saw off Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini in 2017, with the former winning this contest in 2016. Superstar Mare Quevega dominated the race for six years running between 2009-2014, but arguably the biggest claim to fame for the Mares Hurdle was when Annie Power fell at the last in 2015, costing punters millions. However you feel about there being a Championship race for female horses at the Cheltenham Festival, it clearly has thrown up some fantastic horses.
Ante-Post Preview #2 – 22/01/2019
3m Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Final (Grade 3) – Thursday 14th March 2019
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final is the concluding race in a series of Pertemps Qualifiers ran at various tracks from October through February. This ultra-competitive Handicap is run over three-miles and requires a horse to have finished in the first six of a qualifying race. Ran on Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival, this Grade 3 has been won by some brilliant horses – including Presenting Percy and Delta Work in recent years. The Pertemps Final is a unique race in that although horses need to qualify to run, they don’t necessarily want to win a qualifier as it could jeopardise their Handicap mark. Equally, you need to have a mark which is high enough to get into the race as a maximum field is all but guaranteed.
Ante-Post Preview #1 – 17/01/2019
3m Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) – Friday 15th March 2019
The Albert Bartlett is the last of three Championship Novice Hurdles, run over a full three miles on Day Four of the Cheltenham Festival. This unique race is a gruelling test for any young horse, with favourites notoriously faring poorly – recording just three wins since the race began in 2005. In order to find a winner in this race you need a gutsy horse who stays well –which are exactly the type of qualities which previous winners such as Unowhatimeanharry possessed. With there being less than 8 weeks until the Festival gets underway, we are in a strange position where there won’t be a lot of time for young horses to come out of the woodwork and stake their claims for this Grade 1 contest, so there seems to be a lot of value in some all but confirmed runners – especially as there are a lot of horses at the top of the betting with other targets.