Cheltenham Festival 2023 tips

Thursday 16th:

  • 1pt win Appreciate It 7/2, 13:30 Cheltenham, Thursday
  • 1pt win Teahupoo 4/1, 15:30 Cheltenham, Thursday
  • 1pt win Halka Du Tabert @14/1, 16:50 Cheltenham, Thursday (adv. antepost)
  • 1pt win Foxy Girl @12/1, 16:50 Cheltenham, Thursday

Antepost diary:

30th Jan

1pt win Inthepocket @14/1, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, 14th March (NRNB with Sky Bet)

Facile Vega is surely Supreme bound unless something beats him at next weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival, and the reverse could be said for many of his opponents who might favour the more open looking Ballymore should they get put in their places on Sunday. The horse I’m most excited about seeing lock horns with him is INTHEPOCKET, who jumped slick and quick when beating Three Card Brag at Naas. That looked a deep race before and the speed horse won it, so it makes perfect sense for connections to try 2m again to see if he’s up to this grade. Fortunately we have non runner no bet markets and I fancy the 14/1 Sky Bet are laying for Inthepocket to win the Supreme – although if you want to roll the dice he’s upwards of 50/1 on the Exchange. I’d like to think this is more than a shot to nothing as I really like this horse and he could have any amount of improvement in him. He does all the fundamentals really well as he jumps, travels, stays, handles bad ground and remains completely unexposed on anything faster than soft. If he beats Facile Vega next week he will line up in the Supreme. If he doesn’t, we should get our stake back which is why I prefer this angle to backing him to win on Sunday.

11th Jan

1pt win Halka Du Tabert 14/1, Mares’ Novice Hurdle, 16th March

HALKA DU TABERT and antepost favourite Luccia have both won a maiden apiece yet the former trades a fraction of the price for the Mares’ Novice Hurdle. That doesn’t make sense to me as the only concern with the former is the 2m1f trip – she looks a strong stayer as a point winner. Cheltenham’s new course favours front runners and if Halka Du Tabert tries to make the race a proper test from the front – as she did in her maiden – she will be really difficult to pass. She ticks a lot of boxes and 14/1 is value. Also worth mentioning is there is a small but significant chance Luccia could take on the geldings in the Supreme, which would blow this particular race wide open.

1pt win Theatre Glory 16/1, Coral Cup (NRNB with William Hill), 15th March

THEATRE GLORY might just be a handicap plot for the Coral Cup, where she can be backed non runner no bet at 16/1 with Hills. I was on her at Kempton on Boxing Day where she drifted from 5/1 all the way out to 14/1 on the exchange – clearly someone knew she wasn’t winning. All the more curious was the ride from Nico de Boinville, who took her wide in the straight away from the first two home and barely asked her for pressure when the race heated up. It didn’t look like they wanted to win the race and she’s been left alone by the handicapper on a mark of 137, which coincidentally would be bottom weight in the Coral Cup in four of the last five seasons. With no entry for this weekend’s Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton and no obvious big pots to go for between now and the Festival, she’s a highly likely runner. Theatre Glory has won round Cheltenham on spring ground – a massive tick – and carries a fair reputation herself. Jerry McGrath, closely associated with the Henderson yard, put her up for the Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle a few months ago and the thought is she could be plenty better than a handicapper. You’d usually want a horse who realistically could be 10lb well in for a Cheltenham Festival handicap and, if she were to be competitive in the Mares’ Hurdle, I’d say a mark of 147 is achievable. She wasn’t included in the Mares’ Hurdle entries today, presumably as Henderson has a nap hand in the race – he trains the antepost first and second favourites.

17th December

1pt win Absolute Notions 25/1, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, 17th March

Entered this weekend in a Grade 2 at Navan over 2m4f, ABSOLUTE NOTIONS, an unbeaten son of Milan, looks an ideal Albert Bartlett type as he was all stamina on his hurdles debut and already proven on spring ground having bolted up in a bumper in May, which prompted Robcour to part with €370k. He jumped well and showed plenty of battle when briefly headed at Navan and doesn’t look like the type to throw the towel in, in what’s often the most gruelling race at the Cheltenham Festival. He’s trained by Gordon Elliott – tick – who has already been quoted as saying he’ll be going up in trip – tick. With the likes of Sandor Clegane and Hiddenvalley Lake significant market movers in recent days, I don’t see why Absolute Notions should be twice their price.