Cheltenham Festival 2016

The form is in the book, the cards are finalised (nearly), spring has turned up (late), and it’s one more sleep ’til the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

We’ll be there all four days and promise all of our tips for the day before noon, and if you haven’t followed our ante-post selections then find them below.

1pt win Tombstone @20/1, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Tuesday
0.5pt each-way Camping Ground @25/1, Champion Hurdle, Tuesday
1pt win Black Hercules @25/1, RSA Chase, Wednesday
1pt win Martello Tower @25/1, World Hurdle, Thursday
1pt win Thomas Hobson @16/1, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, Friday
0.5pt win West Approach @100/1, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, Friday
1pt win Sceau Royal @16/1, Triumph Hurdle, Friday
0.5pt win Jer’s Girl @50/1 NRNB, Triumph Hurdle, Friday
1pt win Vautour @10/1, Cheltenham Gold Cup, Friday

Christmas comes late for racing fans and this year’s Festival has all the makings of a classic.

Willie Mullins looks set to dominate again, with many rock-solid favourites across the four days.

The first of which is Min, who looks to continue the theme of Mullins-Walsh-Ricci pink-silked dominance in the curtain-raising Supreme Novices’.

The same connections have last year’s winner Douvan, likely to go off the shortest price of the week, in the following race, the Arkle.

In the mighty Faugheen’s absence, the Champion Hurdle looks wide open and his star mare Annie Power takes on a new generation of two-mile hurdlers – without the Old Guard, who was scratched today as ‘sore’.

The actual old guard is represented by The New One and the long-absent My Tent Or Yours, who looks to pull off a miracle after the best part of two years off the track.

Wednesday sees the home team’s star novice Yanworth tackle the Neptune, and, under the same ownership, 2014 World Hurdler More Of That duals with the Gigginstown juggernaut’s No More Heroes – one of many chances for Ireland’s Gordon Elliott.

Normal service may resume for Mullins with last year’s Arkle hero Un De Sceaux taking on one of Cheltenham’s darlings in the shape of Sprinter Sacre – there would be no more popular winner.

Or perhaps there would be, if the returning Balthazar King wins in the following Cross Country Chase – no horse has won more races at Cheltenham.

Thistlecrack is the star attraction on Thursday’s card, as he looks to complete the first half of a championship double for his likeable trainer, Colin Tizzard.

And Friday kicks off with a mess of a market in the Triumph Hurdle before the unbeaten Barters Hill faces his toughest test yet in the Albert Bartlett.

And then it’s all about the Gold Cup, in what might be the highest-class renewal since, in breaking the track record, Long Run showed Imperial Commander, Denman and Kauto Star a clean set of heels in 2011.

Mullins attempts to cure himself of seconditis after a run of near misses, and last year’s second Djakadam is back for more.

Though it’s the new generation who dominate the market, with his dual-Festival-winning stablemates Vautour and Don Poli seeking their hat-tricks.

Don Cossack, the highest rated chaser in training, shades favouritism and attempts to put right his fall in Cue Card’s King George.

Cue Card seeks the final leg the £1m Triple Crown bonus, and leads the home team alongside Hennessy winner Smad Place, the likeable grey.

Good luck with your bets, check back here daily for all our thoughts and selections, drink lots of Guinness and enjoy your week.


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