13
Feb

Cheltenham Festival 2018 – Hotpots – Should you be a backer or a layer?

With only four weeks until the famous roar signals the start of the festival, its a good time to take a look through the markets and pick out a few contenders at the front of the betting who are over-priced and worthy of a wager, or overrated in the market and worth taking on..

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We'll have tips for every race. Last year's winners included 16/1 shot, Willoughby Court.

Footpad - Arkle (11/10)
At first glance the price may look short but when delving a little deeper i would suggest he should be no bigger than 4/5 at this stage. He has been very impressive in all wins over fences and its difficult to see which of the entered rivals can beat him. He readily brushed aside Petit Mouchoir last weekend and although he's sure to improve for the run its hard to see him reversing the form at Cheltenham.

Sceau Royal in the same ownership as the Fav has done well so far over fences but the form falls below what's required and although he has won at Cheltenham, the suspicion is he's better on a flatter track. He was beaten at Cheltenham by North Hill Harvey in October and that form although respectable, wouldn't be good enough to beat Footpad.

Verdict = BACK

Un De Sceaux - Ryanair (7/2)
Un De Sceaux won a weak renewal last year at the festival and although he has a phenomenal record on paper, I believe this is just as much down to trainers placement as it is the horses ability. Although he is clearly very good i believe the price is far to short in what is already shaping up to be a stronger more competitive renewal.

Although he handles all ground his best performances have come on soft ground which at this stage is still in the lap of the gods.

Verdict = LAY

Apples Shakira - Triumph (3/1)
As things stand 6 weeks out from the start of the festival, she rates the worst value of all the favorites in the antepost markets. This price has been built on reputation and the fact she is related to Apple's Jade rather than achievements on the track. All wins at Cheltenham this year have been in very soft ground in small fields against significantly inferior opposition.

I have also spoken to someone very close to the Henderson yard and they believe that 'We Have A Dream' (8/1) is the better of the two which for me backs up the fact that the price is far to short.

Verdict = LAY

Might Bite - Gold Cup (7/2)
The more i look at the Gold Cup market the more i'm coming round to the fact that Might Bite is by far the most likely winner and probably value at 7/2. At first glance it looks a wide open market but as you delve more deeply into the form it becomes apparent that he is the standout horse. The races in Ireland this year have thrown up more questions than answers and perhaps they don't have a standout contender.

Might Bite was value for more than winning distance in King George and he would have beaten Whisper by half of Prestbury Park last year in RSA without his antics. These appear to have been ironed out as the horse matures and i think its his Gold Cup to lose.

Verdict = BACK

LW