Cheltenham: All The Big Stories and Betting Info Ahead of 2020 Festival
Another Cheltenham Festival is rolling around in a few weeks, and, as ever, the anticipation among national hunt racing fans is building to a crescendo ahead of the four-day event (10th-13thMarch).
But which stories are grabbing all the headlines in this year’s build-up? What are the average jumps racing fans talking about? Where is the money going in the ante-post markets? We look at those questions below:
The Big Story
A fascinating three-way battle for the Queen Mother Champion Chase is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. The prestigious two-mile chase sees the mighty Altior (2/1) tackle Defi Du Seuil(2/1) and Chacun Pour Soi (5/2, odds from Bet 365). It’s a tough, tough call to make between the three, and it’s setting things up nicely for an enthralling race. Of course, much of it willfocus on Altior in his bid for a historic hat-trick of Champion Chase wins(his fifth Cheltenham title overall). But this could also be the end of his reign. Unmissable viewing.
The Gold Cup
As the festival’s most prestigious race,the Gold Cup is always going to draw a lot of attention. This year is no different, and it’s made more exciting as there are at least half a dozen runners who could easily win the race. You can see the latest Cheltenham2020 betting offers & betting odds for the Gold Cup now on theFreebets.com site, but one expects last year’s winner, Al Boum Photo, to go off as the favourite. He’s 4/1 at the moment with the majority of bookmakers, but the likes of Santini (4/1) and Delta Work(6/1, Betfair) will join a host of runners in with a shot. A puzzle, but an intriguing one.
A New Generation
While the nature of jumps racing means horse have more longevity at the top of the sport, festivals like Cheltenham also give us the chance to see new stars come to the fore. The likes of Champion Hurdle favourite Epatante, Arklechance Notebook and Envoi Allen (5/4 favourite for Ballymore Novices’Hurdle) all should have sparkling careers ahead of them. But this will also be the first festival in over 20 years without legendary jockey Ruby Walsh. The torch is passing to a new generation of jockeys, many of whom were inspired by the fearless Walsh.
Goodbye To The Machine?
Sometimes, perhaps for reasons unknown, a horse comes about with a magnetic personality that makes fans, jockeys,trainers and, of course, punters fall in love with them. Faugheen is one such horse; a hero not only his native Ireland but among the British too. “The Machine” looks set to tackle the Marsh Novices’ Chase, where he is priced at 8/1 with Betfair. Allaho(4/1) and Itchy Feet (11/2) are the young upstarts hoping spoil Faugheen’s party, but the old horse still knows a few tricks. This could be one of the special Cheltenham moments.
And One Last Thing….
Cheltenham doesn’t play second fiddle to any racing event, but Tiger Roll’s participation this year will perhaps be described as a preparatory race for something a lot bigger – the Grand National. Gordon Elliott’s two-time Grand National winner has history in his hands as he attempts to hunt down Red Rums three National wins, something that was previously thought of as unachievable. Can he do it? We will get a good look at his readiness during the Cross Country Chase. He will, as you might expect,start as the heavy favourite. His performance will have a big bearing on the markets for a historic Grand National in April.