2016 Cheltenham Festival – Banker Watch – At this time of the year, with the Cheltenham Festival just over a week away punters (and even the bookies) will be circling the horses they feel are this year’s Festival Bankers. These will then be placed in doubles, trebles and accas all over the country, and we all know what happened 12 months ago on Day One when the bookies were steady themselves for one of their biggest ever payouts until Annie Power took a tumble in the closing stages to break punters’ hearts. So this year, here at ThatsBettingTips, we take a look at some of the 'so-called' bankers heading into the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.
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So what are the ‘Cheltenham Festival Bankers’ this year?
DOUVAN (Arkle Chase) (4/9): Won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival 12 months ago but is now taking the Novice Chase division by storm. Has won all three of his chase starts by an aggregate of 42 ½ lengths. He’s tasted the hustle-and-bustle of the festival and being a proven winner at the track is another big plus. There is not much else in the race, so really should be making it 4-from-4 over the bigger obstacles and will hopefully set up an intriguing clash with stablemate Un De Sceaux next season.
UN DE SCEAUX (Champion Chase) (8/11): Won the Arkle by 6 lengths last year and is now undefeated in his completed 5 starts over fences. He won the Clarence House Chase at Ascot – beating Sire De Grugy by 5 lengths – last time out and with the past three winners of that race going on to win the Champion Chase then everything points to him being hard to beat. His only blots have been 2 falls from his 7 chase starts, so those against him will cling to his tiny jumping frailties as a reason to take him on.
THISTLECRACK (World Hurdle) (11/10): Has been a different horse since he had a breathing op over the summer. Colin Tizzard’s 8 year-old has won all three starts this season, including the Cleeve & Long Walk Hurdles – both of which are top trials for this race. Many questioned his Cheltenham form after finishing down the field in the here last January, but he put that rumour to bed after powering up the hill in the Cleeve Hurdle to win by 12 lengths. He’s the one to beat and on all known form this season it will take a brave man to take him on with not a lot else in the race.
YANWORTH (Neptune) (6/5): This JP McManus-trained 6 year-old has really caught the eye this term. He won the Neptune Trial at Cheltenham back in January by 7 lengths and with that being just his fourth start over hurdles then there should be more to come. He was also fourth in the bumper at the festival 12 months ago so is another that’s got experience of this big meeting. A horse that’s held in high regard by his connections and the manor of his wins suggest he’s another that the punters will be loving to have onside.
LIMINI (Mares Novice Hurdle) (10/11): Another Mullins, Ricci, Walsh powerhouse horse that will be hoping to be the first winner of the festivals newest race – the Mares’ Novice Hurdle, run on the Thursday. He’s 2-from-2 over hurdles after wins at Punchestown and Fairyhouse, while the rumours are she could be very special indeed. Yes, this will be her first run at Cheltenham, so those looking to take her on will be noting that, but at a recent Festival Preview night her owner, Rich Ricci, put her down as his best bet of the meeting – maybe we should take the hint!
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