2016 Cheltenham Festival ante-post lucky 15 betting tips across the four Championship races for the four days of the Festival.
Everyone loves a multiple bet, the chance to win big money from a relatively small outlay has had Saturday punters going back week in week out with the dream of hitting the jackpot. There is no bigger meeting to live the dream than the Cheltenham Festival so let’s take a look at an each-way Lucky 15 tip for the big four Championship races with smaller and bigger priced suggestions depending on how brave you feel!
Cheltenham Festival 2016 Lucky 15 Tips
The news that Faugheen and Arctic Fire have ripped up our Cheltenham day 1 tips for the Champion Hurdle so we’re on the hunt for some each-way value in the race instead. Annie Power is now the favourite in the Champion Hurdle betting but t’s still not certain she will run.
Nichols Canyon, who has a decision over Faugheen this season already and Identity Thief are two of the main Irish contenders. They met over Christmas in Leopardstown with Nichols coming out the victor by a couple of lengths. There is nothing to suggest that that form should be reversed although the former was a little flat when he was 3rd in the Neptune last season and it could be that a flatter track suits him better.
The New One was arguably an unlucky loser in this race in 2014 but he has not looked the same horse since, regularly struggling to see off lesser lights and while a lot of judges feel a step back up in trip might unlock more improvement, connections seem happy to keep him to the minimum trip.
My Tent or Yours has twice been placed on the opening day of the Festival and will be looking for a third. His racecourse gallop at Kempton told us little more than he still has a leg in each corner and we should learn more from his reappearance run at Wincanton. A decent run there just 24 days prior to the Champion Hurdle itself brings the bounce factor into play which has to go down as a sizeable negative.
Nicky Henderson also has Peace And Co who has disappointed on both runs this season. He pretty much bolted on his seasonal return but was much more tractable at Sandown where he ran better than the finishing position suggests. The conditions were desperate that day and connections were happy with his effort. He had had a breathing op since and a different horse could very easily turn up in March back where he won the Triumph Hurdle last season.
Champion Hurdle each-way Tip – Peace and Co 20/1 at Ladbrokes.
This has a similar look to the Champion Hurdle with a Willie Mullins trained hotpot but two places very much open for grabs behind him. Sprinter Sacre, whilst not at his absolute peak this season has returned to somewhere about a stone short of his brilliant best, but that should still be enough to see him in the frame. He beat Sire De Grugy over Christmas, digging deep off the bridle to show us that he can battle and he looks a solid shout for the runner up spot.
Sire De Grugy has won this race before but one can't help but think that the quality of the field he beat was lacking compared to what he will be facing this March. Both Un De Sceaux and Sprinter Sacre have seen him off this season and unless the ground were to come up very heavy it is likely that third place is the best he will be playing for.
Special Tiara was 2nd to Sire De Grugy in the Tingle Creek when hampered at the last but Gary Moore's charge was going away again in the shadow of the post and therein has always lain this horses weakness, an inability to see races out under pressure, especially on uphill finishes. He has been placed in a weaker renewal of this race but I think that the yard has a dark horse flying under the radar.
Sizing Granite announced himself at the top table at the Grand National Festival last season when winning the Maghull Novices. He has been turned over on both starts this season but the Henry De Bromhead yard didn't have most of their charges ready first time up this season and he can easily be forgiven the defeat on heavy ground last time. He goes well fresh, connections know how to win this race and his win last Spring is more than convincing enough to think he is overpriced as a potential improver for this Cheltenham lucky 15 tip.
Dodging Bullets won the race last year but was not seen out again until Newbury at the weekend. The bookies couldn't give him away in the market and he ran a long way below the level where he was performing last year. Even if back to that form at the Cheltenham Festival day 2 though he may only be scrapping it out for 3rd place and makes little appeal.
Conclusion – It looks a one horse market and given so many who are here looking to relive their glory days it's not hard to see why. Sprinter Sacre should fill the runner up spot on what he has done this season and Sizing Granite may well outrun his price for third!
Champion Chase each-way Tip – Sizing Granite 33/1 at Ladbrokes.
Thistlecrack has become the new star on the scene this year and it is hard to pick holes in his form. The staying division over hurdles doesn't look particularly strong at present and he is a short price favourite to win this before going over fences next season with the Gold Cup already scouted as the long term aim.
Cole Harden won the race last year and it seems likely that this is the only race in the calendar that connections are interested in this time around. He has been comprehensively beaten on both starts this season but the ground would have been against him on both occasions and he served fair warning last year what he can do given a better surface in March.
Annie Power would have a place chance if this ends up being her target but trying to second guess what Willie Mullins is going to do with his horses is enough to send anyone’s head into a spin. She was beaten in this race two years ago by More of That, strong form to bring to the table if she arrives here on day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival 2016 rather than the Mares Hurdle that looks a much simpler target on the Tuesday.
There are a couple that appeal at bigger prices, Saphir Du Rheu is very much the forgotten horse of the race having been put in his place by Thistlecrack at Ascot before Christmas. He has had a breathing operation since and on his runner up effort in this race 12 months ago, he was 20/1 which is frankly an insulting price for a horse of his natural ability but he’s now top price 12/1.
Kilcooley probably needs the rain to continue to fall but he improved in leaps and bounds last year and showed no signs of that stopping when running riot in the West Yorkshire Hurdle on his return. An official rating of 164 puts him just 4lbs behind the benchmark set by Thistlecrack so if getting sufficient cut in the ground could be a big player.
Conclusion – At this stage Cole Harden looks the most likely to trouble Thistlecrack back on a sounder surface with Saphir Du Rheu an each-way shout for those looking for a bigger price. Keep an eye out for the weather though as more rain would bring Kilcooley right into the picture.
World Hurdle each-way Tip – Saphir Du Rheu 12/1 at Betfair.
The feature of the week and the one that all connections want to win! This is as open and deep a field as I can remember and despite lacking last year's champion, Coneygree, it is still shaping up to be one for the ages.
There are plenty at the head of the market with questions to answer, Don Cossack is a better horse going right handed and could conceivably wear headgear for the first time in the biggest race of the season. Vautour and Cue Card both have a big question mark hanging over their heads when it comes to stamina although both are very much in love with Prestbury Park this time of year and past course form can often be a telling factor.
When it comes to course form then we look no further than Don Poli who boasts a 2/2 record at this venue. He followed up a win in the Martin Pipe conditionals hurdle with a demolition job in last year's RSA chase when he looked every inch a Gold Cup winner of the future. He does nothing but gallop and while he isn't flashy, he is the perfect all round chaser and strikes me as the ideal type to be landing this prestigious prize.
Djakadam was favourite for the race before tipping up at trials day at the end of January. He was an excellent second in the contest last year and certainly should not be taken lightly a year older and stronger but a fall is not an ideal preparation and he will have to have learnt from that mistake to get his head in front here although that is entirely possible.
It's difficult to find any that make much appeal at bigger odds but there are often surprises in the placings in this race. Valseur Lido was well beaten off when falling in the King George but would have won the Irish Gold Cup but for unseating at the last. The natural ability is there but coming into the race off a pair of incompletions is a tough ask.
Conclusion – Don Poli is the play here for the Lucky 15.
Gold Cup each-way Tip – Don Poli – 6/1 with bet365.
The best odds for this lucky 15 tip for Cheltenham Festival come from Ladbrokes. The 4-fold accumulator pays an eye watering 43,196/1 so the lucky 15 odds will be very generous for the each-way bet. Open a Ladbrokes account below and place your first bet costing up to £50, win or lose you’ll get a totally free bet to the same value.