Cheltenham tips: Mick Fitzgerald’s 5 to thrive at the Festival

It's starting to take shape now with just 5 weeks to go to the mid-March fiesta.

Mick Fitzgerald

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change. All Cheltenham races are non-runner money back with Paddy Power

We’ve just five weeks to go to the Cheltenham Festival and with Paddy Power going non runner money back on ALL races, let’s try to get ahead of the game.

Tuesday, March 16, Mares Hurdle – Roksana

The mares race on the first day has been blown wide open with the news that Honeysuckle is now going to go for the Champion Hurdle. She won this race already in 2019 albeit a little luckily as Benie Des Dieux fell at the last.

There is no doubt she is a much better filly now. Dan Skelton has said that she will run in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle unless the Mares Hurdle cuts up. It looks to me like that will happen and Willie Mullins has said that Benie Des Dieux will likely go for the new Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase.

If Honeysuckle runs in the Champion Hurdle as intended, ROKSANA will look very good value at her current price. Even if she ends up in the Stayers Hurdle, we get out stake back in this so no harm done.

3/1
Roksana Mares Hurdle - Non Runner Money Back

Wednesday, March 17 – Bob Olinger

The Ballymore Novices Hurdle has been a bit of an Irish ‘banker’ race for some time and Irish-trained horses have won seven of the last 10 renewals and again have a strong hand again this year.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead and owners Robcur have a strong candidate, with the Grade One, Lawlors of Naas winner BOB OLINGER. He looks the real deal and Rachael Blackmore who has been dazzling us with her riding performances this season was very sweet on his chance when we chatted to her on ITV.

The race looks very open this year with Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame looking the best of the UK trained runners on what we have seen.

7/2
Bob Olinger Ballymore Novices Hurdle - Non Runner Money Back

Wednesday, March 17 – Monkfish

You need a banker in your multi’s and Willie Mullins recent Dublin Racing Festival winner blew me away with his performance on Sunday. So much so that if he was running in the Cheltenham Gold Cup this season, I’d fancy him to win it.

MONKFISH is as exciting a horse as I have seen for a while. I stood into him last season when interviewing  winning jockey Paul Townend after they won the Albert Bartlett Hurdle.

He is a monster and the sky’s the limit.

8/11
Monkfish Brown Advisory Novices' Chase - Non Runner Money Back

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Friday, March 19, Triumph Hurdle – Zanahyir

I’ve been a fan of Gordon Elliott’s runner since I saw him destroy his rivals at the Fairyhouse Winter Festival’s Royal Bond meeting late last year. Saint Sam who finished second to him that day was runner-up to QUILIXIOS at Leopardstown on Sunday in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle.

He looks another banker to me in the race that gets the final day underway.

5/2
Zanahiyr Triumph Hurdle - Non Runner Money Back

Friday, March 19, Albert Bartlett – Duffle Coat

A little out of left field but I watched the replay Gordon Elliott’s unbeaten four-year-old win at Cheltenham recently. He stayed on really well to beat Adagio who is also high up in the betting for the Triumph Hurdle, behind the two Elliott runners. DUFFLE COAT gets a 9lb allowance from the older horses and is versatile as regards ground conditions.

He can be ridden ‘cold’ at the back of the pack, which can suit in this contest race as it can be a bit of a war up front among inexperienced horses who take each other on.  He’s a fair price for this contest that precedes the Cheltenham Gold Cup considering some of the others that have finished behind him. Looks a value play to me.

14/1
Duffle Coat Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle - Non Runner Money Back

Cheltenham Festival 2021

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What do you think?