Frank Hickey: My Lucky 15 to get you through Cheltenham 2018

Our extraordinary trader Mr Hickey has given us four who he has taken a shine to heading into the Festival of festivals next week....



Tuesday – Supreme Novices Hurdle

Getabird has been all the rage for the Supreme Novices Hurdle and he was stylish victor of the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle back in January, when beating Mengli Khan.

However, I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of Mengli Khan and therefore I reckon Getabird’s form mightn’t be as good as people may think. If the ground turns up soft, then it will definitely be an advantage to Getabird.

However, he wasn’t that much clear of Mengli Khan. When you remember that Douvan was a 7/4 shot and Vautour was a 7/2 gamble for the Supreme in the past, the 11/8 on Getabird looks pretty skinny and I’m more than willing to take him on.

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Kalashnikov is very highly regarded for Amy Murphy and he won a bumper impressively, before winning his first two hurdle races well. He was beaten in the Tolworth Novices´ Hurdle at Sandown where the ground was very heavy, which he would of detested. It’s testament to how brave the horse is that he came back to win the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last month on soft ground.

He’s 5/1 for this and if you are on the cautious side you can back him each-way. I can’t see him not being in the top three and if Getabird has any weakness at all, I believe Kalashnikov is the one to take advantage.

Wednesday – Cross Country Chase

I’ve been very keen on Tiger Roll (5/1) for a few months now heading into the Cross Country Chase.

When you look at his profile, you’d suggest he didn’t take too well to the banks course the first time out in December. He travelled well for a long way and just seemed to tire late out. He has almost the exact same profile as Cause of Causes had last year.

He’s a past festival winner, having claimed the Triumph Hurdle back in 2014 and the four-miler last year.

While Cause of Causes will be a tough nut to crack, I reckon Tiger Roll has a big chance at taking them on in this one. He’ll be difficult to beat.

Wednesday – Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

On first viewing Oxford Blu wouldn’t look like a type to win the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle because there’s far more sexier options in the race, such as Act Of Valour and Mitchouka.

However, Oxford Blu was a tough, staying handicapper on the flat. He was only rated 68, which would have been well below the favourites here. But, he was a very impressive winner on his hurdles debut and he had excuses for being beaten on his next two runs.

He’s very well handicapped here for me, he’ll love a really strong pace and will embrace a stiff finish, that’s where Oxford Blu will be at his best. Good ground will be a bonus for him also.

His trainer Olly Murphy is having a tremendous season, with an unbelievable tally of over 50 winners in his first season and I wouldn’t be surprised if Oxford Blu gave him his first Cheltenham winner either.

He’s a very big price at 20/1, he’ll more than likely have Richard Johnson on board and looks all out a decent each-way chance so I’m on him.

Friday – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

Regularly the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle market is headed by a horse that’s undefeated after three or four runs, however they regularly then get beaten at Cheltenham by horse with far more experience.

That’s because the Albert Bartlett field tends to go at a really strong pace in the early stage and that pace usually collapses given the stiff three miles at Cheltenham. You’d want to be going with something a bit more streetwise and Talkischeap falls exactly into that category.

He’s had 11 outings – when you include his three point-to-points – and in his four runs over three miles, he’s won them all. He came to my attention in his outing at Newbury when running over three miles on soft ground, which wouldn’t be his preference.

He settled beautifully and travelled powerfully to win very comprehensively. He’s gone up to a mark of 142 off the back of that, which suggests to me he needs to improve another eight pounds to be winning this. However, the way he settles and travels, he’s one you can bury out the back of the field and let him produce it late.

He’s 20/1 at the moment, I’ve got involved with that and I wouldn’t put anyone off having a few quid on him each-way.

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* All odds correct at time of posting. 

What do you think?