Dirty b*stards! Seven horses who will thrive in the Cheltenham mud

Amid all the talk of the soft ground for this year's festival, Paul Jacobs has dug deep into the mud to find the horses who enjoy the heavier going...



At the time of writing, entering the first day of the festival, the going is described as soft and heavy in places. Reportedly, Tuesday will be a drying day, but there is rain forecast for each of the remaining three days so it is very hard to see the word good appearing in the going description all week.

That beggars the question: Which of the entries during the week will relish the hock deep ground?

Here are my super seven to look out for – but will they sink or swim?

Plough through the muck over to PaddyPower.com for the latest betting on the 2018 Cheltenham Festival


Apple’s Jade was the performance of the festival last year in my eyes and has a great chance to defend her Mares Hurdle title, but the place value is with Jer’s Girl (two wins on soft one on heavy). I have her 9lbs behind the champ, but at 14/1 if she is placed (was going well when falling last year) she will glean us a fair profit and if the favourite runs below par who knows.

Jacobs’ tip: Back her each-way at 11/1


Samcro is not only the budding star of Ireland but the banker for most at the festival, but there are each-way alternatives and it is worth remembering the Ballymore is a graveyard for short priced favourites including Denman at 11/10.

The Colin Tizzard-trained Vision Des Flos (won on heavy) is totally unexposed, relishes soft ground and could literally be anything.

Jacobs’ tip – Back him each-way at 14/1

Dounikos (twice a winner on heavy) was simply outpaced in the Flogas at Leopardstown, but that only makes him an even more attractive proposition for the three mile RSA Chase at 2.10, and if his jumping holds up there is every reason to believe he can give favourite Presenting Percy a real run for his money.

Jacobs’ tip – Back him e/w at 8/1 or bigger

Blackbow (winner of his only start on soft) is regarded as right out of the top drawer by Willie Mullins and the recent rain has been an absolute godsend for the son of Stowaway in the Champion Bumper at 5.30. He may not be an each-way price, but I fancy he will shorten dramatically on the day and could go off nearer the 5/2 mark if the vibes I am getting are spot on.

Jacobs’ tip – Back him to win at 5/1 or bigger


Mall Dini (placed on soft/heavy 9 times, winner on heavy 3 times) has already landed a pot at the festival and should have made it two last year, but didn’t get the best of luck in running under Katie Walsh. He has been plying his trade at a much higher level this season and he looks rock solid in the Kim Muir at 5.30 with the deep ground very much in his favour.

Jacobs’ tip – Back him to win at 6 /1


It’s one of the most competitive handicaps of the week but A Hare Breath (winner on soft ground twice) has been laid out for the County Hurdle and all the rain we’ve had is merely a bonus. He has to race off a new mark of 145, but has run well off 147 in the past and he could be one of the gambles of the race and could start in single figures.

Jacobs’ tip – Back him e/w at 14/1 or bigger

The Gold Cup could be a right old mud slinging war of attrition and that will suit Definitly Red (winner on soft or heavy 10 times) down to the ground. He merely outstayed and outbattled his rivals in the Cotswold Chase, but the deeper the ground the better for him and I am flabbergasted with all the rain we have had that he is still a available at double figure odds, he won’t be on the day!!!

Jacobs’ tip – Back him e/w now at 12/1

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