Cheltenham tips: A fun Lucky 31 as Paddy goes non-runner money back for the Festival

Let's hope we knock it out of the ballpark!

Mick Fitzgerald_991x624


Paddy Power has gone non-runner money back on ALL races at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival so I’m going to try and hit the jackpot with 5 selections safe in the knowledge that our stakes will be refunded if they fail to run or swap to other Festival targets.


Champagne Classic @ 4/1, National Hunt Chase

Gordon Elliott’s runner is already a Cheltenham Festival winner as that’s something that I really look for when making my selections. A winner of the 2m 4f Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle in 2017 – before following up over 3m at Punchestown in the Grade One Novice Hurdle – he missed 2018 through injury.

Since switching to fences in Jan 2019, he’s never been out of the first three at trips from 2m 5f to 3m and shapes like the extra 6f of the National Hunt Chase will be right up his street.


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A Plus Tard @ 5/2, Ryanair Chase

Henry de Bromhead’s runner is my nap of the meeting and no multiple bet would be complete without him.

A winner of the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase over 2m 4f at the Festival last season – he beat Chacun Pour Soi at Christmas in the Grade 1 Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase. That form looks really good now as that one accounted for Min at the recent Dublin Racing Festival.

Appreciate It @ 7/4, Champion Bumper

Willie Mullins has an unrivalled record in this race and Appreciate It won the bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival that last year’s winner Envoi Allen won – and Relegate in 2018 – before they triumphed at Cheltenham. It looks a good omen for a three-peat.

Appreciate It wins at Leopardstown

Paisley Park @ 4/6, Stayers’ Hurdle 

Last season’s Champion stayer is going to be the anchor leg for a lot of people again this year and there is every reason to believe he’s as good as ever on the evidence we’ve seen.

The only concern is the possibility that the Willie Mullins’ trained mare Bennie Des  Dieux turns up in Thursday’s feature instead of the mares’ hurdle on the opening day.

She would be a real threat.

Cheltenham Paddy Power

Rouge Vif @ 16/1, Arkle Chase

People may think I’m mad but the 2m Arkle Chase on the opening day of the Festival is wide open this year. There’s question marks about quite a few of the runners and this price could look massive on the day. He was a 140-rated hurdler who has been placed at Grade One level when third at Aintree to Felix Desjy (recent Grade 1 Chase winner Itchy Feet was fourth).

I have been impressed with his jumping this season and am willing to take a chance that he can out-run his price in a wide-open contest.

*Prices for these races are correct at time of posting 

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What do you think?