Cheltenham tips: These 9 could chime for the experts at the Festival

The Timeform big wigs are in the house.

Cheltenham Festival - Gold Cup Day



Dan Barber: Jumps Editor, Timeform

Envoi Allen looks to have the world at his feet and Appreciate It couldn’t have been much better in the bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival. But the ‘banker’ of the meeting can reward those after something at longer odds than that pair – in the race some say they won’t even watch. Easysland looked a potential star in the cross-country division on his first visit to these shores when running away with matters at the December meeting, extending his unbeaten record when completing in such company.

He can thwart Tiger Roll in his bid for yet another Festival success.


Phil Turner: Senior Horse Racing Analyst

I’m a huge fan of Envoi Allen, but my idea of the best bet at the meeting is a horse trading at double his odds in a race which is also likely to have significantly fewer (and more exposed!) runners than the Ballymore. Min is available at 3/1 for the Ryanair Chase but should be clear favourite on form.

No horse has posted more timefigures in excess of 160 in recent seasons (his Melling Chase win was the highest such rating clocked in the whole of 2018/19), while his Cheltenham record is far better than some people give him credit for. His second places in the 2016 Supreme and 2018 Queen Mother Champion Chase were performances right out of the top drawer.


Martin Rigg: Senior Horse Racing Analyst

With Benie des Dieux likely to sidestep the Stayers’ Hurdle, the path looks clear for Paisley Park to become the first back-to-back winner of the race since Big Buck’s. Unbeaten in seven races since his novice campaign, he impressed in seeing off Summerville Boy in the Cleeve Hurdle last time, despite the race not enabling him to show his abundant stamina to the full.

Few of his likely rivals have recent form within 10 lb of Paisley Park’s best and it’s really difficult to imagine a scenario in which he could be beaten.


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Dan Barber:

Plenty of water has passed under the bridge since Mister Fisher failed to meet expectations on the Tuesday of the Festival last season, and he can be the main beneficiary of what seems sure to be a strongly-run renewal of the Arkle.

He’s taken well to fences, has already proved himself on the Cheltenham chase track, and promises to receive the sort of patient ride that can see him capitalising on the likely late slowing of the prominent-racers.

Phil Tuner:

This year’s Champion Hurdle looks a substandard renewal and, given that backdrop, a rock-solid Grade 1 performer such as Supasundae looks overpriced at double-figures. His record in Grade 1 events over the minimum trip in recent seasons is two wins and three second places from six starts.

That one unplaced effort was his recent comeback fourth at Leopardstown and, given he usually comes on a bundle for his reappearance, I’d be very surprised to see Supasundae finish out of the money on Tuesday.

Martin Rigg:

Silver Streak was placed in good company on all three starts at Cheltenham last season – including when third in the Champion Hurdle – and it would be no surprise to see the likeable grey finish in the money again in a renewal which apparently lacks any stars.

He was beaten five lengths into second by Epatante in the Chrismas Hurdle last time, but he has that knack of hanging in there and battling on (something which can’t be said of all those ahead of him in the ratings).

Cheltenham Paddy Power

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One for a handicap

Dan Barber:

The competitiveness of the Festival’s sole novice handicap chase that is the penultimate race on Tuesday card at 16.50 ought not lend itself to the sort of demolition job A Plus Tard handed out to his field last season.

Spotting something similar is no easy task but Hold The Note certainly appeals as potentially well treated from an opening mark of 145, having powered through a searching renewal of Warwick’s Hampton Novices’ Chase before finding doughty Two For Gold too stamina-laden. Dropping back in trip can prove the making of him for connections who sent out Mister Whitaker to land the 2018 edition.

Phil Turner:

The Grand Annual Chase on Friday may be named after Nicky Henderson’s father, but it is his rival Paul Nicholls who has enjoyed far more success targeting horses at the race of late, winning it four times in total, including twice in the past four years.

He looks to hold another very strong hand this time around thanks to the novice Greaneteen, who has made such an exciting start to his chasing career (unbeaten in three starts) that he wouldn’t look out of place if taking up an alternative engagement in the Arkle. It appears that the handicap route is the plan, though, and odds of 6/1 in Paddy Power’s non runner no bet market appeals.

Martin Rigg:

Cosy Huntingdon scorer Phoenix Way and last year’s winner Sire du Berlais are perhaps more likely contenders to carry the first colours of J.P. McManus in the Pertemps Final, but the same owner’s A Great View is one I’ve always had in mind for this race.

A bad mistake two out was all that prevented him from finishing closer than sixth in the 2018 renewal, and he duly landed a similarly competitive race on his next start. He has caught the eye on every outing since – most recently when third at Punchestown last time – and a career-high mark of 142 shouldn’t prevent him from making a bold bid.

*Prices and entries are correct at time of publishing but can change and are part of Paddy Power’s non runner money back pre-Cheltenham offer. 

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What do you think?