Cheltenham tips: Paul Jacobs’ 5 non runner money back picks include a 33/1 shot

Out top tipster reckons Grand Soir can get the Festival off to a flyer by out-running his odds in Paddy's non runner money back market.

Paul Jacobs Byline for Jumps Racing


Paul Jacobs’ Cheltenham 2024 Non-Runner Money Back Tips

National Hunt Chase – Grand Soir (each-way)
Arkle Novices Chase – Quilixios
Close Brothers Mares Hurdle – Echoes in Rain (each-way)
Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle – Predators Gold
Albert Bartlett Mile – Lord of Thunder
*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.

It can be a real bind trying to get an ante-post selection to post for any of the Cheltenham Festival races, so Paddy Power offering non-runner, money back  on these magnificent four days is a huge boon, especially as certain markets have yet to fully mature. In essence, in plenty of cases, it amounts to a ‘free hit’ for us punters.

National Hunt Chase – Tuesday – GRAND SOIR (each-way)

In the unlikely hope that Embassy Gardens is re-routed to the Brown Advisory (to my mind, it would be the better race for him, but Willie Mullins has other options there), I think this year’s novice stamina test looks up for grabs. GRAND SOIR finished some 19 lengths third to the current ante-post favourite Embassy Gardens on his chasing debut, jumping markedly to the left, on occasions, hardly advisable at Punchestown. But I loved how his motor kept him in touch, and he was still galloping all the way down the stretch. Going left-handed will be a help, as will the extra yardage, and it is worth noting that this is his only entry for the festival.

If ‘Embassy’ does run here, I will be onside with the son of Shantou as a win only project, he could prove head and shoulders above this lot. Even if the eight-year-old does line up, there will be at least two other places up for grabs and the 33/1 on offer has tempted me into an each-way play.

Arkle Novices Chase – Tuesday – QUILIXIOS

Many of you will have Marine Nationale as a concrete selection in your multiples for the Festival. He is by far the most likely winner of this event granted anything like a clear round as he simply is the classiest chaser on show. However, betting odds-on for a novice chase or even a shade of odds against offers no value whatsoever at this level and is fraught with danger.

Envoi Allen is the ultimate example of how pottering around in small fields, gathering a lovely set of form figures in novice chases can be blasted asunder by jumping at championship pace on spring ground at a track with a unique undulating set-up where one poor leap can end the dream. The odds-on favourite will arrive at the track with at most two races over fences under his belt as he’s due to run at the Dublin Racing Festival. To my mind, that’s on the light side.

With those immediately behind him in the betting all much of a muchness, I am happy to row in with Henry De Bromhead’s QUILIXIOS. Winner of the 2021 Triumph Hurdle, like many five-year-olds, he didn’t measure up in open race company over hurdles the following season when he saw the back side of Teahupoo on three consecutive occasions. On either side of being a non-stayer over three miles, he is now 2-2 over fences, and I loved how efficient he was over his obstacles when winning at Naas on January 12th. We will get more of an idea of how competitive he will be when he runs at Leopardstown, but should he take another big step forward there, the 14/1 for the Cheltenham contest will be a thing of the past.

Echoes In Rain Paul Townend Fairyhouse April 4, 2021

Close Brothers Mares Hurdle – Tuesday – ECHOES IN RAIN (each-way)

Lossiemouth has a tremendous record on the New Course at Cheltenham, where Paul Townend can gradually manoeuvre her into the contest down the long home stretch. That doesn’t mean she won’t handle the sharper Old Course either, but she will need to be at her best if the likely entries hold their ground for this two-and-a-half-mile event.

Last year’s renewal was an absolute farce as they went a stop-start pace, and it suited the speed horses up top as they only went full pelt rounding the home turn, and those held up were at a massive disadvantage. Behind the first two home, Echoes in Rain was a tremendous eye-catcher, staying on strongly up the hill to finish a never nearer nine and three-quarter length fourth. Apart from the excuse of a slack pace, her performance can be further upgraded by the fact that she once again raced way too keenly through the opening exchanges. Indeed, that last factor has been her Achilles heel throughout her racing career, both on the Flat and over timber. Granted a more thorough end-to-end gallop, I can easily see her hitting the three here at the very least as stamina comes into play, and that will give it a profit, and if Lossiemouth should run below form, who knows?

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle – Wednesday – PREDATORS GOLD

Willie Mullins has four of the first five in the betting for this intermediate novice hurdle, but two of them are almost certain to bypass this race, and I am still not entirely convinced by Ballyburn as it stands. But Predators Gold is a perfect play for the non-runner, money back offer, as he is entered in all three novice hurdles in March.

His one-paced second to Caldwell Potter at Leopardstown strongly suggested that two miles is on the short side for him, and, at the time of writing, that is backed by Mullins’ thinking with him being at the head of the market for the 2m6f Nathaniel Lacy and Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Festival. With Mullins keen on High-Class Hero for the Albert Bartlett, this race could be his calling. His success in a two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle at Punchestown has since been cemented by the second, and with his fluent jumping a huge asset, I can see this son of Masked Marvel being in the front line throughout this normally well-run race. And the silver lining is that you will get your money back if he switches to the Albert B!

Albert Bartlett Hurdle – Friday – LORD OF THUNDER

Mullins also rules the roost in the longest novice hurdle of the meeting, but I am not yet convinced by High Class Hero, despite him not being suited by a moderate pace last time out, but this is a market with plenty of mileage in it at the moment.

The Closutton maestro has three of the top four in the betting here, and we have already mentioned Predators Gold stepping up in trip, but from left field, the one that looks interesting at a huge price is Joe Tizzard’s charge, Lord of Thunder. You certainly wouldn’t have him on your mind after he was pulled up in the Persian War at Chepstow in October, but the fact that he was allowed to run in such an early season prestigious race was a pointer to how well he is regarded. The field simply didn’t go quickly enough on his next start at Wincanton, but two further visits to the Somerset track resulted in back-to-back wins, both career-best efforts. I was particularly impressed by his win over Tarras Wood on the first of those starts when he travelled so strongly and eased home by nine and a half lengths. Sometimes, we tend to over-concentrate on the Irish contingent for this race, as we did last year, and this son of Getaway could be the surprise package in this year’s entry.

Cheltenham 2024 991x624

Paul Jacobs’ Cheltenham Non-Runner No Bet Tips

National Hunt Chase – Grand Soir (each-way)
Arkle Novices Chase – Quilixios
Close Brothers Mares Hurdle – Echoes in Rain (each-way)
Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle – Predators Gold
Albert Bartlett Mile – Lord of Thunder

*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.