We are just weeks away from the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, which means that horse racing fans are now studying all 28 races to try and find some ante-post value before the meeting in March. If you like to back an outsider or two at the Festival, here are three races which could throw up a surprise result.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Presenting Percy is the 3/1 favourite in the horse racing betting for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, however, those backing the horse must be concerned that the Irish horse has not had a preparation run over fences this season. Patrick Kelly’s runner has had just the one outing and that was over hurdles when he won the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park.
If the Presenting Percy which won the 2018 RSA Chase turns up in the Gold Cup, it’s going to take a huge performance to deny him more Festival success. With many of the other horses at the top of the market such as Native River and Might Bite all out of form, and some doubts about the favourite, this 3m2f contest is wide open this year so don’t be afraid to back something at a big price.
The last two winners of the Stayers’ Hurdle have returned at 10/1 and 12/1 respectively, therefore, it is fair to say the feature race on day three of the meeting produces more upsets than any of the other Championship races at Cheltenham.
This year’s betting is headed by Paisley Park who was impressive last time out in the Cleeve Hurdle, however, he is short enough now at 9/4 in the betting given what he has achieved so far in his career.
Last year’s winner Penhill is next best in the ante-post market but we have not seen him so far this season.
There could be some fantastic each-way value in the race here with the likes of Faugheen and West Approach, who are 12/1 or bigger and are more than good enough to be in the mix at the finish up the hill in this 3m race.
Buveur D’air has had everything his own way in the Champion Hurdle over the last couple of years and he goes into the 2019 renewal as the 7/4 favourite to make it a hat-trick of wins the premier hurdle contest.
Nicky Henderson’s superstar suffered a surprise defeat in the Christmas Hurdle during the Festival meeting at Kempton. He went off at 1/4 for that race but was turned over by Verdana Blue, which suggests he might not be as consistent as he once was.
The big challengers to Buveur D’Air this season appear to be a couple of mares in Apple’s Jade and Laurina. Those two runners both have strong claims, however, the Champion Hurdle field always has a lot of depth to it, therefore, there is a good chance the winner could come outside the top three in the betting this year.
The meeting gets underway on March 11 and runs through to March 14 in what is sure to be the best week of the year in National Hunt racing.