I am absolutely delighted to link up with The Sportsman for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival and will be posting my selections exclusively for the site on each of the four days of the meeting.
With less than a week to go until the famous Cheltenham roar, here is a Lucky 15 to whet your appetite. I have been following these four horses for a while now, and although several are much shorter in the betting than they were a few months ago, I think they all have very strong claims. Any bet of this nature should be treated as just a bit of fun, so please stake accordingly! I also expect there to be one or two surprises and last-minute changes to running plans over the next few days, so fingers crossed that these four horses stay healthy and take up their engagements in the stated races.
Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Tuesday)
ELIXIR DE NUTZ (current best price is 7/1)
- Recorded his third consecutive win with a really game success in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown last time out. The form of that race is working out extremely well with both Grand Sancy (second) and Southfield Stone (third) winning graded races since – the Kingwell Hurdle and Dovecote Hurdle respectively.
- A dual winner at Cheltenham, hurdles really well and had a recent piece of work described as ‘absolutely brilliant’ by trainer Colin Tizzard.
Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Tuesday)
APPLE’S JADE (current best price is 2/1)
- I’ve been a long-time supporter of the magnificent Apple’s Jade and am thrilled that connections have decided to go down the Champion Hurdle route with her. She won at the 2017 Festival (Mares’ Hurdle) and had valid excuses when third in that race last year.
- Unbeaten in her four starts this season - by a combined distance of 73-lengths - with three of those victories coming at Grade One level. Her latest success in the Irish Champion Hurdle came by a hugely impressive 16-lengths and demonstrated her versatility having previously won over longer trips.
Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Thursday)
FIRST ASSIGNMENT (current best price is 10/1)
- Won over 2m5f at Cheltenham on his seasonal reappearance before putting up a hugely impressive performance in a Listed race back at Prestbury Park in November. Went clear of a good field by nine-lengths that day and was very well-suited by the return to three-miles having won a Point To Point earlier in his career.
- Turned out quickly and was far from disgraced behind the high-class Paisley Park (see below) and the subsequent Grade Two winner Shades Of Midnight at Haydock. Sent off as favourite that day and the form has obviously worked out very well.
- Third again at Warwick last time out but as a result, has protected his handicap mark for this valuable prize.
Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle (Thursday)
PAISLEY PARK (current best price is 13/8)
- Hugely progressive staying hurdler, who is unbeaten in four starts this season including the Grade One JLT Hurdle at Ascot.
- Shot to favouritism for this race with an authoritative victory in the Cleeve Hurdle over this course and distance in January. It was hard not to be impressed by the manner of that victory and he sets a clear standard, especially in the absence of Penhill.
A successful £1 Lucky 15 on these four selections will return approximately £1500 (excluding bookmaker bonuses) based on the prices quoted.