The 2012 Cheltenham Festival is but weeks away. Between now and the opening day on Tuesday 13th March there will be plenty of tips, advice and rumours doing the rounds. John O’Riordan of Sportsnewsireland attempts to help readers make a profit with some antepost advice.
Quevega has won the Mares Hurdle for the past three seasons and is a standout bet at the meeting once again in 2012. Willie Mullin’s mare would be good enough to make the frame in either the Champion or Stayers Hurdles but has taken this lesser race with ease each season. On paper this years renewal looks stronger with Voler La Vedette and Unaccompanied in opposition. However, both have failed to convince with their finishing efforts up the famous incline and there is a possibility that they may not even race here. The former has yet to be confirmed a festival runner, while connections of the latter will surely favour a tilt at the Champion Hurdle. Quevega is available at around 6/4 with Boylesports and has to be backed at this price. She could well trade shorter on the day and should her two main rivals fail to pitch up, the mare could start at odds on, allowing for a free trade.
Peddlers Cross was well fancied for last season’s Champion Hurdle and only found Hurricane Fly too strong on the big day. Donald McCain’s charge was impressive on his first couple of forays over fences this season, before tasting defeat for the first time on his latest start. Bookmakers may have been too quick to judge however, as McCain is adamant that that was not his horses true form. While he has not come out and said exactly what the problem was, there certainly was one. At odds of 6/1 Peddlers is crying out to be backed with Boylesports. It is highly unlikely that he will go off bigger than 4/1 on the opening day of this years festival, and if the public get behind the horse he could even be as low as 7/2 or 3/1. This horse is the perfect trade and the 6/1 should be taken now.
Hurricane Fly has been injury prone over the last few seasons and only made it to Cheltenham for the first time in 2011. His performance was worth waiting for though,as the Irish runner showed a tremendous turn of foot to defeat a quality field and claim the title of Champion Hurdler. Although he has yet to race this season, he is with the right man in Willie Mullins and can be trained to reach a peak over the coming weeks. The advice is to take the 2/1 with Boylesports now and sit back and enjoy the Irish Champion Hurdle later this month.Victory would see the horse shorten to close to evens and allow for a trade,defeat would still leave punters with a bet come Cheltenham.
Bobs Worth has to be one of the best value punts of the week in Wednesday’s RSA Chase. Nicky Henderson’s chaser was second to Grands Crus at Christmas, but showed plenty in that run and must have every chance of turning the tables. Held up early on, he gradually warmed to his task and stayed on strongly up the finishing straight. With Grands Crus a possible Gold Cup runner, Bobs Worth should be supported at 5/1 with Boylesports today. Should the jolly be redirected to the feature race of the week, Henderson’s inmate will be a short priced favourite here and we will have a free trade. Even if Grands Crus runs in this race, Bobs Worth can make him battle all the way and give us a run for our money.
Quevega 6/4, four points win
Peddlers Cross 6/1, one point win
Hurricane Fly 2/1, three points win
Bobs Worth 5/1 one point eachway