Football has the World Cup, Tennis has Wimbledon, and Horse Racing has Cheltenham. Tomorrow the 4 day racing event kick offs, which sees the best jump horses from Ireland and Britain go head to head in some of the most prestige races is the world. Here we’re going to take a look at the best races to look out for over the next few days.
By Cameron Kennedy –@LiveF0rever_ & Steven Gyford –@Stevie_Gyf
Champion Hurdle, Tuesday
The first day of the meeting will see what many predict will be the race of the week. Twice winner Hurricane Fly faces its toughest test to date against The New One and My Tent Or Yours. The bookies can’t split the three and whatever horse comes out on top will have legendary status. The horses’ trainers are all confident and this race could be one for the ages. Form could prove to be the deciding factor for this year’s Champion Hurdle, as 22 of the last 27 winners won their previous race going into the event.
Queen Mother Champion Chase, Wednesday
This race is all about one horse, Sire De Gurgy. Sire had been preparing to battle last year’s champion Sprinter Sacre until the latter pulled out a couple of weeks ago. Sire still has some tough opponents to beat like Captain Conan and Kid Cassidy but the well backed Sire should continue its great form over the past year with 6 wins from 7 races. The Queen Mother Champion Chase isn’t one to back an outsider on, as only one of the last 32 winners of the race had a starting price of more than 11/1.
Ryanair Chase, Thursday
The Ryanair Chase is wide open this year with lots of quality horses on show. Benefficient, the current favourite, will go up against Dynaste and Al Ferof, who both raced in the King George race back on Boxing Day against Horses racing in the Gold Cup on Friday. This one will be hard to call and the race should go down to the final fence. History tends to be a decisive factor for this race, all but one of it’s winners had won at Cheltenham before, with 6 having won the King George VI Chase. In 24 attempts to do so, the Irish are yet the win the race.
World Hurdle, Thursday
This year’s World Hurdle should be a straight shootout between two big names in Horse Racing, Annie Power and Big Bucks. Annie Power has won ten from ten races but will need to produce her best run to date to beat the 4 time World Hurdle winner in Big Bucks. Big Bucks missed last year due to injury and is has just came back to full fitness, if Big Bucks can win it’ll be its biggest win in his long career. When deciding where to put your money for this one, your best bet is usually to look at the Cleeve Hurdle and Long Walk Hurdle. Reve De Sivola won the latter of the two, so could be worth an outside bet. At Fishers Cross and Big Buck’s were pipped to the Cleeve Hurdle this season, either would be worthy of your backing.
Gold Cup, Friday
It’s the race the whole Cheltenham meeting is based around, but unlike previous years the field isn’t predominantly as strong. Market leader Bob’s Worth is looking to make it two in a row but is up against the Silviniaco Conti, who won the King George race at Kempton on boxing day. Conti fell during the race last year and will be looking for revenge on Bob’s Worth. It’s considered the biggest race of the year and hopefully it lives up to the billing. It’s just a shame that the in-form Captain Chris has been ruled out of the race after a sensational year. Second season chasers tend to fare well in the Gold Cup and all of the last fourteen winners of the race had previously won a Grade 1 contest. The Betfair Chase and King George VI chase can be strong indicators as to who will make the grade in this one. Paul Nicholls has an outstanding record here, with four winners and five runners-up since 1999, making Silviniaco Conti a solid-looking bet. Don’t discount Last Instalment though, who could prove good value at 7/1.