The bookies can at least console themselves with the fact that Day Two seems to be a tougher proposition for punters and that begins with the National Hunt Challenge Cup which is a four-mile test of stamina which will see the horses tiring at the end!
National Hunt Challenge Cup
Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to attend the Wednesday of the Cheltenham Festival, with Harry The Viking running for the Manchester United manager and the Scot has a reasonable chance of making it to the winners’ enclosure according to the latest odds.
The bookies offer a best price 6/1 (Sky Bet) about this horse, although it appears that several industry insiders are instead sweeter on the chances of Allee Garde, which could be backed down to a shorter price of 7/1 considering that Willie Mullins is the trainer and might have had a belting Tuesday!
Soll, Teaforthree and Alfie Spinner and the others available at short prices, although we can be sure to see some big price horses running into a place.
Neptune Novices Hurdle
The second race on Wednesday may or may not feature Boston Bob, with this exciting seven-year-old entered for both this race and the Albert Bartlett.
The betfair odds would indicate that Willie Mullins will keep his powder dry and wait for the latter, especially considering that Simonsig is set to swerve the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and take his chances in this contest.
Simonsig was a comfortable winner at Kelso last month after finishing second behind Fingal Bay at Sandown in December, something which has seen the price tumble to 5/2 (Paddy Power £100 free bets).
Boston Bob is a 3/1 chance with William Hill who should be applauded for a lot of big odds on the Neptune, although if we take the view that he’ll be switched, then Monksland all of a sudden becomes a big price at 6/1.
The horse is unbeaten in three starts and comes from Ireland with a stellar reputation, with each-way value considering Stan James are quoting 6/1.
This is a very attractive contest, especially as it appears that Grands Crus will take his place in this race, rather than chance the Gold Cup. This view is strengthened by the fact that Kauto Star has made a full recovery following a schooling fall.
Therefore, the punters will be flocking to back this David Pipe-trained horse, who has delighted many with his performances including running Big Buck’s very close in the World Hurdle twelve months ago.
Grands Crus is a 2/1 chance with William Hill and that price might not last before the race considering that the seven-year-old has three straight wins under his belt and that includes a Cheltenham win.
Bob’s Worth is the second favourite for the RSA Chase, although many have cast doubts over the horse’s jumping and it might be worth a flutter on Sir Des Champs instead. The six-year-old has six straight wins under his belt and this horse justified favouritism at 9/2 to win the Martin Pipe race last year.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Can anything stop Sizing Europe from dishing out another hammering to the bookies in Wednesday’s principal race? The answer is probably not, with last year’s winner looking like a good bet to win at the Festival for the third successive year.
Henry de Bromhead has not always had a smooth road with this horse and we should recall that it flopped in the Champion Hurdle on two occasions, failing to make it to the start line on one occasion.
However, a 2010 Arkle victory saw this ‘spring horse’ live up to its potential and last year’s win was simply scintillating as Big Zeb chased it home.
Sizing is a best price 10/11 (bet365 £200 free bets) to win the Queen Mother and you might be hard pushed to get evens on the day, even if Big Zeb is back to try and win the race for the second occasion.
Zeb was comfortably beaten when the pair last met although he could attract each-way money at 5/1 and the same applies to Finian’s Rainbow.