Sunday, 8 March 2015

And If You Don't Love Me Now, You Will Never Love Me Again

A big sporting week is coming up: there's some Champions League last 16 action, the Formula 1 Chasing After Mercedes season gets underway, but most importantly, there's The Greatest Show on Turf, Cheltenham!

2 types of tips for y'all. First off, some general pointers on how to get the best out of this week:
  • Shop around for the best bookies. They're all queuing up with special offers and free bets to get your custom. Take care to read the full terms and conditions, though- generally, there'll be a promo code to enter, or your first bet will need to be of a certain size and/or price
  • Shop around for the best prices. It's well worth taking up a few of the offers above and having accounts with different bookies in order to be best placed to take advantage of any differences in price- we'll get to tips for the individual races shortly, but in the opening race, Tuesday's Supreme Novices Hurdle, Shaneshill is currently priced at 10/1 with some firms, and 12/1 with others- that's a £20 difference to your return off a £10 bet
  • Set a budget and stick to it. Don't blow everything on the 1st day. You can top up your budget with the myriad of free bets and enhancements that are out there. There's 27 races across 4 days, so there'll be plenty to get your teeth into- don't feel compelled to bet on every single race
  • Have a look at the previous runnings of each race. Certain races, such as Wednesday's Queen Mother Champion Chase, have tended to be dominated by the favourites, while others such as the Supreme Novices Hurdle, have been something of a graveyard for the market leaders
  • Play the long game. The Grand National weights have been announced, and the field for Aintree is starting to take shape. Many of the runners will be in action at Cheltenham this week, so keep a close eye on any horses in action this week to get some pointers regarding their chances next month
Now, for some actual tips:
  • On the opening day, all the current talk is regarding trainer Willie Mullins, and his 4 favourites in the Supreme Novices Hurdle (Douvan, 7/4), Arkle (Un De Sceaux, 8/13), Champion Hurdle (Faugheen, 5/4) and the Mares Hurdle (Annie Power, 8/13). There are numerous specials out there on just how many of them will triumph (Bet Victor have a particularly enticing one), but personally, I'll be backing only the latter 2
  • It's AP McCoy's last ever visit as a jockey to Cheltenham- there will no doubt be plenty of media attention on him and anything he mounts. That, however, can often erode any value in backing him- don't be tricked into backing mediocre horses just because of the name on its saddle
  • The impressive Champagne Fever goes on Wednesday in the Queen Mother Champion Chase- back him to win at 6/1 with Paddy Power
  • The big showpiece event of the week is of course the Gold Cup on Friday- the class of the field appears to be Silviniaco Conti, who gave a very encouraging showing in last year's running, only to finish 4th. He's arguably in even better form this year after romping home against much of this field in the King George, and can be backed at a best price of 10/3


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