LAST year’s Cheltenham Festival was in danger of becoming a bookies’ benefit for this hapless punter. Then along came tiny terrier Medinas. The little horse with the very big heart popped up at a huge price to win the Coral Cup – and got me out of jail. I’d backed him at 50/1 on the morning of the race and he scampered up the hill to victory. The championship races will grab the headlines at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival this week – and rightly so. But seeking out decent-priced winners or each-way value is just as much fun, especially as there is so much value out there.
Here are five to follow who might be worth a punt… be lucky!
MANYRIVERSTOCROSS (Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase): Alan King says this nine-year-old is his best chance of the week. He jumps well and will enjoy the hurly-burly of the big field. He gave the classy Oscar Whisky a scare in a Grade One race at Sandown last time despite running too freely and the handicapper hasn’t hammered him for it.
BALLYALTON: (Neptune Management Novices’ Hurdle): The ground is coming right for this seven-year-old. After winning his third race on the bounce I thought he would be one of the market leaders for this race but he is still a biggish price. His one disappointing run came on ground that he couldn’t handle and with a question mark over the participation of several leading fancies, 14/1 looks too big for Ballyalton.
ANNACOTTY (RSA Chase): This horse is a Grade One winner but is still available at a big price. The 20/1 available with BetVictor looks tempting. The key to him running a big race is if jockey Ian Popham can bounce him out in front and then try to dominate the field. He ran a blinding race at Cheltenham in January under a big weight and seemed to enjoy the contours of Prestbury Park. He is outstanding each-way value.
WISHFULL THINKING: (Queen Mother Champion Chase): Third last year at a big price, Philip Hobbs’ 11-year-old comes into the race in sparkling form but, bizarrely, is as high as 33/1. There’s no Sprinter Sacre, of course, and the Hobbs horses are generally in much better form than 12 months ago. He is excellent each-way value, especially as he loves Cheltenham.
MONTBAZON (County Hurdle): A classy novice hurdler in 2012, he returned after almost two years out injured to run a nice race in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury – despite tiring in the ground. I think he is a very well handicapped horse and good or good to soft ground would be perfect. He is overpriced at 25/1 and would be a cert to finish in the first four if he is anywhere near his best.
BetVictor are going non runner no bet on all 27 races at the Cheltenham Festival. Click here for the latest prices.