IT’S getting ever closer to Cheltenham now and we’re all keeping our eyes on the races up and down the country ahead of the biggest week in the horse racing calendar. Newbury and Warwick threw up some fantastic races at the weekend and has placed a number of horses as firm favourites for the Cheltenham Festival.
If you’re looking to get your festival betting underway already and enjoy the best Cheltenham free bets, here are our top runners from the weekend who are worth a punt on.
Native River has catapulted himself to second favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after a magnificent run at Newbury. He’d not raced for 330 days but flew past the field and proved he was still a top contender. He’d not raced since last Cheltenham and could go two better from his third place finish in Cheltenham’s premier race this time round. Might Bite will be a major threat in the Gold Cup but if Native River can improve under the tuition of Colin Tizzard then an each-way bet on the eight-year-old seems a no brainer.
Saint Calvados picked up some prize scalps in the Kingmaker at Warwick over the weekend and is now hotly tipped for the Racing Post Arkle at Cheltenham. Tony McCoy was raving about the horse during the ITV coverage and believes if he can go out fast over the first three fences he has a real shot at 11/2. Both Footpad and Petit Mouchoir are ahead in the betting but he is well worth an each-way bet in what could end up being one of the races of the festival. He’s won his last three races and we wouldn’t be surprised if he makes that four.
Many pundits thought Altior wasn’t ready for a return to action and could potentially be vulnerable. How wrong they were as Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old romped home in the Betfair Exchange Chase. He’s now odds-on favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase ahead of Min, Douvan and Politologue and the Nico De Boinville-ridden horse will be heavily backed. In a race where he was expected to struggle he stepped up to the plate and is expected to dominate even more as he continues his comeback following a breathing operation.