Cheltenham Festival bookies reveal their biggest losers with one huge treble causing sleepless nights
THE clock is ticking away ahead of the incredible Cheltenham Festival.
And Sunracing’s super sleuth Callum Jamieson has secretly slipped behind enemy lines to spy on the top bookies to reveal the rock-solid bankers, like Shishkin, they fear and the longshots they quietly fancy.
PAJonbon is one of those bookies will dread winning at Cheltenham Festival[/caption]
All bookies dread Cheltenham is going to be a Willie Mullins one-man show and there will be multiple bets galore on his star-studded
Here the crafty layers spell out the horses they fear — and some interesting outsiders to swell the Festival punters’ pockets.
BANKER: JEREMYS FLAME (Mares’ Chase, Friday) is worth waiting for. She brushed aside a solid yardstick in Zambella at Huntingdon last time and can follow up.
OUTSIDER: HENRI LE FARCEUR (Stayers’ Hurdle, Thursday) looks a good bet at 20-1.
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Fellow French raider Gold Tweet staked his claim when bolting up in the Cleeve Hurdle and that win also prompted connections of compatriot Henri Le Farceur to join in the fun. He can get in the mix.
BIGGEST LOSER: GALOPIN DES CHAMPS (Gold Cup, Friday) has been steadily backed at the head of the market all winter, so a win for anything other than this one in Friday’s big one!
BIG BETS SO FAR: SHISHKIN (Ryanair, Thursday) won over the pesky doubters when scoring in style in the Ascot Chase, and since then he’s attracted plenty of support and tumbled from 7-4 to 4-6.
BANKER: SPANISH HARLEM (Martin Pipe, Friday) is unexposed and the Willie Mullins raider looks like he has a lot to come. I think this is the type of horse who could be smashed up on the day to finish Mullins’ week on a high.
OUTSIDER: FUNAMBULE SIVOLA (Champion Chase, Wednesday) can hit the frame again at 33-1. We’ve seen some clever each-way cash for this horse.
BIGGEST LOSER: SHISHKIN (Ryanair, Thursday) has been very popular since his win at Ascot. Nicky Henderson’s star joins stablemate Constitution Hill as the only other odds-on shot of the week so far.
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If he runs near to the level he did at Ascot, it is his to lose. Nothing else is special here.
BIG BETS SO FAR: ROUGE VIF (Grand Annual, Wednesday) is a surprising one but after Harry Whittington said it had been targeted for the race, it has been one punters have looked very closely at.
BANKER: THANKSFORTHEHELP (Pertemps Final, Thursday) made a mockery of what looked a competitive race last time out at Chepstow, and is a horse who looks a rapid improver for David Pipe’s stable.
OUTSIDER: BEACON EDGE (Coral Cup, Wednesday) appeals at a decent price especially as many bookmakers will be paying five or six places on the race. He’s well weighted on his best form and showed a possible return to form last time.
BIGGEST LOSER: FACILE VEGA (Supreme, Tuesday) is our key horse. He features in so many multiples going back to the start of the season with the likes of Constitution Hill and Jonbon etc.
Despite his recent defeat, he continues to be popular, and will, of course, feature in plenty of Willie Mullins multiples during the Festival. It would be a relief if he got beat!
BIG BETS SO FAR: LOSSIEMOUTH (Triumph, Friday) is probably the one. We’re in OK shape but there were some big bets when she won for Willie Mullins on debut.
Camprond in the County is now a hefty liability after sustained support over the last few days, at all prices from 16-1 downwards.
BANKER: A DREAM TO SHARE (Champion Bumper, Wednesday) was an impressive winner of a race that had more strength in depth than just about any other bumper ran all season, and he should go really well.
If he was trained by Willie Mullins he would be half the price.
OUTSIDER: ALMUHIT (Boodles Handicap, Tuesday) almost refused to start last time and isn’t one for maximum stakes.
But given he gave his rivals a huge headstart and made one horrendous jumping error, he did well not to be beaten miles by Sir Allen in a key trial for this. He has the ability to go close if consenting to use it.
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BIGGEST LOSER: THYME HILL (Brown Advisory, Wednesday) might be a surprising one. We were happy to lay him for plenty after an unconvincing chase debut and we’re still far from convinced his jumping will hold up when the pressure ramps up.
BIG BETS SO FAR: For a number of reasons there are less odds-on chances at the meeting than recent years, and whilst there will be some small fields it is competitive.
There are a number of favourites we are happy to accommodate punters with and they include Facile Vega, Honeysuckle, Luccia and Lossiemouth.
BANKER: EL FABIOLO (Arkle, Tuesday) is the one for me over Jonbon. He has few miles on the clock and I think he will put his rival away.
OUTSIDER: SEABANK BISTRO (Albert Bartlett, Friday) is an each-way fancy at 20-1. His form ties in with Corbetts Cross, the favourite, and he’ll run well at the price.
BIGGEST LOSER: BRAVEMANSGAME (Gold Cup, Friday) is a bad result for us and continues to harden.
BIG BETS SO FAR: Since we went ‘non-runner money back’, we have seen plenty of multiples on the championship races.
Should the Facile Vega, Jonbon and Constitution Hill treble oblige on Tuesday, that would be a particularly bad body blow and we’ll be playing catch-up ahead of the next three days.
BANKER: SIR ALLEN (Boodles Handicap, Tuesday) has won a couple of small novices well, but his second to Triumph Hurdle favourite Blood Destiny at Cork now looks blue chip form.
I’m a big fan of his Irish trainer Andrew Slattery and he can land the biggest race of his career.
PABookies are fearing Nicholls and his King George winner Bravemansgame[/caption]
OUTSIDER: GOLD TWEET (Stayers’ Hurdle, Thursday) looked a deserving winner of the Cleeve Hurdle and I think he can repeat that effort in this championship event.
French-trained winners aren’t always the most popular but when he won at the track in January some shrewdies knew and there was cash for him that day. I think he’s too big at 12-1.
BIGGEST LOSER: FASTORSLOW (Ultima Handicap, Tuesday) went down by a fag paper in last year’s Coral Cup and it’s interesting his trainer has given him two outings this season in top-class races over shorter trips and I think the 3m 1f distance might just bring out huge improvement.
BIG BETS SO FAR: BRAVEMANSGAME (Gold Cup, Friday) has been well supported after Paul Nicholls described him as the best horse he’s had for some time. We expect more money for him.
Final Orders has been popular in the Arkle with punters happy to back him due to our NRNB if he goes for the Grand Annual.
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