Bookmakers could be crying into their satchels at the end of the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival as a flurry of favourites could romp home at Prestbury Park and kick-start what could be a profitable week for the punters in what is one of the sporting spectacles of the year at the Gloucestershire venue.
With just 24 hours to wait until the ‘Greatest Show On Turf’ racing fans will be busy deciphering the form guides to unearth a few festival winners, but on the face of it, it could prove to be a little easier than it appears, as there are a quartet of hot favourites heading into the blue riband events on Tuesday afternoon and they could make up a mouth-watering fourfold.
Punters will be piling into My Tent Or Yours in the traditional festival curtain-raiser as he looks to follow up his facile Betfair Hurdle victory with success in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old trounced a competitive field at Newbury and immediately propelled to the head of the Supreme betting and is a 7/4 favourite with Paddy Power.
Sublime in that Newbury romp, the JP McManus-owned raider had looked every bit a future star and a repeat of that effort should see him be tough to beat in the Supreme cavalry charge and he is sure to be the premier selection in the Tuesday accumulators and it could be the catalyst for what may be an avalanche of winning favourites.
Henderson will yet be at the forefront of punters minds in the second race on the card as Simonsig bids for Arkle Trophy glory at 2:05pm and last year’s Neptune Novices’ Hurdle winner is already trading at odds-on for the two-mile Grade One prize. Dominant in his two chasing victories, he will face his stiffest task to date when clashing with Overturn, but Paddy Power feel he warrants his 4/6 price tag and he could well notch an early brace for the Seven Barrows team.
A little respite may come the bookies way with the wide open JLT Specialty Handicap Chase, but alarm bells will be ringing at 3:20pm when a field of nine runners will go to post for the Champion Hurdle. Rock on Ruby maybe the reigning champion, but Harry Fry’s stable star will not be the name on punter’s lips heading into the race, as many will be on the Hurricane Fly bandwagon, as he looks to regain the title he won in 2011.
Paddy Power have certainly gone out on a limb with the Willie Mullins-trained raider, as they will return all bets if Hurricane Fly wins the Champion Hurdle, but if the Irish speedster can show his best form then he will be tough to beat and for the bookmakers that could notch up the dreaded treble for favourite backers, with one final leg of the four-timer left to go.
If that aforementioned triumvirate can do the business for punters in the early part of Tuesday afternoon then bookmakers will be biting their nails heading into the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, as prolific festival winner Quevega could well notch up the four-timer and send a tremor around the betting offices.
Mullins’ superstar has dominated the division and she appears to have another relatively straightforward assignment with Une Artiste looking one of the only dangers to her title and the 8/15 available emphasises her dominance and she could inflict yet more pain on the wounded books.
My Tent Or Yours, Simonsig, Hurricane Fly & Quevega - All To Win - £10 stake returns £210.83 with PaddyPower.com.