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|Noble Yeats||7/17/1||Ante Post
EW (3 Places) / NRNB
Cheltenham Gold Cup
|Place BetPlace Bet|
|Eldorado Allen||100/1100/1||Ante Post
EW (3 Places) / NRNB
Cheltenham Gold Cup
|Place BetPlace Bet|
|Sounds Russian||25/125/1||Ante Post
EW (3 Places) / NRNB
Cheltenham Gold Cup
|Place BetPlace Bet|
|Ahoy Senor||18/118/1||EW (4 Places)
Cheltenham Gold Cup
|Place BetPlace Bet|
Date of Tips: 16/03/2023
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:00 16/03/2023) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
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|Will Smith Tips||Steve Mullington
Apologies first and foremost, for the lack of Cheltenham Festival 2023 ante-post recommendations until now.
Where once, even a couple of seasons ago, there were widespread angles and value to be had, it seems now that there is a flood of information, recommendations, guesses, and perhaps most tellingly of all, guardedness from the bookmaking fraternity around these markets.
So, selectivity is the name of the game now, and given the entries came out last week for the main Grade 1 chases, no time is like the present to look at the biggest race of them all at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival – the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, run at 3.30 on Friday 17th March.
Potential superstar Galopin Des Champs heads the market at a best price of 7/4, and given he won’t be any shorter on the day, there is precious little to recommend about backing him now.
He may hose up in the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival, if that is indeed his next start, but surely even if that is the case, he can’t get much shorter, against a field that is shaping up to be one of the deepest for years.
The trick for finding an ante-post investment right now is finding something that will improve for the unique test, has been underrated by the market thus far, and could shorten in the interim. Step forward the extraordinary Noble Yeats, trained by the equally extraordinary Emmet Mullins.
At 10/1 each-way with Bet365, who crucially are ‘Non-Runner, No Bet’ on the race, Noble Yeats could easily be the big springer, given he will have one more run beforehand, in either the Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield Park’s Winter Million meeting or the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham’s Trials meeting.
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Never one to follow convention, Emmet Mullins campaigning of Noble Yeats last season was nothing short of sensational, to get him to peak on the day to win the Grand National, from a rating that clearly underplayed his ability by at least two stone.
A prep run for that came in the Ultima at the Festival, and for those wishing to crab his chances and price, a midfield finish in that race surely wouldn’t normally represent a horse likely to be a player in the next season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
But that race will have very much been a prep run, and if you watch how Noble Yeats takes off when pulled out wide running down the hill, the signs were there that he is a horse of some ability.
It was a move that was very reminiscent of when Sean Bowen pulled him out for some daylight between the final two fences in the Many Clouds Chase last month. Noble Yeats simply took off, and then idled away once in the clear, just as he did in the Grand National. There is simply no knowing how good this horse might be.
You can imagine Noble Yeats travelling away somewhere in mid division, and as they swing for home, Sean Bowen angling out for clear sight of that final climb, which Noble Yeats will relish.
Plus, there is one final trick up the trainer’s sleeve – the cheekpieces he wore in the Grand National last season are yet to be seen this campaign, and will surely be adorned for the big day.
In a market where the likes of L’Homme Presse, Bravemansgame, Protektorat, Stattler and Conflated are priced up on performances that they will have been at their peak for, Noble Yeats won’t have been anywhere near his peak yet this season.
That day will be in the Gold Cup itself, and at 10/1 each-way with Bet365 ‘Non-Runner, No Bet,’ he is without doubt worth an ante-post play before his next start later this month.
There is another ante-post bet to be had now, given the horse in question is set to have his next start in the Denman Chase at Newbury next month, a race he won impressively last season.
Another bold show from Eldorado Allen in that race, and the current 80/1 each-way with Bet365, again with the all important ‘Non-Runner, No Bet’ concession, will surely be long gone.
That Eldorado Allen is 80/1, and 100+ on the exchanges, is due to the fact that he has seemingly been put in his place by a few horses who will re-oppose in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in this season’s Charlie Hall, Betfair Chase and King George.
However, I am absolutely convinced that this horse needs a proper test of stamina, and would see him as more of a Welsh National or Grand National type potentially.
But, given the quality he has shown over shorter distances, you can see why the Tizzards have persevered with top level races between 2m4f and 3m on speed favouring tracks.
In the Charlie Hall, Betfair Chase and King George, he hit the line stronger than anything in those races, and he is absolutely crying out for a positive ride on a track and trip that usually examines stamina like no other Grade 1 on the calendar.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see cheekpieces, or even blinkers applied for the big day, and given Eldorado Allen was the only horse that chased Allaho at close quarters in last season’s Ryanair Chase, and still lived to tell the tale in 3rd, he could easily find the Gold Cup tempo so much more to his liking.
That he was beaten 20-odd lengths in the King George is an aberration, as Kempton Park – a tight, speed favouring right-handed track, is about as unsuitable for him as is possible.
It may be that the Denman Chase is his ‘Gold Cup’ this season, but I will go to my grave believing that the Cheltenham Gold Cup trip and track is exactly what Eldorado Allen needs to be seen at his best now, and so recommend getting some 80/1 each-way with Bet365, ‘Non-Runner, No Bet’ in the ante-post locker.
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With Cheltenham Trials Day done and dusted and the Dublin Racing Festival looming up at the end of the week, now is as good a time as any to get stuck into the ante-post Gold Cup market.
Galopin Des Champs has already got the bookmakers running scared for the Gold Cup and should he crush the opposition in the Irish version at Leopardstown, his price is sure to plummet further.
Currently trading around the 5/4 mark, could we actually find ourselves with a Gold Cup ante-post favourite that is going to end up going off at around even money or a touch of odds-on?
The Willie Mullins star, who inexplicably came down after jumping the last fence at the Cheltenham Festival last year, has not looked back since and will be the hottest Gold Cup favourite for many a year.
Defending champion A Plus Tard is understandably prominent in the antepost betting (8/1) despite missing the Savills Chase and being pulled up on his seasonal reappearance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. With some many unanswered questions about his wellbeing this season, would you want to be taking the early price on Henry de Bromhead’s nine-year-old?
Some of the most solid form on show this season has come from the Paul Nicholls-trained Bravemansgame, with the Charlie Hall and King George winner prominent in the market at around 8/1.
Big-race jockey Harry Cobden says anyone who underestimates the Gold Cup contender should do so at their peril, and he’s probably right because the eight-year-old does bring alot to the party.
The Grand National hero of 2022 Noble Yeats (8/1) has also rattled the ante-post market in recent weeks with a textbook finish in Aintree’s Many Clouds, then a running-on third in the Cotswold Chase, giving his supporters plenty of grounds for optimism.
Noble Yeats is very much a staying chaser, you could say he’s in the same mould as Hedgehunter who won the Grand National in 2005 and was second a year later in the Gold Cup.
Another horse that is popular in the betting is Willie Mullin’s Stattler (8/1) who ran a cracker in the Savills New Year Chase and was narrowly nosed out of it at the end by Minella Indo.
Mullins has regularly used that race as a fruitful stepping-stone to the Gold Cup – namely Al Boum Photo, and history could well repeat itself this March at Prestbury Park.
Conflated has been a steady 12/1 shot for racing’s blue riband event for a few weeks now with the Gigginstown Stud-owned gelding coming into the Festival on the back of a Savills Chase victory at Leopardstown.
After falling out of the Gold Cup picture for a few weeks, Lucinda Russell’s Ahoy Senor is very much back in it after landing the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.
After three moderate runs he was as big as 50/1 for the Festival showpiece, but that recent victory at NH headquarters has seen his price slashed right down to 14/1.
I personally am going to take an each-way chance on Ruth Jefferson’s Sounds Russian at 25/1.
Narrowly touched off by Into Overdrive in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby, Jefferson was eager to see just what kind of level Sounds Russian was at in the Cotswold Chase and she is now clearly aware that she has a top chaser on her hands.
Admittedly the likes of Galopin Des Champs and A Plus Tard are going to be hard to shift if they’re on top song, but there are slight question marks about the pair of them that makes this year’s Gold Cup a wide open affair.
Steve Mullington Gold Cup Tip #2
It really could end up being a fairytale week for the Lucinda Russell stable if Ahoy Senor could land the Gold Cup on the back of Corach Rambler winning the Ultima on the opening day.
Grand National-winning trainer Lucinda Russell believes she holds her best ever chance of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup with the eight-year-old and he surprisingly languishes at 18/1 in the betting.
In the last two years, Ahoy Senor has won a Grade One novice hurdle and Grade One novice chase at Aintree and his owners believe there is yet more to come. Who would bet against Ahoy Senor becoming the first Scottish-trained Gold Cup winner?
I personally think Ahoy Senor is too big a price knowing what he is able to do and the each-way betting option for his supporters is the way to proceed.
|Cheltenham Gold Cup|
|Friday 17/03/2023||15:30||3m 2f||Chase|
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious race of the Cheltenham Festival and is the highlight of the National Hunt calendar. The race covers a distance of 3 miles and 2 furlongs and is run on the New Course. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is open to horses aged five years or older and features 22 fences to be jumped. The race has produced some of the greatest winners in National Hunt history such as Best Mate, Kauto Star, and Denman.
|Galopin Des Champs||6/4|
|A Plus Tard||8/1|
In a week that threw up plenty of clues going forward for the rest of the National Hunt season, it looks to me like a lot of the Cheltenham Festival markets are beginning to take shape. That is an exciting time for us ante-post punters, who might be looking to try and procure any type of value for the horses we like going forward to March. However, the one market that is subject to a lot more questions than answers at the moment is the Gold Cup, with plenty of likely options blotting their copy book in the King George and Savills Chase. With this in mind, and with the current prices available, there are two horses that are worth backing at their current prices.
The first horse requires trust and hope that the blot on St Stephen’s Day has not taken too much out of the horse long term. However, we were all scratching our head this time last year about Minella Indo, having been underwhelming in his first few starts of the season. He subsequently went back to Leopardstown for the Irish Gold Cup, where he disappointed again before winning the Blue Riband event at the Cheltenham Festival. It takes no scientist to conclude that this horse is a spring horse and his performances at Cheltenham have always far usurped anything that he has achieved throughout the course of a season.
Having made a more than satisfactory comeback in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, he put in a listless display at Kempton a few days ago, prompting him to be pulled up. He was reported ‘shook’ by the trainer upon arrival back home and the hope is there are no lasting effects on this horse. That might be the risk with backing this horse currently for the race, but should he get to Cheltenham in one piece, it would be of no surprise to see this horse get back to the form he has shown at three festivals on the trot. Also, the likelihood of potentially getting Jack Kennedy back on him for the Gold Cup looks more and more likely, with Blackmore likely to opt for A Plus Tard and Elliot unlikely to run anything other than Galvin (Davy Russell’s mount) in the race. The stars may yet align for this horse and I think it is a gross overreaction to push this horse out to 10/1. However, the likes of Ladbrokes, Bet365 and Boylesports all go 10/1 for Minella Indo to win the Gold Cup, and that looks an appetizing each way price.
Sentiment can always be a stumbling block for punters, and I can sometimes be found wanting to delve back to winners of the past. However, when the price is right and the horse might be right, it has to be given due consideration. Given the likelihood of his price contracting and again for citing the reasons above with many of the high profile names blotting the copybook – there is another lurker in this market who is running in the next day or two.
We often can get ahead of ourselves when bigging up young talent within the sport, claiming the next young novice to be one of the future greats, and at times breezing over the greats that are currently with us. There is a two time Gold Cup winner in this market, and he’s currently 16/1. Al Boum Photo may not be unbeatable, in fact last year’s run would indicate that he may well be vulnerable to an improver, but he is certainly no slouch. In a season of such uncertainty in this market, he may just be the rock we need.
Willie Mullins alluded to the fact that he may have been a bit undercooked going into last year’s Gold Cup, when running an honorable third on his quest for his three time win in the race. He had taken in his usual route of Tramore onto Cheltenham and it had not quite got him there cherry ripe when he needed it most. The ground has prevented him from getting that extra race in again this year thus far, but he heads to his normal destination of Tramore on New Year’s Day and he probably has more on his hands there than he has on previous occasions. In fact, I think Mullins has stacked the race with some of his decent Grade 3 / Listed horses to make sure the race is competitive enough to make him race and improve.
With Ante-Post betting, there are always risks involved and with this horse, the engine might not be quite what it was and we will soon find that out around Tramore in a few days, where his price could change one way or the other. I am backing that he might win again at Tramore, and as a result, contract in price for the Gold Cup. He might not be invincible, but he may well be stubborn and solid. At a price of 16/1 with William Hill and Unibet – he is worth an each way bet for the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
|Cheltenham Tips by Day|
|Day 1 TipsTips for Tuesday 14th March||Day 2 TipsTips for Wednesday 15th March|
|Day 3 TipsTips for Thursday 16th March||Day 4 TipsTips for Friday 17th March|
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It’s hard to believe it is not even November, and yet I believe we may have seen the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner out already. If not the winner, then a knocking each-way bet that is surely only going to shorten from the current odds anyhow.
Minella Indo at a general 10/1 each-way represents a great bet in my eyes, given the visual impression of what he did at Wexford on his seasonal debut. To my untrained eye, he looked a little on the tubby side down at the start, or at least a horse that carries a fair bit of condition. The manner in which he travelled and jumped suggested he was very much in love with the game, and potentially a stronger, more mature horse this season.
Henry De Bromhead mapped out a light but select campaign for Minella Indo last season, which was aimed around peaking for the RSA Chase at the Festival. Peak he did, and in bowling along at the front in a protracted battle with old rival Allaho, he left his chin vulnerable to a Barry Geraghty-inspired sucker punch on Champ – who came from, if not out of the clouds certainly on the edge of them, to run Minella Indo down in the last 50 yards.
It was a cruel blow, and if you watch carefully you can visually see Rachael Blackmore’s mount pick up again close home, as Champ scoots past. Clearly there was more in the locker for Minella Indo, he just didn’t have time to show it. The nature of a Cheltenham Gold Cup, with it’s unrelenting pace and test of jumping, could be exactly what Minella Indo needs. Remember, he ran away with an Albert Bartlett after just two hurdle starts as a maiden. If that doesn’t scream ability and relentless stamina, then I’m not sure what does.
So, to see him travel and jump like he did at Wexford to brush aside a race-fit 2020 Kim Muir winner, in the shape of Milan Native, was much more than you would have been expecting. Henry De Bromhead has stated that he will be busier this time around, presumably with the two Leopardstown Grade 1’s at Christmas and the Dublin Racing Festival in February on his agenda. Surely that experience will stand Minella Indo in good stead, as don’t forget he has still only had 9 races under rules.
Obviously dual winner Al Boum Photo commands plenty of respect, and there is some 6/1 around about him, which given his likely preparation of a New Year’s Day jaunt around Tramore again, and that he was sent off 100/30 on the back of that last season, there could be a bit of juice in that 6/1.
Further down, and one that stands out at the prices is Delta Work, who was uncharacteristically off his game jumping-wise when fifth in the 2020 renewal, but that he was only beaten just over 6 lengths confirms that he has a mighty engine. A Pertemps Final winner and a close third in an RSA, he will be reunited with Jack Kennedy at Down Royal this weekend. But he has generally needed his first run of the season, and could easily be well beaten before stepping forward massively at Leopardstown at Christmas.
25/1 is available about Delta Work, but given his profile you could get bigger after his run at Down Royal this weekend, so I’m going to steer clear from recommending him just yet. That honour firmly lands with the improving beast that is Minella Indo, who as stated, at the general 10/1 represents a great each-way bet after his Wexford re-appearance.
The following content was added at 12:00 on Friday 12th March 2021…
In a somewhat vain attempt at bringing this week-long series of daily extra ante-post selections to a dramatic conclusion, I have saved the best for last.
Not the best price, or the shrewdest selection by any means, but the best race, the one race that everyone associated to jumps racing would dearly love to win – the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
A week today will be Gold Cup day, and we will have feasted our eyes and ears on three days of scintillating action in the Cotswolds, and hopefully everything will have passed smoothly and some heart-warming and goodwill-inspiring stories will have played out on that hallowed turf.
One piece of ante-post business that was struck before the turn of the year was on Minella Indo for the Gold Cup, advised at 10/1. Perhaps not the best ever struck, as you can currently get 14/1 with William Hill about Henry De Bromhead’s charge. But the logical thinking behind it is still relevant, as I believe last year’s RSA Chase is a key piece of form.
Champ was the victor that day, and now sits at perch of 5/1 best price. So, given that Minella Indo went through that race like the best horse in it at the trip, and had to beat off Allaho (who could boost the form in the Ryanair Chase the day before), before having his pocket picked somewhat by Champ and Barry Geraghty – then the 14/1 about Minella Indo still seems tempting. I wouldn’t put anyone off.
There are two or three other relevant pieces of form, and perhaps chief among them are the last two renewals of the race. Thus, you can in no way discount dual-winner Al Boum Photo, and whatever way I play the race I will be having a saver on him to get my stake back on any other bets.
The Ryanair Chase last season and the recent Savills Chase are the other two pieces of strong form to factor in to calculations, and they feature the same horse – A Plus Tard. A previous Cheltenham Festival winner, courtesy of his novices’ handicap chase romp, he was half a stride out of his comfort zone the whole way round in last year’s Ryanair behind Min. Watch the final 100 yards or so of that race again, and you can visibly see A Plus Tard put his head down and go again, suggesting the notion that he had plenty left in the tank.
On his first try at 3m left-handed, he was a dramatic, last-gasp, strong-staying winner of the Savills Chase at Christmas, confirming that stamina is very much an attribute he possesses in abundance.
To chin Kemboy around Leopardstown in that manner takes some doing, and as Kemboy won the subsequent Irish Gold Cup easily, it boosted the merits of A Plus Tard’s performance previously.
At 6/1 each-way with Bet365, who are ‘Non-Runner, No Bet’, I can see him going off shorter, especially if Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore have a good week. Indeed, Rachael has chosen to ride A Plus Tard ahead of Minella Indo, so who am I to argue that she will be getting on the wrong one?
Put your faith in her, and put your faith in A Plus Tard to win the biggest race of them all, at 6/1 with Bet365.
Now might well be a good time to get involved in the Gold Cup market, as over the next two weekends there are two significant signposts on the road to ultimate Cheltenham glory.
The Cotswold Chase features the return of Santini, who was so lackadaisical in his seasonal reappearance at Sandown, that he all but erased the memory of his smashing RSA Chase second last year. That of course came on the back of a very interrupted preparation, and if there is a horse from last year’s novice chasers to rise to the top, then perhaps Nicky Henderson’s big brute of a horse is it. A good run will see his price surely clipped, but there are nagging doubts.
One place behind Santini in that RSA was Delta Work, who has since won the Grade One Savills Chase at Leopardstown – but it is the fourth home in that race that I think is the ante-post bet for the Gold Cup right now – and that is last year’s Aintree Bowl and Punchestown Gold Cup winner Kemboy.
At 13/2 now, should he go and win the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival next weekend, then he will be challenging stablemate and last year’s Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo for favouritism.
Unseated at the very first fence in the 2019 Gold Cup, Kemboy was sent off 8/1 that day – the shortest-priced of Willie Mullins runners and four points shorter than the winner Al Boum Photo. He then went to beat Al Boum Photo at Punchestown in ready fashion.
Some may see his reappearance fourth as slightly disappointing, but many of Mullins’ higher profile horses have been needing their first starts, as a change of tack seems to have been employed in an effort to keep them fresher for longer into the season.
Another potential doubt is that he is as yet unproven over the extra distance of the Gold Cup, compared with the bare 3m over which he has done his winning. However, in last year’s Savills Chase, Aintree Bowl and Punchestown Gold Cup he has been running away from the opposition – including Al Boum Photo.
While, as a six-year-old, he was pitched into one of the most attritional Irish Grand Nationals ever run over 3m 5f in heavy ground – I’d say his connections weren’t doubting of his stamina…