The 2015 Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner and racing fans from all over the world can look forward to four days of high quality competition including four Championship events. With 27 races on the card, there will be plenty of betting opportunities but our previews will focus on the high profile races starting with the festival curtain-raiser, the Supreme Novices Hurdle.
As usual, the start of this Grade One race will be accompanied by the famous Cheltenham Roar as the four day extravaganza finally gets underway. There is always plenty of betting interest in this race as punters look to start the week on a positive note.
Trainer Willie Mullins and Jockey Ruby Walsh have successfully paired up in the last two renewals of this event and will be looking to complete a hat-trick with Douvan. The five-year-old – lauded by Mullins as: “One of the nicest horses we’ve taken to Cheltenham” – has been unbeatable in Ireland this season, and Walsh is confident that he can ride him to victory in this race. As a result, his price has tumbled and he is currently clear favourite with a best price of 15/8 available from Betfair. The lack of short-priced winners in recent years (3 from 17 at 3-1 or under) should not put punters off.
Those still not convinced by Douvan’s ability at this level may want to take a look at L’ami Serge. Trainer Nicky Henderson is hoping that the son of former King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stake’s winner, King’s Theatre, can end his 20-year-plus wait for an opening race triumph. With three wins from three since his move from France – including a convincing Grade One victory at Sandown – he certainly looks like the one most likely to challenge Douvan. He can currently be backed at 4/1 across the board.
With those two horses in the field, it is hard to make a case for many of the other contenders, and of course, the final line-up is subject to change. Those looking for an each-way tip could do worse than consider Qewy. The John Ferguson-trained horse impressed at Newbury recently and should have the change of pace required to be in the hunt for a place. The current price of 20/1 offers great value.