Cheltenham Festival 2019 Tips
Nick Murphy | 1 March 2019
All have been won by some legendary horses and jockeys down the years. But who’s in the running for each renewal at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival? And who will the favourites be when the racing gets underway on Tuesday 12th March until it finishes on Friday 15th March?
From Altior to Presenting Percy, Paisley Park and Buveur D’Air, here’s our guide to the biggest races at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.
Gold Cup triumph for Presenting Percy?
Who will join the likes of Golden Miller, Arkle, Best Mate and Denman in the Gold Cup history books? The Coral traders reckon it might be Presenting Percy, who is the ante-post favourite.
There’s no question of the raider’s jumping ability. He showed that to full effect when running out a ready winner of the RSA Chase at the Festival 12 months ago. It’s his inaction which is worrying.
Patrick Kelly’s charge hasn’t been seen over fences since that victory in the RSA. A spin over hurdles at Gowran Park in January produced a Grade 2 success – but it’s been far from the ideal prep.
Rival Clan Des Obeaux has more solid form in the book following convincing victories in the King George VI Chase at Christmas and the Denman Chase in February. He looks a more trustworthy candidate alongside Irish Gold Cup winner Bellshill and the progressive Road To Respect.
Can anyone stop Paisley Park in the Stayers’ Hurdle?
Not long ago Paisley Park was 14/1 for the Stayers’ Hurdle. That price has long since gone. It’s easy to see why. Not only has Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old rattled off a hugely impressive four-timer, his main rival and 2018 winner Penhill will miss the Festival, it has been confirmed.
Apple’s Jade could oppose. But it looks as though the wonder-mare will face Buveur D’Air in the Champion Chase – more on that later. That leaves Paisley Park as the standout candidate in a staying division which lacks depth.
The Oscar-gelding has beaten anything worth talking about in the UK this season, with his incredible 12l win over course and distance in the Cleeve Hurdle only confirming his superiority.
Ireland have Faugheen, Samcro and Bacardys to potentially come over. But it’s difficult to see them conquering the favourite. Punters will be hoping jockey Aidan Coleman’s poor record at the Festival doesn’t get in the way of the favourite.
Awesome Altior set for a third Champion Chase?
Don’t expect a big field for the Champion Chase. Three-time Festival winner and returning champion Altior has them all running scared. Nicky Henderson’s star is unbeaten in 17 starts over obstacles.
That includes 12 straight wins over fences, three of which have come to this term. It’s nigh-on impossible to see the nine-year-old get beaten unless something extraordinary happens over 2m.
Nevertheless, someone has to reoppose. And last year’s runner-up Min will line-up second-favourite if he goes here instead of the Ryanair Chase. Willie Mullins’ charge is a top quality performer but still has plenty to find with the jolly here.
Buveur D’Air going for a Champion Hurdle hat-trick
The 2019 Champion Hurdle has the potential to be the race of the week. Can two-time winner Buveur D’Air reel off the hat-trick? Or will Apple’s Jade come with a successful challenge over 2½m?
Henderson’s charge is the favourite courtesy of his excellent record in the race. Yet his season hasn’t gone quite as planned. His 8l victory over Samcro in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle no longer looks like a great piece of form, while defeat to Verdana Blue at Kempton was his first reverse in two years.
Apple’s Jade has been beating better horses over in Ireland and returned to the 2m trip like a duck to water. Her four victories this season total 73l, and her speed in disposing of Supasundae in the Irish Champion Hurdle was something to behold.
This looks as though it’ll be a straight fight between the pair, although highly-progressive mare Laurina will also hope to get involved in the conversation.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing