Cheltenham Festival specials bets – Four fancies in specials markets
Brian Healy picks out some Cheltenham Festival specials bets that could be worth an interest over the course of the ‘greatest show on turf’.
The Cheltenham Festival is almost upon up and the ‘greatest show on turf’ will unfold over four top-class days at the premier Cotswold track. With no less than 14 Grade One contests to go to post as well as a host of lesser Graded races and handicaps, the biggest week of the domestic horse racing season over the sticks is an unmissable spectacle.
There’ll be plenty of interest in the equine betting markets on the track, in shops and online and the horses will account for the bulk of punters’ bets. But there’s some interesting Cheltenham Festival specials bets that could pique punters’ interests.
Brian Healy looks through some of the Cheltenham Festival specials bets that are available and picks out four which could yield a return when the dust has settled in another top-class week.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL SPECIALS BETS AT A GLANCE
Top Festival Trainer – Gordon Elliott (11/4, William Hill)
Top Festival Jockey – Davy Russell (5/1, William Hill)
Prestbury Cup Winner – Ireland (4/5, William Hill)
To win any race – Envoi Allen (Evens, William Hill)
TOP FESTIVAL TRAINER – Gordon Elliott
Willie Mullins has won the top trainer at the Festival accolade six times and the County Carlow handler will be popular amongst punters in this market given the strength in depth of his equine talent.
However despite perhaps not having the best of days in recent times, Gordon Elliott could win a third crown in four years if his runners come back to their best. The Meath handler boasts the likes of Envoi Allen, Tiger Roll and Delta Work as his top stars heading up his Cheltenham Festival team and he’s unlikely to leave the Festival empty-handed.
If his runners come back to their best form following a relatively quiet couple of weeks – only four of his last 50 runners have won at the time of writing – then he could prove a value punt in this market.
TOP FESTIVAL JOCKEY – Davy Russell
The injury to Gigginstown number one Jack Kennedy is likely to see mercurial Irish rider Davy Russell get the call to ride the main Gigginstown runners, many of whom are trained by Gordon Elliott.
Russell is also likely to get the leg up on other runners from the Elliott camp such as The Storyteller in the Pertemps Network Final; while he’ll also renew his partnership with Pat Fahy’s Presenting Percy in the Gold Cup where the pair aren’t without a chance of Blue Riband glory.
There’s none better for the big occasion than Russell who’ll be bidding to avoid a repeat of 2019 where he failed to ride a winner. It can often prove profitable to follow Russell in the big Festival handicaps, but he has strong chances of Grade One success this year and he’ll put up a stiff challenge for the Festival top jockey accolade.
PRESTBURY CUP WINNER – Ireland
Awarded to the team who collectively saddles the most winners and running from flag-fall on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on day one of the Festival until the conclusion of the Martin Pipe Conditional Riders’ Hurdle as the Festival finale the Irish contingent looks too strong given the strength of the raiding teams from Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Henry de Bromhead.
Add in Jessica Harrington and Noel Meade into a formidable mix then the Irish squad looks particulary strong this year. It would be no surprise if they take the Prestbury Cup outright this Festival after honours were shared last term.
TO WIN ANY RACE – Envoi Allen
Trainer Gordon Elliott hinted that his star Envoi Allen could yet switch to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle from his long-intended target of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for which he’s spearheaded the ante-post betting for some months.
Whichever race he ends up in, the Muhtathir gelding boasts top claims of success and he’s many peoples’ idea of a Cheltenham Festival banker. He could be worth covering in the ‘To win any race’ Cheltenham Festival specials given his target is currently unclear.