After all the anticipation and fevered expectation, the Cheltenham Festival 2018 has been and gone, leaving us with some fantastic memories.
We saw the best jumps horses in the world, ridden by the best jockeys, trained by the best trainers, and supported by the most knowledgeable, enthusiastic and friendly crowd in the world of sport.
Expectations going into the Cheltenham Festival are always high; everyone hopes to find winners and enjoy the thrill of shouting your selection home up the exhausting Cheltenham hill to the winning line. The battle between Britain v Ireland is always keen as up to 70,000 racegoers each day, and millions more racing fans and punters from around the world, strive to show a profit.
At Betting.net our objective is to help you find winners using our analytical skills and years of expertise. We explain why we think our selections have a chance, we look for value in the betting markets – sometimes more money can be made betting each-way on the horse that comes second than backing the winner – and we strive to help you enjoy the buzz of seeing your horse in with a chance in the closing stages of the race.
When you come to checking the UK horse racing results, nothing pleases us more than for you to see our selections listed among the winners or placed horses, giving you a profit to go along with your enjoyment of the greatest sport of all.
Of course, tipping is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. If we don’t succeed one day or one week, we’re still expecting to hit the target the next time. There are always more big evebts to come. We’re never daunted, and we’re always looking ahead to the next exciting betting opportunity.
Cheltenham Day One – This proved to be our most successful day. Our ante-post blog, offering free horse racing tips, came down strongly in favour of backing Footpad at 11/8 for the Arkle Trophy. Ruby Walsh’s mount duly won by 14 lengths and was returned odds-on at 5/6, giving us sweet compensation for having seen our selection Kalashnikov (5/1), caught close home in the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
We got very excited at the finish of the Ultima Handicap Chase as Shantou Flyer , recommended each-way at 25/1, failed only narrowly to beat Coo Star Sivola in finishing a fine runner-up. He might have won but for a blunder at the final fence. In the following race our strong selection Buveur D’Air (4/6) landed the Champion Hurdle for the second year running under Barry Geraghty.
Sizing Tennessee (recommended each-way at 10/1) gave us more profits as he held on for a brave third in the National Hunt Chase, before our biggest win of the week as the Mick Channon-trained Mister Whitaker WON, recommended each-way at 16/1, landing a monster gamble under Brian Hughes (returned 13/2) in the concluding Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase. He got up to beat Rather Be by a head in the very last strides. That heart-stopping victory all but assured we would end the week in profit.
Cheltenham Day Two – Our headline selection was Altior (recommended at 5/4) to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Nicky Henderson’s star did just that (returned even money) in impressive fashion, but there was even more profit in backing God’s Own (recommended each-way at 50/1). Tom George’s grand sort kept on bravely to land us a huge place win.
William Henry (recommended each-way at 10/1) landed the place money for us as well in the Coral Cup, gamely holding on to fourth place provide us with a profit on the race.
Cheltenham Day Three – This always seemed likely to be the toughest day of the meeting, and so it proved. Our each-way recommendation The New One in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle, failed to see out the trip on his first try at three miles having travelled well for most of the race won impressively by Willie Mullins’ Penhill.
Our other featured selection, Un De Sceaux, had to settle for second as Balko De Flos, one of eight winners on the week for the remarkable Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, proved too good for him in the Ryanair Chase, a race sponsored by his owner Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud.
Laurina (8/13f), recommended at 8/11, was our banker of the day and duly hacked up, winning by a wide margin, and in the finale, Mall Dini (recommended each-way at 6/1) was the subject of a wholesale gamble, but after looking certain to win at the second last he just couldn’t get past the brave Missed Approach and had to settle for second place.
Cheltenham Day Four – We felt that Might Bite (recommended at 4/1) was the one to beat in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and going to the penultimate fence we felt sure we would collect. But Nico do Boinville’s mount suddenly found himself running on empty at the last, and Colin Tizzard’s Native River (cited as a big danger in our ante-post blog), stayed on best under a dream of a ride from champion jockey Richard Johnson to land a famous success.
Even though we failed to show a profit on the race, it was still a delight to see such a memorable battle for the blue riband event of the year.
Earlier on the card, Nick Skelton’s 12/1 shot Spiritofthegames (recommended each-way at 25/1) kept on to dead-heat for fifth place in the cavalry charge that was the County Hurdle. With most bookmakers paying out on the first five places, this proved a profitable event for us thanks to jockey Harry Skelton keeping his mount going all the way to the line.
And in the final race of the meeting it looked like we were going to go out with a real bang as our each-way recommendation Gino Trail (25/1) led from the start, only to agonisingly be caught close home by Le Prezien. The place odds still proved very profitable at the end of the wonderful sporting event that was the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Remember to visit us regularly at Betting.net for the best horse racing tips and in-depth race analysis.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.