St Patrick’s Thursday is always a special day of the festival and this year we are in for yet another treat.
World Hurdle Tips
Not only do we see the legendary Big Bucks return to the festival and World Hurdle after being absent through injury last year, we see him lock horns with an unbeaten breath of fresh air to the racing world, ANNIE POWER.
Nicholls’ 11-year-old made his reappearance in the Cleeve Hurdle in January, following 420 days out of action due to a tendon injury. He went off at 6/5 favourite but could only manage third, behind 66/1 shot Knockara Beau and At Fisher’s Cross.
Paul Nicholls and co are said to be very confident going into the race, however facing a horse who is thriving as much as Annie Power would be a difficult test for Big Buck’s at his best, so it is a worrying sign.
Willie Mullins’ mare is unbeaten in ten starts and has looked more impressive with every appearance this season. She has beaten some good types and the only major concern is that she is yet to race further than 2m5f.
This being a 3m race, it may be a test of stamina for the six-year-old, however as a daughter of Shirocco and out of a dam by Old Vic, she is likely to cope with the distance and may even improve for it.
ANNIE POWER is the best bet for me following many fantastic performances, whilst often going away more and more at the finish. With William Hill and Coral both offering 15/8, she represents good value and is a good bet in my eyes.
JLT Novices’ Chase Tips
Last year’s top trainer Willie Mullins is set to have another strong hand going into the opening race on Thursday, with 5/1 favourite Felix Yonger accompanied by stable companions Djakadam and Mozoltov.
The last three winners have all ran at Cheltenham over hurdles the year prior and this is another reason why the favourite is an extremely tempting bet. Oscar Whisky represents good value at 6/1 with Sky Bet on the back of three successes but may not have what it takes to win.
Pertemps Network Final Tips
The Pertemps Network Hurdle is one of the most open races of the day and whilst betting seems tricky, there is a few that stand out for me. Inis Meain is one of them. At 12/1 with most leading firms, he represents good value after winning a decent race at Navan over 2m7f last time.
Trackmate and Josies Orders are another two that symbolise value for me, both at 16/1 with William Hill. The former won the first Pertemps qualifier of the season at Cheltenham by a head in a very encouraging performance and should run well again so long as the ground remains dry.
Josies Orders is one I am very keen to keep an eye one. After winning at Ascot in December, he then went to Huntingdon and won over 3m2f with ease. He should be fine stamina wise and I look forward to seeing a big run.
Ryanair Chase Betting Tips
The Ryanair Chase is lined up to be a spectacular race, with a number of high quality horses leading the market. Benefficient has the Cheltenham form after beating Dynaste in the Jewson Novices’ Chase last year; however the latter cannot be ignored.
Dynaste still remains a high-class horse who connections may feel has something still to prove. After going off as joint favourite with Cue Card in the King George, he ended up looking lame and finishing very poorly.
He is sure to be in top condition if Pipe does enter him though and is well worth a punt at valuable odds of 7/2 with Coral. Al Ferof also warrants respect, as does Hidden Cyclone and decent odds of 10/1 with Bet Victor.
Tap Night and Colour Squadron are two obvious contenders for the Byrne Group Plate after both finishing third in separate races over 2m5f at Cheltenham in the previous races. Colour Squadron finished five lengths behind Double Ross, who has been running well here.
Shangani is the entry from the superb, in-form yard of Venetia Williams and at 20/1 in places, represents real good value. He won at Newbury last time over this distance and is sure to run well at a good price.
An even bigger outsider that may have a chance is Une Artiste. Nicky Henderson’s fifth choice entry won well at Kempton in February when he beat Shangani by three lengths and is lightly raced.
In the final race on the penultimate day of the festival, Indian Castle represents decent value. Donald McCain’s favourite has been in fantastic form and deserves the 6/1 favouritism for this one. Buddy Bolero won well last time but may need softer ground, whilst There’s No Panic should enjoy the conditions.
On a day of very competitive and tricky racing, it is great that Bet365 offer a Non-runner, No bet offer which is sure to be a relief to some punters betting. This ensures that any bets on horses that are later withdrew from a race will be refunded.
Another great Bet365 offer is the best odds guaranteed on every single race. This works well for all bets because if a punter bets on a horse which later drifts in price, the best price will be taken as the race starts to improve value.
They also offer exclusive deals for all races televised on Channel 4. If a punter backs a winner at odds of 4/1 or better, they will receive a free bet of the same stake for the following race. This means that the more bets won, the more free bets!
Finally, in a festival with so many competitive races, the 1/4 odds a place that will be offered is great for those backing each-way.
BETS OF THE DAY:
ANNIE POWER @ 15/8
TRACKMATE E/W @ 20/1
Click here to find the latest horse racing odds and betting comparisons