Five Value Contenders to Bet on Cheltenham Festival 2023

Cheltenham Festival

Bet on Cheltenham Festival 2023 – 5 Value Contenders

It’s never too early to bet on Cheltenham Festival 2023. This helpful betting guide outlines the ante-post value ahead of the biggest four days in jumps racing:

Appreciate It – (Arkle Challenge Trophy, March 14)

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Cheltenham Festival Odds: 5/1

The Arkle market has long been dominated by Jonbon, and with just cause. Nicky Henderson’s novice chaser has looked supremely good over fences this season and is an utterly worthy favourite. But surely, at least from the perspective of value-hunters, he is way too short in the betting.

Enter stage right Appreciate It, who rates a huge danger to the JP McManus-owned jolly. Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old looked destined for greatness when he won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival in March 2021. But a setback next season meant we only got to see him once when well beaten in the Champion Hurdle.

Mullins has again had to be patient this campaign, but Appreciate It always had the look of a top chaser – and so it seemingly proved at Punchestown in December. He jumped cleanly, albeit a little lazily, from pillar to post in a beginners’ chase – but the manner in which he took off at the last when Paul Townend pushed him was most impressive. There is an awful lot more to come, and he can be rated him as one of the major value Cheltenham picks.

Honeysuckle – (Champion Hurdle, March 14)

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead

Cheltenham Festival Odds: 9/1

Is it game over for the wondermare? The bookmakers certainly seem to think so as she is now available at stunning horse racing odds of 9/1 to win a third Champion Hurdle on the bounce.

Her inflated odds is largely down to Constitution Hill, who admittedly has the potential to become the greatest two-mile chaser the world has ever seen. Honeysuckle was also desperately disappointing in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse in December, when comprehensively beaten by Teahupoo.

It could be that the great mare has lost her mojo. Yet it could also be the case that no-show at Fairyhouse was simply a one-off aberration. The latter is a more plausible explanation and that Honeysuckle should not be written off in any way, shape or form.

Granted, it is hard to see her defeating Constitution Hill. She might also end up in the Mares’ Hurdle – though that would be a great pity for racing. If she does take her chance in the Champion Hurdle, Honeysuckle on her day would beat the rest of the field doing proverbial handstands.

To that end, her big price presents each-way backers with a wonderful opportunity to gain handsome dividends.

Epatante – (Mares’ Hurdle, March 14)

Trainer: Nicky Henderson

Cheltenham Festival Odds: 5/1

Now is surely the time to seize upon the attractive odds that are available for the 2020 Champion Hurdle heroine. The reason she is so big in the market is that Honeysuckle might yet take her chance in the Mares’ Hurdle.

But under the assumption that Henry de Bromhead plays the brave man’s game and goes for the Champion Hurdle, that could pave the way clear for Epatante to cut loose.

Nicky Henderson’s mare is a class act and has rarely put a foot wrong on a racecourse. She has just been unlucky to bump into an-song Honeysuckle and a certain Constitution Hill. Without the formidable challenge of that duo, she stands head and shoulders above all of her rivals in the Mares’ Hurdle.

Whatever happens with Honeysuckle, Epatante seems destined to run in the Mares’ Hurdle. To that end, her price is only going to contract as the horse racing betting markets begin to full form for the Mares’ Hurdle.

Slade Steel – (Weatherbys Champion Bumper, March 15)

Trainer: Henry de Bromhead

Cheltenham Festival Odds: 16/1

The dogs were barking long before this one made his debut under Rules at Punchestown in December. A son of Telescope, Henry de Bromhead’s four-year-old boasts some top-drawer pedigree on both sides of the family. He also won an Irish point-to-point in May to hammer up the point that he could be well above average.

That looked to be the case at Punchestown, when the rumours of his ability escalated by the minute.

Slade Steel was sent off a 7/2 chance in a really strong bumper and made those odds look seismic with a really taking performance. He never needed much encouragement from his jockey, who took the lead inside the final 150 yards and won, ears pricked, really well.

The form of that race will soon be revealed, but, at least on paper, it looked like a good race – with the well-regarded Blizzard Of Oz setting the standard. Much will depend upon what other aces Willie Mullins has to play throughout the winter, but Slade Steel looks a worthy contender at odds of 16/1.

Noble Yeats – (Gold Cup, March 17)

Trainer: Emmet Mullins

Ante-post Cheltenham Odds: 12/1

The seven-year-old’s rise to the top has truly been the stuff of dreams. From those looking in, few gave him any realistic chance of winning the Grand National at Aintree. But trainer Emmett Mullins knew what he had as the stout stayer powered home to win the greatest jumps race in the world at odds of 50/1.

That was clearly no fluke, though he did have a few questions to answer after having been pulled up on his return to action in France in October. That has since proved nothing but the merest of blips as Noble Yeats has since won a Listed race at Wexford and the much-coveted Many Clouds Chase at Aintree.

Incredulously, Robert Waley-Cohen’s pride and joy seems to be getting better and more accurate over his fences. Any chance of a National double, however, already looks beyond him as he is sure to be allotted with a near-insurmountable weight for the big one at Aintree.

Noble Yeats now looks a Grade One-winner in-waiting and there is surely a big prize in him this season. Winning the Gold Cup looks a tall order – it’s hard to see him getting the better of Galopin Des Champs, for instance – but that does not mean to suggest he cannot run a huge race at Cheltenham. We know he stays and we know he jumps for fun. What’s not to like?

He rates outstanding each-way value to trouble the judge in the blue riband at the Festival.

*Odds subject to change and were correct at time of publication 

( 21.02.2023 )

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