Five horses, running over the first three days of the Cheltenham Festival, could determine as to whether bookmakers have a profitable week, or end the highlight meeting of the national hunt season licking their wounds.
Benie Des Dieux, Envoi Allen, Tiger Roll, Appreciate It and Paisley Park all hold outstanding chances of winning their respective races. Should all five oblige, and with accumulative odds in the region of 40/1, bookmakers may head into the final day of the festival with a ‘damage limitation’ attitude.
2020 Cheltenham Festival ‘Bankers’
Benie Des Dieux – Mares’ Hurdle (Tuesday) ⅘ with Coral
Also entered for Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle but trainer Willie Mullins is leaning heavily towards keeping this talented daughter of Great Pretender against her own sex, in a race she would have won 12 months ago but for falling at the final flight.
Envoi Allen – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Wednesday) 5/4 with Betfred
Last season’s Champion Bumper winner is impossible to fault since going over hurdles. After making a winning debut over the smaller obstacles at Down Royal in November, the unbeaten gelding has since gone on to record victories at Grade 1 level at Fairyhouse and Naas. Going to take a mighty effort from one of his rivals to lower the colours of Gordon Elliott’s charge.
Tiger Roll – Cross Country Chase (Wednesday) 11/10 with Coral
The dual Grand National winner needs no introduction. Destroyed his rivals with a 22 length demolition job in this race last year before going on to his second victory in the world’s most famous steeplechase. French raider Easysland looks the only horse capable of making a race of it with the most popular horse in training.
Appreciate It – Champion Bumper (Wednesday) 2/1 with Ladbrokes
Trainer Willie Mullins has made no secret of how highly he rates this six-year-old son of Jeremy. Despite being beaten on his debut at Fairyhouse in November, the gelding has looked a different proposition in winning his two most recent starts at Leopardstown, the most recent at Grade 2 level. Vibes are that this exciting performer is going to be the tenth winner of the race for the master of Closutton.
Paisley Park – Stayers’ Hurdle (Thursday) 8/11 with bet365
Heads to the festival on the back of seven straight wins, including in this race 12 months ago. Emma Lavelle’s popular eight-year-old is the shortest priced horse at the meeting, and with good reason. A reproduction of something like his best form with result in a second Stayers’ Hurdle crown.