Author: Tony MacDonald
Cheltenham Festival 2016
Published: 16:06 14/11/2014
Punters can start assessing their long-range punts on the 2015 Festival as the National Hunt season gets into full swing with the Paddy Power Open Meeting.
Friday's action will have already prompted plenty of people to reach for the little black book to scribble down some notes, but make sure you remember to log this offer from Paddy Power.
Available from today until the end of December, place your 2015 Cheltenham Festival ante-post bets with Paddy Power, to pick up a free bet each time they win in the run up to March's four-day meeting. Your qualifying bet can be £20 for an outright win, or £10 each-way with every one of your ante-post selections wins netting a £5 free bet.
Tomorrow's Paddy Power Gold Cup at 2.30 Cheltenham is the first major handicap of the National Hunt season and may offer some clues for the Festival. Market leader present View holds a entries in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury and King George VI at Kempton with the Cheltenham Gold Cup a potential long term target.
Current second favourite Buywise could go a different route with an entry in Haydock's Fixed Brush Hurdle an alternative to Newbury at the end of the month, while last year's winner and 2014 Bryne Group Plate fourth Johns Spirit is entered for the King George and could be aimed at the Ryanair Chase at the festival.
Champion Hurdle winner Jezki returns to action in Sunday's Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown and is fancied to put up a staunch title defence, while Supreme Novices' Hurdle third Vaniteux heads the betting for the Greatwood Hurdle on Sunday and is another to be considered.
Many of the main protagonists have dusted off the cobwebs with some having more success than others. Arkle second Champagne Fever won at Clonmel yesterday and could be aimed at the Gold Cup. Champion Hurdle sixth Ptit Zig won at Exeter earlier in the week, while Gold Cup fourth and subsequent Betfred Bowl winner Silviniaco Conti may come on from an unconvincing return in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
Every racing punter will have their own opinion on which horse is going where and will be keen to exploit the big prices on offer in the Cheltenham Festival ante-post market, which could also earn you a few free bets on the way with Paddy Power.