Author: Tony MacDonald
Cheltenham Festival 2017
Published: 14:01 12/01/2015
With just two months to go until the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, a number of online bookmakers have announced that they're going Non Runner No Bet on the four championship races.
It's great news for horse racing punters who are looking to have an early stab at the ante-post markets to take advantage of some big prices. The four championship races are the stanjames.com Champion Hurdle, Betway Champion Chase, Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Betfair Sportsbook, bet365, Skybet, Paddy Power, Betfred, Boylesports and SeanieMac all guarantee to refund stakes should your ante-post selection be a non runner and we anticipate other bookies to follow suit with similar promotions in the coming weeks.
Ante-post betting for the Champion Hurdle is currently headed by Faugheen, winner of the Neptune Management Novices' Hurdle at the 2014 Festival. Willie Mullins' unbeaten gelding has subsequently added victories in the Herald Champion Novices's Hurdle at Punchestown, Coral Hurdle at Ascot and William Hill Christmas Hurdle at Kempton to his CV, but could face stiff competition from The New One, Hurricane Fly, Annie Power, Irving and last year's winner Jezki.
A glance at the Queen Mother Champion Chase betting reveals Sprinter Sacre as the market leader, but punters will perhaps wait and see how the winner of this race in 2013 does in the Clarence House Chase before getting involved as Nicky Henderson's superstar has not been seen in action since pulling up in the Desert Orchid chase at Kempton in December of 2013. Last year's winner Sire de Grugy comes next in the betting with Paul Nicholls duo Dodging Bullets and Al Ferof also thought to have a good chance along with Champagne Fever.
More of That bids to repeat his success in the World Hurdle last year and is favourite in the ante-post market ahead of the fourth horse home Zarkander. Cole Harden and Medinas beat the market leader in the bet365 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and may be considered as outsiders, while the likes of Beat That, Rock on Ruby and Annie Power make up the more fancied contenders.
It will come as no surprise to learn that Silviniaco Conti heads the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting after winning the Betfair Chase before making all to claim a second King George VI Chase in style. Road To Riches was an impressive winner of the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown and has popped up on many a punter's radar, while Holywell was a winner at the last festival and is available to back at a similar price to 2014 Gold Cup winner Lord Windemere.
As ever, our dedicated team of horse racing tipsters will be scouring the ante-post markets in search of value, so you should follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with their selections in the run up to and during the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.