5 Bets for Cheltenham Paddy Aspell Says To Play Now
- Apple's Jade - Champion Hurdle - 3/1 BetVictor
- Le Richebourg - Arkle Novices' Chase - 4/1 Ladbrokes
- Presenting Percy - Cheltenham Gold Cup - 4/1 Coral
- Ask For Glory - Champion Bumper - 20/1 Bet365
- Mall Dini - Kim Muir Handicap Chase - 14/1 Unibet
The world of horse racing been rocked by the outbreak of equine influenza, but many of us still cling on to hope that the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead - and perhaps now is the time to look for a Cheltenham betting positive.
Rewinding, concerns were raised by trainer Donald McCain sometime on Wednesday about possible flu cases, and the British Horseracing Authority cancelled Thursday's British race meetings.
It came as no surprise that the BHA on Thursday put racing into lockdown, ceasing all meetings in the UK until Wednesday, February 13 at the earliest.
So, as I write this article on Sunday evening, I will be keeping fingers crossed that the next update is a positive one and we can return to action from Wednesday onwards.
In the meantime, here are five horses I really think look attractive in the Cheltenham betting right now, equine flu, or no equine flu.
Apples Jade - Champion Hurdle
If you have read my previous articles or listened to our Racehour podcasts, you will know that I really liked Apple's Jades chance in this year's Champion Hurdle, even before the Leopardstown demolition job!
My thoughts straight after that Irish Champion Hurdle were that connections surely didn’t have much choice but to let this great mare take her chance in the Cheltenham version, not forgetting that was her first run down at 2m since a defeat in 2016.
Although punters might still be unwilling to forgive her short odds (1/2) defeat in last year's David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle, her Festival form is pretty good, and this season she has looked better than ever. She's a serious bet at 3/1 with BetVictor.
Le Richebourg - Arkle Novices' Chase
I was really impressed with Le Richebourg's last win at Leopardstown; He jumped and travelled so fluently all the way round, and picked up really well from the back of the last.
He is a very professional horse and even though he may lack a bit of size, he is a very clever jumper and strong traveller, who is now 4 wins from 5 runs over fences.
Presenting Percy - Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
There will be very few horses going to Cheltenham with a better Festival record than Presenting Percy. He is trained by a master in Pat Kelly, who in my opinion has done a wonderful job of training this horse.
A win in the 2017 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle off a handicap mark of 146 was followed up by a very convincing seven-length success in last year's RSA Chase.
He looked as good as ever on his first run since then in the Galmoy Hurdle last month, and is expected out again at Gowran this weekend, with a massive Gold Cup run on the cards afterwards for this high-class track specialist.
Ask For Glory - Champion Bumper
The Champion Bumper is a bit of a graveyard for punters as so many of the runners will have only raced once, providing few betting clues.
Although many are very talented, some that have run just once cannot handle the hustle and bustle of a high quality race like this; that's why I really like Ask For Glory.
He has had the benefit of two outings, winning an Irish point-to-point on debut by 10 lengths, followed by an all-the-way win in a Chepstow bumper on Welsh Grand National day in December.
Mall Dini - Kim Muir Handicap Chase
The 2016 Pertemps Final winner Mall Dini finished an agonisingly close second in last year's Kim Muir Handicap Chase, and though he has plenty of other options, I would be surprised if connections didn’t take in that 3m2f race again.
I am hoping trainer Pat Kelly will reapply the blinkers he sported in the race last year. He was weraing them for the first time, but didn't have them on in the Thyestes Chase last month.
In that race, it was telling that jockey Patrick Mullins was back on board, the rider having only ridden him once before - in last year's Kim Muir. He put in some good late work in at Gowran, a race that should have put him spot on fitness-wise, which no doubt is the plan, making 14/1 a very attractive bet.
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