Betting News for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival
04 February 2019
With only six weeks to go before the start of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, the main protagonists are now beginning to take shape for the Championship races and the major Handicaps. Festival Trials Day was held over the weekend at Prestbury Park and Frodon enhanced his prospects for the Cheltenham Gold Cup by winning the Grade Two Listed Betbright Trial Cotswold Chase narrowly from Elegant Escape. The Paul Nicholls trained frontrunner is available at odds of 33/1 with Betfair Sportsbook but is as short as 14/1 with other bookmakers.
Nicholls reckons he left Frodon a gallop short for this contest, a necessary risk if the horse was to have a proper mid-season break, and so there is a sharper edge to be put on him before the Gold Cup. “If I can just get a bit more improvement out of him yet, he’s the sort of horse who could well run into the frame,” the trainer said.
Runner Up Elegant Escape is not without a chance of reversing the form come Gold Cup day and is generally available at odds of 25/1 with Presenting Percy the 3/1 ante-post favourite still.
Anyone considering having an ante-post bet at this stage should review all the Cheltenham bookies offers and take note that Bet365 are offering improved place terms of ¼ odds 1-2-3 and also offering Money Back should your horse not run in the event.
The JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) was the opening race of the hugely successful Trials Day at Cheltenham and Fakir D’Oudairies was a very big racing tip on Saturday and was a most impressive winner justifying sustained market support throughout the morning and winning by thirteen lengths from stablemate Fine Brunello with hot favourite Adjali further back in third . Sky Bet reacted by cutting Fakir D’Oudairies to 5/1 favourite from 12/1 for the JCB Triumph Trial Hurdle at the Festival next month. The recent Cork winner cut out the early running Adjali but travelled smoothly to the front with three flights to jump and never looked in any danger thereafter, winging the last before powering up the hill under J J Slevin. The Nicky Henderson trained Adjali can now be backed at 25/1 for the Triumph Hurdle with Paddy Power.
Elsewhere on Saturday’s Cheltenham card Nicky Henderson’s Birchdale extended his unbeaten run with victory in the Ballymore Novice Hurdle. Henderson has not decided the Festival target yet for the JP McManus owned Birchdale but whatever novice race they target this easy winner is sure to be a warm order. Entries for the Novice hurdles at the Festival close next week.