Cheltenham 2019: Naps and Value Long-Shots

The Cheltenham Festival is finally upon us, it's time for our writers to nail their colours to the mast

Peter Kingston, Alan Marron, and Will Reilly bring forward their strongest Cheltenham festival naps, and some of their best value long-shots.

The Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner and safe to say the Bar One Racing race-room is buzzing!

All three of our regular racing contributors have previewed the festival’s biggest races in the long build-up to Tuesday March 12th.

Here, we’re bringing you some of our writer’s strongest fancies, and some of their best value long-shots.

See Bar One Racing’s Cheltenham betting here

Alan Marron biggest long-shot comes in at 14/1

Champion Hurdle (3:30pm Tuesday, March 12th)

Nap: Laurina at 7/2

Last season’s Mares’ Novice Hurdle winner has been very impressive this year with wins at Sandown and Punchestown. Could prove to be the value in an above average Champion Hurdle.

Pertemps Handicap Hurdle (2:10pm Thursday, March 14th)

Nap : Sire Du Berlais at 11/2

At every Cheltenham preview that I have got word from, this horse has been mentioned. Barry Geraghty said in a recent preview that he is workmanlike at home. His speed figures in his race at Leopardstown at Christmas were very eye-catching, many of the form gurus have said it was a quick time from where he was turning for home to where he finished a never-nearer sixth.

Supreme Novice Hurdle (1.30pm Tuesday, March 12th)

Value Long-Shot: Aramon at 14/1

Has done nothing but improve all season and looked good when winning the Future Champions Novice at Leopardstown. Finished second last time out to Klassical Dream at the Dublin Racing Festival and could continue on the upward curve with a big run at Cheltenham.

Magners Gold Cup (3.30 Friday, March 15th)

Value Long-Shot: Kemboy at 9/1

Many people have different opinions on his win over Christmas, for example a slowly run race and an excellent ride from David Mullins. For me it was simply the horse has improved enough to put himself at the head of the market for a Gold Cup. I do think he will stay, and as a long-shots go, he could be the most value for the week.

Peter Kingston likes Battleoverdoyen and Bristol de Mai

Ballymore Novices Hurdle (1.30 Wednesday, March 13th)

Nap: Battleoverdoyen at 3/1

This giant gelding of Gordon Elliott’s will appreciate the ease in the going, putting less significance on the challenge of the undulations and turns of Prestbury Park. Gigginstown’s £235,000 purchase won a point to point, no bad thing according to trends for this race. He was then very good in his bumper at Punchestown, on ground faster than ideal. His maiden hurdle win on soft in Navan was a demolition and visually stunning. Battleoverdoyen continued his rapid rise with a dominant display in the Grade 1 Lawlors of Naas.

Sam’s Profile was a little unlucky that day, but the winner has as much improvement to come, winning snugly at the line. We don’t have any real form lines to compare UK and Irish form yet, but Champ looks the far riskier favourite at the head of the betting, a keen sort. Battleoverdoyen has always been highly regarded and can repeat Samcro’s win in this race last year for connections.

Magners Gold Cup (3.30 Friday, March 15th)

Value Long-Shot: Bristol De Mai at 25/1

Only 8 years old, this horse has been pigeon holed as a Haydock horse who needs it heavy and hates Cheltenham. This is premature. Along with being brilliant at Haydock a few times on heavy, he beat Clan des Obeaux, Thistlecrack, Native River and Might Bite on good, quick ground this season. He then fell too early in the King George and can be forgiven. Wild price for a horse who’s a Grade 1 win under his belt when standing up this season.

Bristol De Mai was only 6 when running well in the Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Sizing John. He was going to play a much bigger role that day until clouting the 2nd last. That experience can stand to him. He’s been freshened up, shown his versatility ground wise this season and can out-run dismissive odds in the biggest race of them all.

Will Reilly goes against Alan in the Champion Hurdle

Champion Hurdle (3:30pm Tuesday, March 12th)

Apple’s Jade at 15/8

Since trainer Gordon Elliott has been able to manage her problems with coming into season, she’s rediscovered her brilliant best. She hurdles well, loves to race and will throw down a stern challenge to the reigning champion Buveur d’Air.

JCB Triumph Hurdle (1:30pm Friday, March 15th)

Nap: Sir Erec at Evs

A Listed winner on the flat and third to champion stayer Stradivarius in a Group 2 race on Champions Day at Ascot in October, on raw ability he looks different class, Physically, he’s also imposing and he has taken well to hurdling. He could well start at odds-on in this race.

Coral Cup (2:50pm Wednesday, March 13th)

Whiskey Sour at 10/1

Sixth in last year’s Ebor Handicap on the flat at York and Grade 1 winner over hurdles, he’s got a touch of class and a rating of 144 could well understate his actual ability. He comes here fresh but can run well off a break. Still only six, he should be open to further improvement.

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (4:50pm Friday, March 15th)

Whatswrongwithyou at 8/1

Trainer Johnny Henderson will always look to have a runner named in honour and memory of his father. Ordinarily, he would make more than just two initial entries so, as with Paul Nicholls in the Fred Winter, he must feel that he has a decent chance with each of them. It looks as though Nicky ran Whatswrongwithyou at Fontwell recently to ensure that he got into the race. He won easily there and a revised rating of 145 still probably leaves his trainer with something to work with. I am very hopeful of a very good run.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article