What a week it’s been. Sporting theatre, incredible human stories and woe for the bookmakers through this tipping column. It’s why we love this great game of ours.
Already with winners at 16/1 and 7/1, success for Frodon (7/1), Siruh Du Lac (13/2) and a place for The Young Master (22/1) yesterday has left this column in 76 points of profit for the week, meaning if you'd follow the plan with £10 a point, you'd be £760 to the good right now. Let's finish with a rattle as Gold Cup day is here to thrill us.
Paul Nicholls is without question the greatest ever trainer of a horse over fences. No other man can produce Grade One winners over the larger obstacles like Nicholls does.
We've seen that this week with Topofthegame and Frodon, which only beefs up his amazing win and place strike-rate of 40 per cent in Grade Ones. That's from a sample size of 637 runners.
So when he's got a King George winner that will be suited by the CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP trip, punters should be following. CLAN DES OBEAUX (Sky Bet Odds 5/1) should take all the beating in a race where the dangers are in short supply. It would be Nicholls' fifth Gold Cup.
Sir Erec will be the cornerstone of many betting portfolios today in the TRIUMPH HURDLE and while he is the most likely winner, I'm keen to take him on to small stakes. At the Dublin Racing Festival, my theory was that horses winning from the front were flattered due to a pace bias. Sir Erec may have looked more impressive than he actually was and I'd like to see him repeat it before we herald him as the second coming.
His stablemate GARDENS OF BABYLON (Sky Bet Odds 9/1) got closest to him that day from off the pace and history proves form can be reversed in this race - history shows us four winners have overturned form from that Leopardstown race in the Triumph. That shows a healthy profit, too. It's a theory worth examining here.
- Remember, it's your "Money Back If You Lose" on the Ballymore when betting with Sky Bet up to £20. An offer well worth taking advantage of. Go here!
Those thinking of backing Sir Erec at Evens should be willing to go in hard on the place chances of favourite WHISKEY SOUR (Sky Bet Odds Evens to place) in the COUNTY HURDLE. I'm not sure of his resolution off the bridle but this horse is a near-stone-cold-certainty to finish in the top six at Evens under Ruby Walsh for Willie Mullins when you consider his run in the race last year. Of all the short priced horses this week, he's my banker of the week, not in the win market, just to finish in the top six.
ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU (Sky Bet Odds 12/1) should be backed in that race, too, in the more traditional each-way markets. Hold-up horses with a progressive profile are worth following in this contest and this lad will be trained for his life for this one by Gordon Elliot.
Money Back Offer
Sky Bet are refunding all losing bets on the first race each day at the Cheltenham Festival.
Elliot - hopefully - is in for a profitable day as COMMANDER OF FLEET (Sky Bet Odds 8/1) brings fair each-way claims to the table in the ALBERT BARTLETT. You need a warrior with plenty of experience and stamina for this test, which the selection has in his locker. Ireland won both the Supreme and Ballymore, giving the impression that the stronger form lines are coming from the trials across the Irish Sea. Commander Of Fleet showed a likeable attitude to outstay Rhinestone and I think that form will hold up with improvement likely from the Elliot runner.
THE GRAND ANNUAL is worth attacking with confident stakes and I'll be going in two-handed with NOT ANOTHER MUDDLE (Sky Bet Odds 6/1) and MARRACUDJA (Sky Bet Odds 16/1). There is a significant chance that Not Another Muddle could have so much in hand over the handicapper here. Gary Moore is a genius with two-mile chasers and his win at Sandown was achieved in a much more straightforward style than it seemed. The yard fancy the pants off this one. I'm going in too.
11/2 Sky Sports Acca
Follow our tip for Whisky Sour, Clan Des Obeaux and Not Another Muddle all to place
It's worth keeping Marracudja onside too. Although he's never run at the Festival, this test should play to his strengths as he's a strong travelling sort who has a potent finishing kick.