To everyone who has successfully hurdled their way over the first two days of Cheltenham with their wallets intact, that is a commendable effort. After the first day, it was a winning draw for the bookmakers. After Wednesday, the balance is marginally in our favour again.
Despite Monkfish doing his best to make his odds of 1/4 look like the least value ‘good thing’ of all time, he was the only favourite to win on the day. Chacun Pour Soi, in the same Rich Ricci colours, was turned over by Put The Kettle On, while JP McManus’ Easysland had to bow to the champ and dual-Grand National winner Tiger Roll.
The way he covered the ground and jumped the obstacles will shine a light on the decision to withdraw him from the Aintree entries. He looked like he could’ve carried all the weight in the world and still won. If this is to be his last ever race, then we can reflect on a career that will put him down as one of the all-time greats. Even if he hadn’t won the National twice, he has still won at the Festival five times. Remarkable.
Attention on Thursday turns to the first race with Cheveley Park superstar Envoi Allen running for new trainer Henry De Bromhead. This horse has been in the papers for all the wrong reasons recently, given the antics of his recent (and previous) trainer.
Rumours are flying that one lucky Ante-post punter stands to win half a million from a £5 stake should he win. The shrewd racing fan is odds-on to claim his fortune, as Envoi Allen bids for a twelfth consecutive win under Rules, including the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Champion Bumper. It will be a shock if the unnamed bookmaker escapes this one.
The next big race is the Ryanair, and this year it is a hugely competitive affair with the favourites, Willie Mullins’ Min and Allaho, both at 5/1. If you want to back the great trainer to win the race with any of his four runners, including Tornado Flyer and Melon, we are offering 11/10.
The Stayers’ Hurdle is the biggest race of the day and in Paisley Park we have a worthy favourite. Two years ago, he was the story of the Festival as he won in dramatic fashion for Andrew Gemmell, but last year he was turned over at short odds-on. This season has been a ding-dong with Thyme Hill, with the pair one win apiece.
His absence today means Emma Lavelle’s stayer is set to repeat his 2019 heroics. With four places on the each-way terms, we are offering 2/1 for both Paisley Park and another British-trained runner Vinndication to finish in the places.
Elsewhere there are three big handicaps, including the Pertemps and the Paddy Power Plate. After a few tough days for the punters, we are offering money back as a free bet if you finish 2nd in either of those two races. T&Cs apply.
Make sure you keep some of your powder dry for Friday, with the Gold Cup and a potential hat-trick for Al Boum Photo. We are set for a thrilling final two days of the Cheltenham Festival.
Discover all of the latest Horse Racing Betting Odds for the Cheltenham Festival on our dedicated Horse Racing page.