An Early Look Ahead to the 2017 Cheltenham Festival
With less than six months until the 2017 Cheltenham Festival gets underway, punters will be looking at the ante post markets in a bid to get better odds well in advance. Not for the first time, the Willie Mullins-Ruby Walsh combination is set to dominate the festival – we took a look at three of the meeting’s main events and give our early thoughts (probably too early!) on who will come out on top in some of the biggest races in National Hunt racing.
The Champion Hurdle
Last year, Annie Power stepped up to the plate for Rich Ricci and connections just twelve months on from her disastrous fall at the last in the Mares’ Hurdle. Annie Power was set to go up against her fellow fillies until the very last-minute when FAUGHEEN was deemed unfit to race.
But ‘Faugheen the Machine’ will be back and raring to go in 2017 – and you should back him to get the better of Annie Power in this Mullins head-to-head. As of September 29th, Coral are pricing Faugheen at 2/1 to come out on top and his price will be a lot shorter come race day…
With Annie Power set to defend her title in the Champion Hurdle, Vroum Vroum Mag may also attempt to retain her crown in the Mares Hurdle. Whilst Mullins has briefly hinted at a World Hurdle attempt, Vroum Vroum Mag may be better suited to the Mares Hurdle – especially if the Irish trainer opts to give Faugheen the chance to go for broke in the World Hurdle; Annie Power could then tackle the World Hurdle.
Furthermore, APPLES JADE – another Mullins-trained filly – is a phenomenal thoroughbred and she could be the horse to beat in the Mares event. If you are looking for something to put your money on, back Apples Jade at 3/1 with Coral; she was supreme when finishing second to Ivanovich Gorbatov in the JCB Triumph Hurdle in 2016…
The Cheltenham Gold Cup
Don Cossack stayed on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2016 but a serious injury in the aftermath of that success has put his future career in jeopardy. With that in mind, Vautour, who eased to victory in the Ryanair Chase, could be the market leader – especially when you consider the Mullins-Walsh link.
THISTLECRACK romped to victory in the World Hurdle but looks set to go over the taller obstacles after achieving plenty of success over hurdles. Colin Tizzard’s mount is looking to follow in the steps of Cue Card – one of the greatest National Hunt horses in recent times. If Thistlecrack lives up to the hype, he will be very difficult to beat…
Main image credit:
Main image credit: