Cheltenham Festival race-by-race preview and suggested bets for Wednesday, March 15:
Low Risk Double
Mid Risk Accumulator
2.50 Scoir Mear
4.50 Long Call
Scoir Mear is a big price for the race and he’s been running consistently well this season. He’s been put away since finishing runner-up at the start of January and this is likely to have been the target for some time. The return to faster ground could see him in an even better light and he gets the services of last year’s Grand National winning jockey David Mullins. Gordon Elliot has made no secret of how well-handicapped he thinks Tombstone is but his short price no doubt accounts for that. Hawk High is still low mileage and five of his six wins have come with good in the going description so he could represent a bit of value and earn good place points if he runs his race.
- Scoir Mear
- Hawk High
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is one of the few races that has eluded Willie Mullins in his career to date but that poor run looks set to come to an end with his stable-star Douvan currently a deserving 1/4fav. Undefeated in 13 starts on these shores, he will take all the beating in what has to be considered a below par renewal of the contest. Whilst he would deliver 100 points for winning, a better return for Fantasy Racing players could come from finding place value. The improving Fox Norton will be of interest to many players and his connections have another potential each-way chance for brave players in the shape of big outsider Sizing Granite. He was a smart chaser in the past but hasn’t been with this yard long and may outrun his odds, if his shrewd trainer has found the key to him.
- Fox Norton
- Sizing Granite
The majority of those at the head of the market will be wearing the famous green and gold silks of JP McManus and Cantlow will no doubt be of warm order. However, Auvegnat looks like a spot of value for the Telegraph Fantasy Racing players. Likely to go off around the 7/1 mark, he’s done very little wrong this season and he was going well when unseating around this course earlier in the season. He’s still only a seven-year-old and there could well be more to come in this sphere. Colour Squadron is another for the same owner that represents some value at double figure odds.
- Colour Squadron
The Fred Winter is a tough race for Fantasy Racing pickers and most players would surely be delighted with a place. Tony Martin and handicap debut are four words that catch the eye in either code and the trainer runs Long Call here. He was no match for Master Blueyes last time but he’s likely to improve for the faster ground and his jockey is a dab hand around here. Divin Bere is another whose form ties in with Master Blueyes (currently 6/1 for the Triumph) and he beat that rival on his sole start on these shores. Further down the handicap, Icario gets the services of this year’s Supreme winning jockey Jack Kennedy and he’s been unlucky not to get his head in front to date; he has a string of seconds in the form book but he’s another who could improve for drier ground.
- Long Call
- Divin Bere
Willie Mullins has an outstanding record in this event and his Carter McKay has been all the rage since winning emphatically at Naas, after which his trainer compared him favourably to his eight previous winners of this race. He should have a good chance of acquiring fantasy points but do bear in mind he has yet to run in a big field and we saw how a Mullins talking horse was touched off in the opener yesterday when Melon was denied. Dan Skelton saddles Cause Toujours who won his only previous bumper well and his trainer also has a good record in this sphere. Western Ryder looks to be another from the home team who could battle for the points, judged on his latest effort behind a smart horse. Whilst Irish Roe has already won at the track and will be a big price for those looking to claw back lots of fantasy points.
- Carter McKay
- Western Ryder
- Cause Toujours
It’s hard to get away from the claims of Bacardys in Wednesday’s opener and he’s likely to be the Telegraph Fantasy Racing banker for many. He was well on top at the line when last seen at Leopardstown and the trip should suit. The obvious danger is Neon Wolf who had several options coming into The Festival but he may want more cut in the ground to be fully effective. Keeper Hill is still unexposed and could be the each-way play in the race.
- Neon Wolf
- Keeper Hill
Finished: 1. Willoughby Court 14/1, 2. Neon Wolf 2/1f, 3. Messire Des Obeaux 8/1
Might Bite won’t take much finding in the market but he hasn’t been running in particularly competitive races recently and his stablemate looks more interesting at a slightly bigger price. O O Seven has already had success over 3m and he won at Cheltenham earlier in the season in a Class 2 event. He still looks to be improving and his trainer won this in 2012 with Bobs Worth. Bellshill would be an interesting contender on the form that saw him finish runner-up at Aintree and win at the Punchestown festival last year.
- O O Seven
- Might Bite
Finished: 1. Might Bite 7/2f, 2. Whisper 9/2, 3rd Bellshill 5/1