Here are the Cheltenham tips for Friday 18 March 2022 from @cheltenhamtips on twitter.
Today’s Cheltenham tips from Oliver Holmes, successful Cheltenham tipster @Olii_holmes with a fantastic track record for Cheltenham 2022, 7 wins so far over 3 days and numerous places.
6 winning bets from 7 tips on Thursday including 16/1 and 20/1 places. Just Galopin Des Champs losing.
Odds correct at 6pm 17 March 2022 and subject to change. 18 years and older, please gamble responsibly.
Race One – 13:30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle – 2m 179yds – Grade One
This division has been one of the most exciting to watch this season. It will all conclude in the Triumph Hurdle, and we will find out which could be the new star of racing.
Vauban was beaten by the second favourite, Pied Piper who has shown his class around Cheltenham before. He won the Triumph trial race, leaving all his opponents in his wake. He will be challenged by a revitalised Vauban who now has a win under his belt, but course form does put an edge over your rivals in a quality field like this.
Vauban is the current favourite for Willie Mullins after his stunning performance at the Dublin Racing Festival in February. Whilst he has been beaten, on debut, he shows he has class and has an impressive turn of foot. It will be interesting to see the tactics of the race and how Vauban performs on a track like Cheltenham.
Fil Dor has two options to go to. The Triumph Hurdle is a quality field, but has been beaten by Vauban and would face his stablemate Pied Piper, or he could go to the Fred Winter, where he does have a decent handicap mark and may look more enticing than the Triumph Hurdle. Wherever he goes he is a quality horse, and there was no shame in being beaten by Vauban. His record was fantastic before and is still a quality horse.
Porticello leads the British hopes in the race. He won the Grade One Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow, which is a positive and won by 17 lengths last time out at Haydock on heavy ground, which shows versatility when it comes to ground conditions. He will relish the challenge and may cause an upset.
One horse who should definitely be further up in the betting is Knight Salute. So far, he is five out of five over hurdles, including a win in the Triumph Trial in November. He beat Porticello in a Grade Two at Doncaster in December and won well in the Adonis at Kempton in February. The quality of the field may show the true ability of this young juvenile, but don’t rule him out.
VERDICT: The rematch between Vauban and Pied Piper 3/1 WIN will be interesting and based on the fact that Pied Piper has won over course and distance, he is my pick.
Each-way chance: Doctor Parnassus staked his claim at Market Rasen last time out. Should be an interesting watch. The best price is 14/1.
Race Two – 14:10 – McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle – 2m 179yds – Grade Three
Once again, this race is hard to call at this stage as some horses hold multiple entries into other races, but there are some that have been aimed at this race.
State Man holds multiple entries and there has been no word or confirmation from connections as to where this horse is heading. He finally broke his maiden by winning by 12 lengths and shows a lot of talent to run in any race.
Top Bandit is a horse who is defiantly being aimed here, and has for some time. The six-year-old has won three on the spin, including a four-length win last time out. His rating has shot up to 139, but for the course winner back in October, he shouldn’t be too fazed by that.
West Cork is another talented horse who has won at this level, and over this course. Back in November, he won the Greatwood, snatching the win from Adagio. He finished a decent fifth last time out in December at Ascot and is off the same mark again for this race.
Colonel Mustard looks like another horse who is heading here, but holds an outside entry in the Ballymore. If he does choose to race here, then it could be the right one. He has form, finishing in the places behind Jonbon and Sir Gerhard. He will go off the same mark as he did when finishing in third behind Sir Gerhard.
I Like To Move It is another likeable horse from the Nigel Twiston-Davies stable. After three wins at the start of this season, including a win around Cheltenham in November. His form dipped a little, but came roaring back to finish in second place in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. He’s been raised four pounds in the ratings, which is a fair mark for this horse.
VERDICT: West Cork 8/1 WIN is a talented horse and could be up for another win at Cheltenham. Best price is 8/1.
Race Three – 14:50 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – 2m 7F 213yds – Grade One
This race often throws up an interesting result, and each horse who wins this race can go in any direction they want, whether it be Gold Cup chasing or Stayers’ Hurdling.
Ginto was confirmed to run in this race this week rather than the Ballymore. The Gordon Elliott-trained hopeful won the Lawlor’s Of Naas Hurdle back in January and has been unbeaten so far this season. He hasn’t been tested over three miles, but he looks the progressive sort and jumps his hurdles fluently and effortlessly, and has plenty of stamina to last him.
As does his English rival Hillcrest. This is trainer Henry Daly’s best chance of Festival winner and he looks the sort who can handle the track. He unseated in the Ballymore trial on trials day, but won a previous Ballymore trial at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. His latest win was his first test at the distance in a bog at Haydock, and handled the ground well, and his jumping was good too. He’ll relish his chance at the track.
Minella Cocooner sprang a surprise in Ireland after winning at the Dublin Racing Festival in February. He made all of the running setting an even gallop throughout in what was a pretty open race. This time, he’ll need to produce a big challenge if he’s going to win again.
A lot of punters like Bardenstown Lad, and they’re not wrong. He won by a length at Cheltenham in October and was seen once more when he headed up to Musselburgh for the Scottish Stayers’ Novice Hurdle, which he won with minimal fuss and ease.
Each-way choice: Stag Horn has a decent chance. He is two out of two over hurdles including a Grade Two at Warwick. Best price is 12/1, some are offering between 8/1 and 10/1 as well.
Race Four – 15:30 – Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup – 3m 2F 70yds – Grade One
The highlight of the week is always one of the best races of the entire week, and this renewal of the famous race could be better than most.
A Plus Tard was narrowly beaten by Minella Indo last year and is out for vengeance this time around. He won the Betfair Chase at Haydock in an awesome display but was shouldered out by Galvin when he raced over Christmas at Leopardstown. He hasn’t won at Cheltenham since he won a listed novices’ handicap chase during the 2019 Festival, which he won by 16 lengths. Will this be the year he doesn’t fall short?
Galvin nabbed victory form A Plus Tard over Christmas and has bags of stamina too. He almost beat Frodon at Down Royal at the start of the year, which shows he can say on until the very end. He also won the National Hunt Challenge Cup last year, which shows he is a natural stayer, and looks like a perfect fit for the race.
Protektorat is a horse who has flew under the radar, but has been picked up by punters and is now Britain’s best hope of winning the Gold Cup. After finishing second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November at Cheltenham, he went to Aintree demolished the field winning by an astonishing 25 lengths. Not been seen since December, can he convert such a big winning margin into Gold Cup success?
Former winners like Minella Indo and Al Boum Photo are still up for a chance. Minella Indo has had a poor season, not performing well in at Down Royal and pulling up in the King George. He did stay on in the Irish Gold Cup, but Conflated left him in his wake. Al Boum Photo has had the exact same preparation as he has done for every Gold Cup by winning at Tramore on New Year’s Day, but he is now a 10-year-old and will the younger horses get the better of him?
VERDICT: Galvin 10/3 WIN is a proven stayer and stays on well, even if he falls short. He is a plucky and a likeable horse and may give Gordon Elliott his first Gold Cup victory since Don Cossack in 2016. Bets price is 7/2.
Each-way choice: Tornado Flyer surprised the entire racing scene by winning the King George on Boxing Day. It’s unlikely that he’ll repeat the Grade One feat, but he can get into the places.
Race Five – 16:10 – St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase – 3m 2F 70yds
The traditional Hunters’ Chase calms all the excitement down after such a dramatic Gold Cup. But this year looks to ramp up the excitement more, with some talented amateur horses.
Billaway is the favourite for this race after success for the first time this season at Naas, which was the scene of his last win 12 months ago. Since then, he has been edged out by his rivals in this race, but has gone off favourite for each of his races in the past 12 months, and looks to be here as well.
Winged Leader beat Billaway by 12 lengths and has been unbeaten since last April, including a 30 length victory in a point-to-point. He also dead-heated his first race this Winter in another point-to-point on soft ground. The ground should be in his favour to keep his unbeaten streak going.
Bob And Co has nosed out Billaway too, but since then has fell short in two seconds, over both good and heavy ground. Once again, the ground may turn out perfect by Friday to get his first win since April.
Point Aven also looks like a really interesting pick. He has won his last two by a combined distance of 46 lengths, in a point-to-point and at Ludlow in February. He is hitting a purple patch as his last win before his 30-length point-to-point success, came in 2019 at Wexford.
VERDICT: It’s really hard to predict this race, as all the horses are amateurs. But Winged Leader 9/2 WIN should have everything in his favour when it comes to post time.
Each-way choice: Cousin Pascal also has beaten Billaway and Bob And Co and has a decent form line too.
Race Six – 16:50 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase – 2m 4F 127yds – Grade Two
This newly established mares’ chase produced a cracker of a race last year when Colreevy denied Elimay victory up the hill. Can Elimay go one better this year?
The market certainly thinks so. She won of soft to heavy ground last time out at Naas winning by five lengths over a shorter distance. Over the two-and-a-half miles, she has finished third and second, losing out by half a length to Mount Ida. She has great staying power but her rivals might deny her again.
Mount Ida, hasn’t only beaten Elimay she has also won at Cheltenham, which puts her at a massive advantage, winning the Kim Muir last year. She did lose out to Elimay last April, but triumphed over her on New Year’s Day and has been unbeaten this season.
Concertista can also throw her hat into the ring as well after winning well in two Grade Two’s this season, so is perfectly fine at this level. She was beaten by a head at Cheltenham last year in the Mares’ Hurdle, but has been excellent since chasing.
VERDICT: Mount Ida 2/1 WIN has course form behind her, which counts for a lot in any race, which is why she’s my pick for the penultimate race of the Festival.
Race Seven – 17:30 – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle – 2m 4F 56yds
The final race of this year’s festival. Let’s hope it ends on a high. After all, this race did produce Galopin Des Champs last year. Could we see a future Festival legend out of this year’s renewal?
Langer Dan holds an entry for the Coral Cup, but is more suited to come here. He finished behind Galopin in last year’s race, and after finishing last in a handicap hurdle at Taunton, he’s been dropped three pounds, which may help get back to his best.
Chemical Energy hasn’t been seen since November in a rated novice hurdle, where he won by almost two lengths. He has form by losing out to My Mate Mozzie earlier on in the season but also showed his talent by winning 11 lengths in a maiden hurdle.
Adamantly Chosen holds two other entities, including the Ballymore, but is definitely suited for this race. Two wins and two seconds can’t be disgraced, including a 37 length win last time out in February. The step-up in trip should help compliment such a destructive winning margin.
VERDICT: Langer Dan 5/1 WIN doesn’t face a horse quite so talented as Galopin Des Champs, and is off a decent mark.
Each-way choice: I A Connect, for Gordon Elliott, wins races by heads, shoulders and nostrils, but that’s a testament to his character and could end up around the places.