It's the first day of the Cheltenham Festival and the money has come in for warm favourite Vroum Vroum Mag in the Mares Hurdle. However, she is just one of the Follow The Money team's three selections at Cheltenham...
We start the day at the Mares Hurdle that takes place at 16:10 where Vroum Vroum Mag has been a favourite that has been strong in the market, supported from 2.26/5 in to an available 1.865/6. The last of Willie Mullins' high profile runners on the opening day of the Festival should hold every chance after stable mate Annie Power opted to go for the Champion Hurdle given Faugheen's withdrawal through injury.
The trainer has an impeccable record in this race having won it in the last seven successive seasons and in Vroum Vroum Mag has an excellent chance of making that eight. This mare is yet to lose a race for this stable and notched up win number eight when winning comfortably in a Grade 2 event at Ascot back in January. It's also worth mentioning that four of those eight wins have come over today's trip of 2m4f and the fact main market rival Polly Peachum has drifted a couple of points in the market only strengthens this short price favourite's claims. Given Mullins' record in this race it's difficult to look past this mare and this is a perfect opportunity for her to get a debut win at the Festival and show the racing world how good she is.
One negative move that has really caught the eye is Minella Rocco who runs in the Challenge Cup at 16:50, moving from 5.95/1 to 9.417/2. An expensive addition for owner JP McManus this one really caught the eye at a Grade 2 event at Ascot last time out when coming from last to second in the closing stages of the race. That run suggested that he should be a major player in this race and dismissed whether he would have the stamina to stay out this trip.
There are however huge question marks over his ability to tackle this course, having had two runs here, pulling up on one occasions and finishing tamely in the other and there looks to be much better options elsewhere in this field. Southfield Royale comes in to this contest in good form and looks well set up to be competitive in this race and Ballychorus should hold every chance should she get round. The drift should be a major concern to punters in a very competitive field and being such a solid favourite last night this looks one to avoid today and we're happy to put this one up as a place lay at a price of 3.55.
Our last selection runs in the last of the day, the 17:30, where we have seen Double Shuffle shorten up from 14.5 in to 11.521/2. Double Shuffle has racecourse experience here having run twice at Cheltenham already this season in better company where he finished second and fourth respectively. He comes in to this affair on the back of a useful win at Ludlow on handicap debut and looks to be one who is open to improvement. The ground should offer no concerns nor should the distance having won over the trip previously.
Trainer Tom George is a trainer in a spot of form having had three winners from 13 in the last fortnight and jockey Paddy Brennan comes to this festival in good form with a solid 16% strike rate so far this season. With no other real positive movers in this competitive field it looks worth following the money in this one, who has shown he is capable of handling the track and should be able to offer more. We're happy to play it safe here and with four places on offer the each way bet looks the wise call.
Back Vroum Vroum Mag @ 1.865/6 16:10 Cheltenham
Lay Minella Rocco in the Place Market @ 3.55 16:50 Cheltenham
Back Double Shuffle Each Way @ 11.521/2 17:30 Cheltenham
Follow The Money bring you their three best bets every day on Betting.Betfair.
Day One Offer: Back a 3/1 winner and get THREE free bets
Yes that's right - back any winner at 3/1 or higher on Tuesday at Cheltenham and we'll give you three free bets to the same value as your stake, up to £/€25. Sportsbook bets only, T&Cs apply.
Follow The Money February P/L
Staked: 87 pts
Returned: 91.7 pts
P/L: + 4.7 pts
For February, calculated before commission, based on prices at time of publication