Cheltenham Festival 2013: A working person's guide to Wednesday

Sprinter Sacre is so much faster than this field that there is littlepoint in opposing him

Forced to work for a living nowadays, Jack Houghton has had to come up with profitable punting strategies that don't rely on hours of form study. Having outlined the tenets of successful Festival betting earlier in the week, here he previews Wednesday's card, where he reckons that Sprinter Sacre is impossible to oppose.

"Sprinter Sacre ([1.32]) is around half-a-stone better than any of these according to the speed ratings, and it is likely that only Sizing Europe will be able to finish within a wide-angled lens of him."

Jack Houghton

Jack Houghton


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John Oaksey National Hunt Chase
Applying our speed-rating rule immediately rules-out most of these, leaving us with only Tofino Bay ([11.0]), Buddy Bolero ([7.00]) and Our Island ([80.0]) as likely contenders. Given Our Island has a dodgy record around Cheltenham he might be one to avoid, so I'll be splitting my stake in the win market between the other two.

Neptune Investment Management Novices´ Hurdle
With many of the four-day entries for this opting for Tuesday's Supreme Novices', this race is not as strong as it could be, but unfortunately our speed-rating filter returns the top four in the market, which doesn't make things much clearer for us. Of the top four, neither Rule The World ([7.60]), Pont Alexandre ([2.52]), or Taquin Du Seuil ([7.00]) have run at Cheltenham before, and whilst this is no guarantee that they won't do so on their track debut, I'd be inclined to support The New One ([5.80]) at the likely odds.

RSA Chase
Although Boston Bob may have the best form coming into this race, he's yet to post a really fast time in a race, which suggests he might struggle to get the better of Unioniste and Houblon Des Obeaux in a true-run race. With this in mind, I'll be laying Boston Bob in the win and place markets at around [4.80] and [1.90] respectively. I'll also be splitting my win stake and supporting Unioniste ([4.70]) and Houblon Des Obeaux ([14.0]) in the win market.

Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase
By my reckoning, Sprinter Sacre ([1.32]) is around half-a-stone better than any of these according to the speed ratings, and it is likely that only Sizing Europe will be able to finish within a wide-angled lens of him. I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone from lumping-on Sprinter Sacre, although I'll be sitting the race out myself.

Coral Cup
Six of these qualify on the basis of their performances against the clock, but it is Buck Magic ([30.0]) and Barbatos ([25.0]) who make most appeal when taking into account their Cheltenham form, and although it looks like you will all-but be able to name your price on Timesawastin ([180.0]), it might be worth a speculative punt that this horse with good course form, who excels in soft ground, could spring a surprise.

Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
With many of these being lightly raced and the handicap well constructed, our filters do little to reduce this field down to a manageable number. Nine of these qualify in terms of the clock, and eight of those are debuting at the track. Of those, though, Counsel ([20.0]) looks the exceptional bet at the odds, as the handicapper looks to have been kind to him when considering the excellent time he posted at Sedgefield on his last appearance.

Weatherbys Champion Bumper
With so little form to go on, and with reliable speed ratings for bumpers so difficult to come by, I'll be steering clear of this race. Vieux Lion Rouge would carry my money if forced to bet - as he's posted the best figures of any of these so far - but it's entirely likely that a number in here will improve on what they have shown so far.

*All odds quoted are a guide and you are recommended to take Betfair SP.

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