In the competitive crucible of the Cheltenham Festival, more-generous each-way terms can save your week, writes Jack Houghton, who thinks My Tent Or Yours can go close in the Champion Hurdle...
"Quite why My Tent Or Yours is a whopping 16/1 for Champion Hurdle glory is beyond me..."
This is our first Cheltenham Festival armed with Each Way Edge: the chance to adjust the place terms of our bets as we see fit. As previewed, it allows punters to adopt a more conservative approach to their betting by opting for a pay-out on more places - which might be the key to surviving this week of ultra-competitive racing - or, if they are feeling punchy, to increase potential returns by reducing the places that pay.
This week I'll be previewing the best opportunities to use Each Way Edge to our advantage. Odds are correct at the time of writing. Here are Tuesday's selections:
As is usually the case in the Festival opener, we have a lightly-raced Irish hotpot that has been visually impressive in its races, while not necessarily showing anything on the clock or in the formbook that warrants the short odds. Melon may turn out to be a superstar, but in the cauldron of the Supreme Novices', I won't be taking 3/1 to find out.
According to my ratings, River Wylde, Ballyandy, Elgin and Cilaos Emery are the most likely winners, and at the odds, Elgin looks the most attractive. He gets 3lbs back for a 3½-length beating at Kempton from River Wylde, where he would have been closer with a better jump at the last. Using Each Way Edge to increase the places to 1/5 odds for the first five, 15/1 looks an attractive bet.
It is very difficult to argue against Altior adding to his Supreme Novices' win at last year's Festival; by my ratings he's around a stone better than the rest here. Behind him, though, there is little to separate the rest, and in a nine-runner graded race, Each Way Edge therefore offers some options.
As a nine-year-old who transferred out of the Nicholls' operation, Some Plan is not going to be high on many punters' lists, but his - admittedly fortuitous - win at Leopardstown reads next-best after Altior's performances on the clock. Increasing the place-terms to first four still offers a cracking 16/1, which, provided Some Plan jumps well, looks value.
Quite why My Tent Or Yours is a whopping 16/1 for Champion Hurdle glory is beyond me. A close second in the race last year, with that winner not returning, he would seem an obvious choice. The market, though, is clearly reacting to a series of what look like indifferent runs this season. What the market is failing to account for, though, is that those runs have been in conditions - slowly run races, in small fields - that do not suit My Tent Or Yours.
Every time the horse has run in a competitive, high-paced race, he has delivered, posting three separate times that are faster than anything else in this field, with only The New One getting close on the clock. Reducing the odds on My Tent Or Yours to 12/1, but increasing the places to first four, looks the best bet.
For more on Each-Way Edge, take a look at our video...
For all the latest Cheltenham betting tips and previews, check out our dedicated Festival category.