Cheltenham 2018: It’s always an interesting time of year the month before Cheltenham. Almost like a boxing bout, you see trainers bigging up their chances and discussing their potential champions.
What it does do is give you a good idea of where the contenders are at, particularly as many trainers will announce whether a horse will actually be entered, ideal for the ante post bet.
This year there’s been plenty of talk among trainers, and we take a look at three of the leaders ahead of the first raceday on March 13.
Nicky Henderson will be eyeing up a Gold Cup win once again this year and claim the crown that he last won back in 2013 with Bobs Worth. His main contender this year is Might Bite who has been heavily tipped by Tipsfix horse racing tips to top the Cheltenham Gold Cup odds at 3/1.
Henderson has claimed he’s in been in excellent form at home and is running better than he was this time last year when he almost threw away the RSA Chase last year.
Elsewhere, Henderson has been touting Buveur D’Air for a win, with him getting a run out at Kempton first ahead of the Champion Hurdle. He’s favourite for that race while Cheltenham’s most successful trainer also has the favourite for the Queen Mother in his stables in Altior.
Last year’s winner with Sizing John will be wanting her 6/1 shot to cross the line first once again. It was a bit of a shock for Harrington last year and Robbie Power will try to ride him to victory again, while Our Duke will push him all the way at 8/1.
It’s likely going to be a successful festival for Harrington who also has Supasundae riding in the Stayers’ Hurdle. He won the Irish Grand National, beating Faugheen recently with Harrington claiming the ground will suit him even better at Cheltenham. Supersundae is another favourite at 10/3 and she’s confident in all competing stable ahead of next month.
Colin Tizzard has high hopes for this Cheltenham, with Native River the horse he’s backing to win the Gold Cup. The 8-year-old is second favourite and Tizzard fancies him to surpass his third placed finish last year.
He’s still a little unsure where he may place Cue Card, with the horse also a potential Gold Cup runner or a Ryanair Chase contender. If the latter he’ll join Fox Norton, an 11/2 shot for the race.
What is interesting though is that Tizzard is going to keep options open, with Fox Norton potentially going into the Champion Chase to take on standout favourite Altior should other trainers not fancy taking him on.