It’s the fixture on the racing calendar that stands out most and it’s about to get underway. Cheltenham 2020 is almost upon us and SportPesa are massively excited about what the next few days potentially holds. Here, we look at the festival on the opening two days as we identify a number of selections that could well be worth keeping an eye on.
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Day One: Tuesday 10th March
Getting the festival underway is the eagerly anticipated Supreme Novices and SportPesa currently can’t separate the two leading names as Shishkin and Asterion Forlonge lead the betting. Despite it looking like a two-horse race on paper, our tip to go well here is the vastly underrated Abacadabras. Trained by Gordon Elliot, Abacadabras enters this race in fine form and will be confident of causing a minor shock in the opening race.
Elsewhere on day one, all eyes will be on Notebook with Rachel Blackmore widely tipped to ride the Henry De Bromhead trained horse to glory. With Notebook currently trading around the 5/2 mark, racegoers may seek value elsewhere and if that’s the case then Rouge Vif has to be the pick. Placed in its last six races, Vif looks set to go well again and a current price of 12/1 with SportPesa is hard to ignore.
In the Champion Hurdle, Pentland Hills looks a strong choice in a competitive field that is currently being led in the betting stakes by Epatante. Although these two horses appear logical choices when selecting the victor, it could be worth monitoring Sharjah. Trained by Willy Mullins, the seven-year-old is a quality horse and can surprise the leading pack by putting in a strong showing.
Day one picks: Abacadabras, Rouge Vif, and Sharjah
Day Two: Wednesday 11th March
A number of big hitters are in action on Cheltenham day two with some big priced favourites aiming to enhance their reputation. In the 14:10 RSA Insurance Novice, a number of horses will fancy glory with several top competitors vying for top prizes. Copperhead and Minella Indo are two horses earning widespread plaudits, but their quest for success at Cheltenham could be thwarted by Champ, and it’s the Nicky Henderson trained horse that earns our pick.
Another Henderson horse grabbing headlines recently is Altior and doubts exist whether an appearance will be made by a horse battling for full fitness. Despite enduring an indifferent approach to Cheltenham, Altior has to be backed if he’s able to participate, but for those unwilling to take a chance, the selection in the Queen Mother Champion Chase has to be Defi Du Seuil.
Another notable name in Wednesday’s talent-laden field in Tiger Roll. The two-time Grand National winner is going for a hatrick at Aintree next month, but his immediate attention is on the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham. Although he might get pushed by Easyland, Tiger Roll knows the course well and he should be backed to perform well here and take his excellent form into Aintree following a successful stint at Cheltenham.
Day two picks: Champ, Defi Du Seuil, Tiger Roll