Bookies' verdict: Cheltenham Day 1

  • Last Updated: March 11 2013, 13:41 GMT

We ask the leading layers for their thoughts ahead of day one of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.

Hurricane Fly: The layers are out to get him
Hurricane Fly: The layers are out to get him

My Tent Or Yours, Simonsig, Hurricane Fly and Quevega are all short-priced favourites on day one.

1. Which of these will you be keen to take on?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet Hurricane Fly. We're not convinced by his form in Ireland and he looks to have some fierce rivals in Zarkandar, Grandouet and last year's winner Rock On Ruby.

David Stevens, Coral It's the most competitive meeting of the year, so we'll have to lay all four, but of the quartet, Simonsig faces a top class rival in Overturn and looks vulnerable at odds-on, while Hurricane Fly could finish only third last year and may have to settle for a place again.

Charlie McCann, BetVictor The Fly has won sub-standard Grade 1's this season in Ireland and there have been mixed messages with regard to his well-being in his build up to the race.

Pat Cooney, bet365 Hurricane Fly is the most vulnerable here, the other 3 are clear on all ratings.

David Williams, Ladbrokes All bar Simonsig. My Tent Or Yours could be particularly vulnerable getting out of the car park that can often be the Supreme Novices. Hurricane Fly has stats to overcome and has never struck me as a horse in love with Cheltenham whilst Quevega will one day run up against something that serves it up to her. That's three but getting two right wouldn't be bad and we'd drive home happily enough with the Meatloaf CD on.

Paddy Power, Paddy Power Hurricane Fly....but I guess we're doing that already by giving money back on all losers if he wins!!

Rory Jiwani, Stan James We have to take on My Tent Or Yours in the opener. Favourites have a poor record in the Supreme and he's too short given that he's never seen Cheltenham and there wasn't a great deal of pace on when he won at Newbury last time out. In the StanJames Champion Hurdle, Hurricane Fly is too short based on his two wins this season which have been little more than racecourse gallops on soft ground. We'll be top price every runner in both races and quick ground and a searching gallop should help us get both favourites beaten.

2. Is there one of the four you just can't see getting beat, that you'll be ducking?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet Quevega. She'll win again won't she? Willie Mullins is the master at getting her ready for the spring and nothing stands out among her rivals.

David Stevens, Coral Quevega. She doesn't run very often, but has made the weakest race of the Festival her own, and a fifth win in the Mares' Hurdle looks a formality.

Charlie McCann, BetVictor Quevega is a class apart and I don't think any horse will ever win the same race five times at Cheltenham again; let's hope we see history being made.

Pat Cooney, bet365 They're all beatable eventually! Simonsig has only one serious rival in Overturn and I expect him to win.

David Williams, Ladbrokes Simonsig. And the best thing for him will be the presence of Overturn who will set the race up perfectly for him and reduce it to a lap of honour. I can see this being dial-a-distance stuff for the brilliant grey. It'll be a small field and a procession for the favourite.

Paddy Power, Paddy Power Quevega.

Rory Jiwani, Stan James Quevega. She is impossible to oppose given that she's had the same prep as in previous years.

3. How costly would it be if all four were to go in?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet It would be a terrible start for us and if the other three favourites went in as well it would very much be 7-0 to the punters on day one. That would be hard to recover from.

David Stevens, Coral I'd rather not think about it! It would be a shocker, possibly the most expensive day in Festival history, and the bookies would be cancelling their Easter holidays. But it's not going to happen!

Charlie McCann, BetVictor It just doesn't bear thinking about!

Pat Cooney, bet365 Don't even go there! All four winning on the opening day would be terrible, and give us poor bookmakers a mountain to climb for the rest of the meeting.

David Williams, Ladbrokes We'd still come back on the Wednesday. You've got to show the bunny to the dogs so the opening day is the best day of the four to let the punters have a field day.

Paddy Power, Paddy Power Bloodbath. We're currently waiting on NASA to get back to us with an exact figure.

Rory Jiwani, Stan James Very. As well as singles, they will all be in various multiple bets which could cost us a shedload.


Bet of the week

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Our Mick

David Stevens, Coral: Overturn (Arkle)

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Sir Des Champs Gold Cup

Pat Cooney, bet365: Sam Winner -Pertemps Hurdle

David Williams, Ladbrokes: Toner D'Oudairies in whatever race he runs in.

Paddy Power, Paddy Power: Pont Alexandre

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Captain Conan in the Jewson


Lay of the week

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Cue Card

David Stevens, Coral: Simonsig (Arkle)

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Dynaste RSA Chase

Pat Cooney, bet365: Ballynagour in whatever race he's goes for.

David Williams, Ladbrokes: My Tent Or Yours.

Paddy Power, Paddy Power: Hurricane Fly

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Hurricane Fly in the StanJames Champion Hurdle


Top trainer - Henderson or Mullins?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Henderson

David Stevens, Coral: Henderson

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Mullins

Pat Cooney, bet365: Henderson

David Williams, Ladbrokes: Henderson

Paddy Power, Paddy Power: Henderson

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Henderson


Top jockey - Geraghty or Walsh?

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Geraghty

David Stevens, Coral: Geraghty

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Walsh or Russell

Pat Cooney, bet365: Geraghty

David Williams, Ladbrokes: Geraghty

Paddy Power, Paddy Power: Geraghty

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Geraghty


One horse to note in the handicaps

Michael Shinners, Sky Bet: Saphir de Rheu

David Stevens, Coral: Pendra (Coral Cup)

Charlie McCann, BetVictor: Edmund Kean

Pat Cooney, bet365: Kid Cassidy-Grand Annual

David Williams, Ladbrokes: Bondage (Coral Cup)

Paddy Power, Paddy Power: Our Mick in the JLT

Rory Jiwani, Stan James: Court Minstrel in the County Hurdle - needs quick ground and he may get that on the final day.