The Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide has been published for a 20th year in 2019 with Paul Ferguson, author of Jumpers to Follow, taking charge of the title for the first time.
Use the promo code 'CHELT' to get £5 off the guide
Building on the success of 2018, the Guide is now available as both a printed product and digitally as an e-book.
The successful previous association with Sporting Life continues and Paul will is accompanied by high class expert contributors, including the returning Ben Linfoot (see his Thursday excerpt, below) and joined this year by Jane Mangan, Rory Delargy and Ed Quigley.
With a plethora of Sporting Life team talent on hand, we will also have access to the insights of their stable of stars sprinkling additional quality throughout the publication.
Paul Jones, author of the first 16 years of the Guide, will be returning for the first time since 2015 to analyse the trends that have changed the most throughout the lifespan of this game-changing publication.
The core of the guide remains intact - providing expert trends analysis for all 28 races, with additional focus on the most-profitable trends to follow.
The guest authors provide four very different angles to enhance the most comprehensive Cheltenham Festival publication on the market. Experts and insiders from both sides of the Irish Sea will add unique insight and inspiration.
Ferguson includes key “Festival Horses” to Follow for the Spring, with for the first time, the Guide featuring key trends for the Aintree Grand National Festival and a comprehensive ante-post Grand National Preview.
The Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide is the first of its kind and was published on 21st February 2019.
For those purchasing the E-version of the book, there will be identical content to the printed Guide but with added features and editorials, plus odds feeds and key Festival updates during the countdown to Tuesday 12th March. Those subscribing to the digital Guide will also benefit from an exclusive post-Cheltenham Update with the focus on Aintree Festival developments.
Here's an excerpt from the book, with Ben Linfoot looking ahead to day three of the Cheltenham Festival...
Ben Linfoot - The Big Questions
Thursday – Day Three
Who are the progeny to look out for from king of the Festival sires, Robin Des Champs?
Talking of Quevega, we must acknowledge the impact that her recently deceased sire, Robin Des Champs, had at the Cheltenham Festival in recent years.
Obviously her six wins in the Mares’ Hurdle helped his strike-rate no end, but he was by no means a one-trick pony with five individual winners scoring for him at the meeting so far.
While King’s Theatre (15 Festival winners from 171 runners at 8.77%), Oscar (13/156 at 8.33%) and Presenting (15/216 at 6.94%) are three excellent sources of Cheltenham winners, Robin Des Champs simply blew them out of the water.
A staggering 14 winners from 47 runners at 29.79% is his record as things stand at the Cheltenham Festival, with Vautour (three wins), Sir Des Champs (two), Un Temps Pour Tout (two) and Blow By Blow adding to Quevega’s sextet of trophies.
Robin Des Champs only raced five times, all at Auteuil, all between March and June in 2000, winning his first four before finishing second on his final start.
Trained by the French master Guillaume Macaire, Robin Des Champs was purposely given a short life as a racehorse and not gelded in order to become a stallion, because his trainer felt he had the stature and the pedigree to become a major hit in the breeding world.
By Garde Royale, who was a son of Mill Reef, Macaire once said that Robin Des Champs was one of the best jump sires ‘because he dominated with his shoulders. This is important, because horses jump with their shoulders, not their bottoms.’
It’s a shame Sizing Tennessee was ruled out for the season only a month after his Ladbrokes Trophy win, as that son of Robin Des Champs would’ve been an intriguing contender for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup given how the Newbury form has been working out.
But Robin Des Champs should still be well represented at this year’s meeting.
Hell’s Kitchen will be a fascinating runner in whatever he goes for. Two from seven over fences, when he’s good he’s very good and he must be some tool to beat Janika like he did at Ascot.
Then there’s Tombstone, potentially well handicapped over fences for Gordon Elliott if returned to that sphere following a spell back hurdling. He’s never quite done it at the Festival, but it should be remembered he was sent off at 7/2 for the 2017 Coral Cup won by Supasundae, even if he did finish 22nd.
There could be more to come from him yet and the same comment applies to stablemate Blow By Blow, a winner of the Martin Pipe Conditionals Handicap Hurdle at last year’s Festival.
It’s not quite happened for him since being switched to novice chasing, but we know there’s an engine in there somewhere and in Elliott he’s with the right man who can find the key to him once again.
And, finally, watch out for his up-and-comers in the Martin Pipe. RDC progeny have won the race twice thanks to Sir Des Champs and Blow By Blow, and the likes of Robin De Carlow, First Approach and particularly Finawn Bawn and Encore Champs look likely types this time around.
Who doesn’t love the Pertemps series and Final over hurdles? How about having a similar chain of races over fences with a twist?
Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not one for radical change. Certainly not where the Cheltenham Festival is concerned. The thought of a five-day meeting sends shivers down my spine (in a bad way).
Similarly, I would hate to see something like the Veterans’ Chase Final moved to Cheltenham. Its position at Sandown in January lights up an otherwise dull weekend and it gives the old boys a platform that would just get lost among the behemoth that is the Fez.
But, with dull weekends in mind, I do think a Pertemps-style chase could both enhance a Cheltenham Festival handicap and brighten up a few Saturdays in the heart of the season at the same time as well.
I’m thinking an existing race, perhaps the Brown Advisory & Merribelle Stable Plate on the Thursday. Run over 2m4f and-a-bit, that’s a perfect distance as it would allow a variety of trips for the qualifiers.
As for the qualifying races let’s borrow and then tweak the tried-and-tested Pertemps formula. Around 15 qualifiers all over the UK and Ireland, with the first six qualifying to run in the Final if they’re rated highly enough.
One of the secrets of the success of the Pertemps is the first-six rule. Cheering home your long-term Festival fancy into fifth or sixth in a Pertemps qualifier is a beautiful part of the game, but it does make some of the qualifying races less competitive and less attractive betting heats on occasions.
So here comes the twist. How about a Win And You’re In concept? They work so well in other parts of the world like America and Australia and I firmly believe one for the Cheltenham Festival would really take off over here.
There’s a chance you might get the odd horse running from out of the weights in the Final, but so what? I don’t see that as an issue. And for some small-time owners winning one of the qualifying races with a horse that normally wouldn’t be good enough to run at the Festival would be akin to winning the lottery.
As for those horses that are only aiming for fifth or sixth? Well, tough. You might not get in. 15 places of the 24-runner field would be taken up by winners of the qualifiers, if they wanted to take their place, and that can only make for competitive and exciting heats during the winter.
The rest would qualify via the highest official ratings, if they ran in the first six in a qualifying race.
I’d like to see the first qualifier at Cheltenham’s October meeting and the last one on Imperial Cup Saturday at Sandown, three days before the start of the Festival. There could be a last-qualifier-plus-Festival bonus if a horse managed the two wins in a week, too.
That’s it, that’s my idea for tweaking the programme at the Cheltenham Festival. Don’t blame me when this is the sixth day feature in 2029.
Defi Du Seuil or Lostintranslation in JLT thrill-ogy?
All the good movies have sequels. Gremlins. Dumb And Dumber. Grease. You get the picture.
But trilogies? You simply can’t beat a trilogy. The Godfather. Evil Dead. The Matrix. Lord Of The Rings. The original Star Wars. And the doyen of all the trilogies; Back To The Future.
The Thursday of the Cheltenham Festival could kick off with the final part of a thrilling trilogy, as well, when Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation dust themselves down for The Decider in the JLT.
It’s one-a-piece heading into the Thursday opener following Lostintranslation’s win in the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and Defi Du Seuil’s leveller in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown on February 2.
There wasn’t much between the pair on either occasion, there’s unlikely to be much between them in the betting for the JLT and the likelihood is, judging by their two previous battles, there’ll be little between them as they go blow to blow for a third time.
Can Defi Du Seuil become the first Scilly Isles winner to land the JLT? Can Lostintranslation become the first Dipper winner to go on to Festival glory since My Way De Solzen back in 2007?
It’s coming soon. Defi Du Seuil v Lostintranslation III: The JLT. In a theatre in the Cotswolds, March 14.
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