Less than 48 hours to go until the 2019 Cheltenham Festival kicks off and here are some lively bets for the four days of blistering action ahead.
Cobden is an emerging force in the weighing room and is thriving since being given the job of number one jockey for Paul Nicholls. The Ditcheat yard of the former champion trainer is enjoying a great season and Cobden is a big part of the reason why.
He was ice-cool on board Malaya to win the Imperial Cup at Sandown on Saturday, staying calm after a major error at the second last when others would surely have panicked.
His chief mission this week will be to guide King George winner Clan Des Obeaux to glory in the Gold Cup, for which they are 4/1 to win.
However, with the Nicholls string in excellent form, Cobden could be amongst the winners long before Friday and he is a value shout against the likes of Ruby Walsh, Jack Kennedy and Barry Geraghty to be top jockey.
An easy way to have an interest in all 28 Festival races, this is an age-old battle between the home team of Great Britain and the raiding Irish party to win the most races at Cheltenham.
Ireland has held sway of late but, with Willie Mullins’ powers seemingly diluted and the aforementioned Nicholls team flying, Britain are a fair bet to come out on top.
Altior, Buveur D’Air and Paisley Park are short prices in three of the Championship races, while Native River and Clan Des Obeaux could see off Presenting Percy in the Gold Cup.
It is expected to be a closely run race, ensuring the underdogs are slight value. It might even be a tie, priced at 7/1.
Punters will be looking at multiples and these three have very strong claims. Benie Des Dieux won the Mares’ Hurdle last year and Ruby Walsh, the all-time leading rider at the Cheltenham Festival, has pinpointed her as his best chance of a winner this time.
Tiger Roll won the Cross Country last time and went on to take the Aintree National. He is a Festival legend, having also won a Triumph Hurdle and a four-miler.
As tough as they come, he warmed up by winning a Grade 2 hurdles race in Ireland despite trainer Gordon Elliott suggesting he was ‘only 75 per-cent fit’.
Sir Erec, a high-class performer on the Flat, is two from two over hurdles and looks set to give Joseph O’Brien his second win in the Triumph Hurdle come Friday’s opener.
Fingers crossed all three favourites can do their stuff!
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