It's just one week until the Cheltenham Festival starts next Tuesday, dear reader, and - unless you've been living under a rock - you'll have started to formulate some views on who might come home in front in at least a few of the 27 races held during the meeting.
This is also the time when the bookmakers traditionally offer more value than usual. For instance, who can ever remember William Hill being best price on most horses at the top of the market?! Well, they are now. Shunning the bonus culture which most of their competitors have adopted, Hills have embraced the simple mantra of 'back your horse at the best odds here'.
Totally fair enough, and let's give credit where it's due. I do rarely give credit to Hills because they are generally tight as the proverbial when it comes to their odds.
One thing that lets them down currently, and here we probably can't have our ante-post cake and eat it, is that they are not going non-runner no bet (NRNB) yet on all races.
A few firms are offering this concession now, which as I mentioned last week, is great if you fancy one that has multiple entries. But one really good concession, which obviously worked for them last year as they've repeated the dose this time, is Paddy Power's money back if Cue Card wins offer.
PP's offer is this: back any horse you like in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and if Cue Card wins, you'll get your money back. So, if you backed Gibb River for instance, you'd have that one running for you.
If Gibb River finished nowhere, but Cue Card won, you'd get your money back on the Gibb River bet.
The 'only' way you can lose with this bet is if both your selection and Cue Card fail to win. I say 'only' because of course there's a good chance of that happening!
But having a 2/1 chance in your corner definitely adds a lot of value to any other horse you might back.
My initial 2011 Supreme Novices Hurdle thoughts were posted here: http://www.geegeez.co.uk/supreme-novices-hurdle-2011-preview/
Since then, not too much has happened to change my mind, and I still think Gibb River offers good value at a reasonable price, because this race does tend to be won by one of the numerous improvers in the field. Cue Card has shown a very high level of form, but is more exposed than some in the field, such as Gibb River.
This is the trend from previous years.
With that in mind, and all of the other lines of consideration from the previous post, my three against the field are Gibb River, for reasons already mentioned (another facile win since the first post has proved nothing except he remains of huge potential); Magen's Star, from Tom Stack's yard (she may just want it softer so the fact that Paddy Power offer non-runner no bet insures against that - she's also in the Mares' Hurdle, but we're covered by NRNB also if she goes that route); and, Rathlin (bolted up last time in a decent race, and has huge scope for improvement).
Best odds are Gibb River 20/1 (the same price with PP); Magen's Star (40/1 totesport, NRNB; 28/1 PP); and Rathlin (66/1 VC; 50/1 PP NRNB).
Obviously, the best known form is Cue Card's. So if nothing improves past him, he will likely win. I watched his defeat by Menorah this morning and he pulled very hard early on. If he did that again, he'd find little at the end again, though he may not have to.
In any case, if he does win, you'll get your dough back on the others. At this point, I was planning to add my affiliate link here so that if you opened an account to take advantage of this Paddy Power offer, I'd get a small introductory fee.
But I can't find it, and I want you to avail yourself of this offer if you'd like to anyway!
So here is the non-affiliate link. Buy me a pint if your horse or Cue Card wins... 🙂
Stop press, I've just found my affiliate link. If you like the above offer and want to cut me in on the deal (!), click this blatant affiliate link here.