Cheltenham 2014 Ante Post Portfolio

Having written about my betting year earlier in the week, and referenced some Cheltenham ante-post action, I thought I'd follow that up by sharing who I've backed and why. So far, I've only had a handful of bets and, in each case, I'm looking for a horse that has the potential to improve considerably on what it's shown already, whilst already having shown a good bit of class.

Most of my bets are struck with BetVictor, who offer the non-runner free bet concession* on all Cheltenham Festival races up to £50 per horse and £100 per race.

*If your horse doesn't run in the selected engagement, your stake is returned as a free bet to use on that day's Cheltenham racing.

So, here goes:

Tuesday

Supreme Novices' Hurdle - £50 win Dubai Prince 25/1

Rated a whopping 116 on the flat and a dual Group 3 winner in that sphere, John Ferguson referred to this one as "my secret weapon" in a recent interview. The bare form of his facile hurdling debut win is nothing special, but he jumped very well for his first race, and obviously has an engine. His trip on the level was nine furlongs, so he has every chance of getting the Supreme distance in a Championship contest.

It's clearly a speculative wager but, with non-runner free bet in my corner, 25/1 win only was too tempting to resist.

Champion Hurdle - £50 win Annie Power 16/1, £50 win Melodic Rendezvous 20/1

The market is quite tight at the top, and there's absolutely zero value in the prices of The New One, Our Conor, My Tent Or Yours, Jezki or Hurricane Fly. The New One could conceivably go for the World Hurdle, his Cheltenham novice win coming over 2m5f before he was beaten in more of a speed test by Zarkandar at Aintree.

Our Conor is an extremely talented four year old, who will battle with the five year old stat next year. He could overcome it, for sure, but at 5/1, he's no value for one so immature.

Hurricane Fly surely cannot win aged ten. Surely?! Especially against such a strong group of up and comers. My Tent Or Yours looked all mouth and no trousers when cruising into the Supreme last year and then getting outgunned by Champagne Fever; and Jezki's form is almost exclusively on soft ground.

Annie Power came into this season unbeaten in seven, and she extended that run to eight in the Coral Hurdle, a Grade 2 over two and a half miles, last weekend. She beat Zarakandar five lengths there, in receipt of eleven pounds and, to my eye at least, wasn't that impressive all things considered.

Her hurdling went to pot in the second half of the race, which is a worry. It's perfectly possible she'd jump better in a truer run affair, and the bookies seemed impressed enough, as they cut her to a best priced 12/1 (8/1 with Ladbrokes and Boylesports).

She too could go to the World Hurdle, or even the Mares' Hurdle, where she'd be up against stablemate, Quevega.

This selection was recommended by shrewdie, Nicky Doyle at 20/1 a couple of weeks ago.

My other Champion Hurdle pick, which could look very clever or very stupid by tomorrow night, is Melodic Rendezvous. He was good enough to win a Grade 1 novice event last year, beating the very highly thought of Pendra, and then hacking up from a possibly sub-par Puffin Billy in Listed company in February.

Injury saw him miss the Cheltenham Festival, but he got straight back on track this term when winning a Grade 2 at Wincanton from Far West, the horse which finished closest to Our Conor in the Triumph Hurdle. True, Far West was fifteen lengths behind Our Conor and only two behind Melodic Rendezvous. But Melodic Rendezvous was reckoned to be only 80% fit that day, and was easy to back all morning.

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He slipped on the turn into the straight, and then whacked the second last flight, but was still too good for his rivals. He faces a sterner test tomorrow in the Fighting Fifth, a Grade 1 at Newcastle, where he'll have My Tent Or Yours amongst others in opposition.

But My Tent Or Yours represents the same connections - Henderson, McManus, McCoy - that were beaten in three successive Fighting Fifths with the same short-priced favourite, Binocular, who was simply never fit enough to win the race. There's every chance that My Tent Or Yours will be similarly under-cooked and, if he is, Melodic Rendezvous has an even better chance of beating him.

If that comes to pass, whether it will be repeated at Cheltenham is another question. But one thing is for sure: Melodic Rendezvous will be half the price he is now. He's currently a 16/1 shot generally.

BetVictor ante post wagers to date.

BetVictor ante post wagers to date.

Friday

Gold Cup - £40 win Boston Bob 25/1, £20 win Lord Windermere 25/1

The Gold Cup was opened right up after the Betfair Chase last weekend, when reigning champ Bobs Worth ran a listless clunker. He's better than that, no doubt, and the fact he's now 5/1 (from 5/2) is tempting in itself. But it's always the second season chasers that catch the eye for this one - as Bobs Worth was last year.

Boston Bob was unlucky to fall at the last in the RSA Chase when leading his field, and he again tumbled at Punchestown when rallying, having been outpaced. In that somewhat unwieldy sentence are the key concerns with this fellow: his jumping can let him down, and he can hit a flat spot in his races.

Despite that, he's a classy animal and has two Grade 1's in the bag already, as well as a second to the ill fated Brindisi Breeze at the Festival. Whether he'd have won the RSA is a subject of some conjecture, and the horse that eventually benefitted from his departure was Lord Windermere, my other ante-post 'arrow'.

Greed got the better of me this time, and I struck the (admittedly, relatively small) wager with bet365 because I wanted the price - Victor was only 20/1.

My reasoning here is that RSA Chase winners tend to either get ruined (Boston’s Angel, Weapon’s Amnesty) or head to the very top (Bobs Worth, Albertas Run, Denman). As Lord Windermere runs in the Hennessy tomorrow, and his trainer has been quite bullish about his chance, he deserves a 'hail mary' punt, because I'd rather have the big price about the Gold Cup than the small price about the Hennessy, for better or worse.

Lord Windermere's form is closely tied in with Boston Bob's, so a win - or a strong effort - for him would actually be a collateral vote for Bob too.

In a race where I'm not that keen on Sir Des Champs (looked a non-stayer last year), Cue Card (definite non-stayer), or Dynaste (non-stayer), there has to be value further down the lists. I won't have long to wait to learn more on that front..!

What have you backed so far, and why? Leave a comment below, and clue us in! 😀

Lawd Windy-beer

Lawd Windy-beer

 

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13 replies
  1. Iain says:

    Hi Matt,

    Too soon for me to wager on Cheltenham but I do think that maybe at this meeting each way is more sensible, especially at the prices you have?

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      There’s not really any point in betting each way ante post on horses that may or may not get there. Ante post betting is like any other value game – beat the market.

      BetVictor are not NRFB on the place part of bets either, so no, win only is definitely the way to go. 🙂

      Matt

      • Tim says:

        Matt – T’s and C’s for VC clearly state that each way place is refunded

        ” In the case of an each-way bet that qualifies for a refund you will receive your win and place stake back in Promo Cash, capped as per the rules in points 3 and 4 above.”

        Max refund per horse is £50. So £50ew would only refund £50. Max per race is £100. So £50ew on two horses would refund you £100 (£50 for each)

        http://www.betvictor.com/sports/en-gb/content/cheltenham-festival-non-runner-free-bet

        Tim

        • Matt Bisogno says:

          Ah, thanks Tim – that’s very good information. My mistake.

          In any case, I’d still rather bet win only ante-post. But that is personal preference.

          Hope you’re keeping well – up the Vale. 😉

          Matt

  2. Dion says:

    Hi well good luck with those and brave of you to put them on the nose. I can never understand why other bookies don’t follow suit and give us NRNB on the festival now they are certainly missing a trick. More power to BetVictor though and they’ll scoop some early bets. Me I’ll wait a while and will more than likely follow the Irish again at the festival.

  3. Gary says:

    HI Matt, I have taken Boston Bob at 25.1 I will never forget the r.s.a chase where he came full of running only to fall . would of won without a doubt. cost me dearly. But for any errors he will surely be in with a shout come the day. Definately worth a punt. Gary.

  4. Ian says:

    More power to betvictor?? What a laugh they are along with £3.65. These firms close serious punters down swiftly and I’ve only had 3 different accs with them so far 🙂

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      It does make me chuckle when people moan about accounts being closed down. It can happen for a vast array of reasons. When it does, go to another bookmaker and get on with it. Stop whingeing! 😉

      Matt

  5. terry says:

    note the non-runner is not a refund but another bet on the same day at the festival

  6. jim says:

    You mention the £50 per horse £100 per race maximums. I presume there is an overall max too?
    Anybody know? (being lazy and not wanting to check all the small print)

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Yes, £500. Point 8 in the below:

      Terms & Conditions

      The terms below are clearly designed to protect BetVictor customers in the event that their antepost single selection in a race at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival is a non-runner.

      They are also designed to protect BetVictor from any potential abuse of this offer. Customers should ensure they are familiar with the offer terms before placing an antepost single bet where they believe they will then qualify for a free bet if that horse doesn’t run.

      General
      1. This offer is made in good faith and is designed to provide a form of insurance to customers who are unlucky enough to back a single selection antepost that fails to run in that race at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. This is the spirit with which the offer is made.
      2. We reserve the right to withdraw this offer or exclude from it any customers we believe are attempting to abuse the offer. Our decision as to what constitutes an abuse of the offer is final and binding.

      Specific
      3. The maximum refund per horse per customer is £50 in Promo Cash. If you back the same selection in more than one race at antepost level only your first bet on that selection is eligible for a refund. BetVictor will determine what your first bet is by using the lowest bet ID number on your bet slips. This information is clearly displayed in your account when you select an open bet.
      4. The maximum refund per race per customer is £100 in Promo Cash.
      5. Internet, Telephone & Mobile bets only.
      6. Real money Win singles and each-way single bets only shall count. Multiple bets are excluded. All Promo Cash bets are excluded. In the case of an each-way bet that qualifies for a refund you will receive your win and place stake back in Promo Cash, capped as per the rules in points 3 and 4 above.
      7. All refunds will be applied as Promo Cash and will be credited to the customer’s account before noon on the day of the race during the 2014 Cheltenham Festival in which the selection was a non-runner. For example: Bets on a non-runner in the Gold Cup would receive their Promo Cash refund on the morning of Gold Cup Day, 2014.
      8. The maximum total Promo Cash refund payable to any one customer shall be £500 in respect of this Cheltenham Festival Antepost Non-Runner – Free Bet concession. This does not affect your entitlement to Promo Cash rewards for other promotions and offers that BetVictor may make available from time to time.
      9. In the event that your selection becomes a non-runner on the day of the race (does not come ‘’under orders’’) your ante post bet will qualify for a refund where eligible but this refund will be processed within 24 hours of the race ending.
      10. All ‘Non Runner – Free Bet’ Promo Cash that is awarded must be used on the day that the race in question is run and must be used to place a bet on a horse racing market within that 24 hour period. It will expire 24 hours after it has been credited to your account.
      11. Apart from the specific rules above relating solely to races at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, BetVictor’s standard antepost rules remain in place for the these races and other races offered at antepost stage.
      12. Offer applies to all bets struck on antepost markets for all races at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, including bets placed before the announcement of Non-Runner – Free Bet.
      13. We reserve the right to exclude anyone from this offer at our sole discretion and we are not obliged to provide a reason.
      14. We reserve the right to amend or withdraw this offer at our sole discretion and without prior warning or communication.
      15. In all matters relating to this offer, BetVictor’s decision shall be binding and final.

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