It's the eve of Cheltenham's fizz-goggling Festival, dear reader and, in the spirit of openness and to show you how I've played a couple of current bookmaker offers, I've shared my full ante-post portfolio (minus stakes and returns, as I have collectively invested... well, a fair amount). Hopefully I'll be able to share a couple of winning tickets in due course 😉
Before that, though, I want to outline my plan of attack for the week. I also want to tell you about our competition this week, and let you in on what else is happening here at geegeez over the Cheltenham Festival.
First up, my modus operandi:
1. I won't play every race
There are twenty-seven races, over four days. That's more than just about every Festival bar Royal Ascot (and what a bloodbath that particular high summer jamboree is for me, personally!).
We need to play a long game here: by choosing our battles, we have the best chance of winning the war.
For me, this means going longer in the non-handicap races generally (though with a couple of notable exceptions), and trying to keep my handicap wagering largely in 'interest' or 'action' bets. These are smaller wagers that keep me engaged but don't blow my stack.
2. I won't chase losses
It's not a coincidence that the last race on day one, and the last two races on the other three days are bloody hard. It's designed that way. The notion of 'the lucky last' was coined by bookmakers for bookmakers. If I haven't already been lucky (or smart) earlier in the card, it's asking an awful lot to get lucky on the last race each day.
It might happen, but I won't bet too much on it!
3. The notion of a banker is, for most people, pointless rhetoric
The thing is, most people want to bet. They love the sport, the puzzle, the atmosphere, the craic, the thrill of being right. There is little thrill in backing Quevega, or Sprinter Sacre, unless you're prepared to risk a lot of two's or four's to win a few one's.
I've only ever met one person in my life who chooses one banker and plays it to the exclusion of all other horses in all other races. And if I tell you that person was gutted that Big Buck's wasn't running this year because he couldn't throw his lump into the place market, you'll get an inkling as to how detached from the sport he is...
Basically, there are no - or very few - bankers at Cheltenham. This year, there may be a couple more than normal. But the ground and, most importantly, the stiffness and depth of competition, mean things which look nailed on on paper can come horribly unstuck on turf.
I've backed My Tent Or Yours. At 7/2. And I don't consider him to be a 'banker'. A good bet at the price he was, yes. But he's a good bit less likely to win than night is to follow day. The others... well, I've opposed one on price grounds, I might try to find a place against the other two.
4. Let's have fun!
In case this sounds like the sort of lecture your partner might give you after you've done a few quid too many, then apologies. By way of bringing it back, here's my golden rule, not just for the Cheltenham Festival, but for all my betting.
If it's not fun, it's not worth it. So, this week of all weeks, let's have a blast! 😀
OK, here's what's happening on geegeez for the Cheltenham Festival this week.
Firstly, there's going to be another great competition.
It's a Cheltenham Festival tips competition and will require you to choose THREE horses each day, with a single win unit on each. Highest points scorer wins £100 betting vouchers courtesy of those lovely people at BetVictor.
Just a little something to help with the fun.
But please note, you'll need to find the competition post on the blog each day, as I shan't be emailing out. It will be under the Competitions menu item.
Simple rules, the same as before, and they're here.
Secondly, I'll have a preview of each day's racing action, each night before racing.
So, tonight, I'll have Tuesday's previews; Tuesday night will feature Wednesday's and so on. I warn you now, these are big pieces with comprehensive coverage of the racing. You'll find a few key trends, then in-depth form previews, and finally my tips for each race. Of course, feel free to do with them as you wish.
Thirdly, Well I Declare will have a special Cheltenham Festival feature.
Focusing on all the notable declarations, Mal Boyle will be marking your card with the trainers, horses and races to note.
Fourthly, I'll be running a live blog on Thursday.
Thursday is World Hurdle and Ryanair Chase day. Three lucky readers and their guests are heading there as a result of winning competitions here over the last few weeks, and I'll be at home in front of my screen, live blogging for your pleasure! Obviously, if it's just me, it won't be much fun at all, so take the afternoon off work, or at least point a browser tab in the direction of geegeez.co.uk and join in the fun. Your comments and fancies will make it!
Now then, I've had a couple of people ask me how I'm playing the various Tuesday specials that those desperate bookie types are offering to get our business. In point of fact, I've already taken advantage of a number of them, as you'll see from the table of my ante post bets below.
These are the pick of the offers:
1. BetVictor will refund any losing bets on the Supreme Novices' Hurdle up to £50, in the form of a free bet.
Pretty straightforward this, and plenty of people trading it. But me, I've backed Champagne Fever for £25 e/w, and will collect or have funds to bet on another race. I'll leave you to decide whether that's worth taking them up on. For me, it was a no-brainer as I'd meant to back Champagne Fever already. He's in my ten to follow!
2. RaceBets will refund your losing bet if My Tent Or Yours wins the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
He's going to be around 7/4 to win. That means you have 6/1 or so the field, with money back if the jolly obliges. That's a great bet. I'll definitely be backing something else there - it's a day of race special only - and it will quite possibly be Melodic Rendezvous.
3. William Hill are offering FIVE places on the race, for a quarter the odds.
As there's only twelve runners, and at least five of them have little to no chance, those are pretty good odds on hitting the board! I will possibly bet River Maigue.
4. Ladbrokes will give you your money back as a free bet if you back Simonsig in the Arkle and he loses.
He's odds on, at around 4/6, so for the max £25 stake, you can win around £17, or get a £25 free bet. If you think he's a cert (or close to it), that's a nice way to nick a few quid, with a safety net. I'll be on that.
5. Paddy Power will refund all losing bets on the Champion Hurdle if Hurricane Fly wins.
I'm actually starting to think that this race is between Fly, Zarkandar and Rock On Ruby. As such, I've had £50 e/w Zarkandar at 7/2 (1/4 odds 1-2-3). If Zarkandar fails to make the frame, I get my cash back. If he places, I get my win stake back. If he wins, I win. Max stake £100.
Phew. I know many of you like to bet with just one account, and that's fair enough. But do bear in mind that, with the possible exception of Grand National Saturday, there isn't another day in the year like Cheltenham Tuesday. It's the day when punters have the upper hand before the racing even starts, and it would be careless - almost rude! - not to take advantage of it. 😉
And that's about it. I will be there on Tuesday and Wednesday, and travelling for part of Monday (today) and Thursday, so please bear with me if you've been in touch and are awaiting a reply.
Finally, as promised, below is my ante-post portfolio. As you can see, it's heavily loaded towards the first two days, as those are the two on which I have stronger opinions in the main. But I can tell you my biggest bet is on Bobs Worth to win the Gold Cup... I'm hoping that by the time those wagers run, I'll already be in front on the meeting...
Good luck with your final preps, and I'll be back later with the competition post and the opening day's preview.
Brrrrrrrrring it on!!!
|06/02/2013||1||1||Supreme Nov||My Tent Or Yours||4.5||Win||Victor||NRFB|
|21/12/2012||1||1||Supreme Nov||Puffin Billy||13||Win||totesport|
|17/01/2013||1||1||Supreme Nov||Un Atout||17||EW||Victor||NR Free Bet|
|17/01/2013||1||1||Supreme Nov||Ned Buntline||26||EW||Victor||NR Free Bet|
|05/03/2013||1||1||Supreme Nov||Puffin Billy||77.8||Win||Betfair|
|08/03/2013||1||1||Supreme Nov||Champagne Fever||13||EW||Victor||Free bet to same stake if loses, NRNB|
|06/03/2013||1||3||JLT||Duke Of Lucca||26||EW||Coral||NRNB|
|10/12/2012||1||4||Champion Hurdle||Cinders And Ashes||17||Win||Ladbrokes|
|15/12/2012||1||4||Champion Hurdle||Oscar Whisky||15||Win||PP|
|09/03/2013||1||4||Champion Hurdle||Zarkandar||4.5||EW||PP||NRNB 1/4 1-2-3|
|04/03/2013||1||5||Cross Country||Outlaw Pete||7||Win||totesport||NRNB|
|01/03/2013||1||5||Cross Country||A New Story||34||EW||Stan James||NRNB|
|09/03/2013||1||5||Cross Country||Arabella Boy||6||EW||bet365||NRNB, BOG|
|04/03/2013||1||7||Centenary Hcp Ch||Colour Squadron||11||Win||Whill|
|07/03/2013||1||7||Centenary Hcp Ch||Attaglance||11||Win||Whill|
|10/02/2013||2||3||RSA Chase||Boston Bob||8||Win||Ladbrokes|
|28/12/2013||2||3||RSA Chase||Highland Lodge||26||EW||sportingbet|
|07/03/2013||2||3||RSA Chase||Boston Bob||5.5||EW||bet365||NRNB, BOG|
|08/03/2013||2||3||RSA Chase||Hadrian's Approach||11||Win||bet365||NRNB, BOG|
|05/03/2013||2||5||Coral Cup||Edeymi||11||EW||bet365||NRNB, BOG|
|05/02/2013||2||6||Fred Winter||Last Shadow||26||Win||Victor||NR Free Bet|
|05/03/2013||2||6||Fred Winter||One Fine Day||34||EW||bet365||NRNB, BOG|
|10/02/2013||3||4||World Hurdle||Reve De Sivola||6||Win||Ladbrokes|
|08/03/2013||3||4||World Hurdle||Smad Place||15||EW||bet365||NRNB, BOG|
|28/12/2012||4||4||Gold Cup||Bobs Worth||4.5||Win||totesport|
|28/12/2012||4||4||Gold Cup||Bobs Worth||4||Win||Victor||NR Free Bet|
|27/01/2013||4||4||Gold Cup||Cape Tribulation||34||EW||Ladbrokes|