My Cheltenham Ante-Post Portfolio, plus Plan of Attack

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

banker1

n. a person or thing that appears certain to win or be successful
OK, here are some 'bankers'. My Tent Or Yours, Simonsig, Quevega, Sprinter Sacre. How many do you think will win?

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! 😀

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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.

The Competitions tab!

The Competitions tab!

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.

Your first 30 days for just £1

 

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!

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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!

Sign up here!

 

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.

William Hill Sports

 

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. 😉

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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!!!

Matt

Date Day Race Race Title Horse Odds Stake Win/EW Bookmaker Comments
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
08/02/2013 1 2 Arkle Arvika Ligeonniere 11 Win PP
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
08/03/2013 2 1 Neptune Chatterbox 15 Win Ladbrokes NRNB
10/02/2013 2 3 RSA Chase Boston Bob 8 Win Ladbrokes
28/12/2013 2 3 RSA Chase Highland Lodge 26 EW sportingbet
10/02/2013 2 3 WH/RSA RdS/BB Double 48 EW Ladbrokes
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
08/03/2013 2 5 Coral Cup Barbatos 26 EW Victor NRNB
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
09/03/2013 2 6 Fred Winter Ibsen 60 Win Betfair
09/03/2013 2 7 Bumper Regal Encore 13 EW Coral NRNB
06/03/2013 3 1 Jewson Dynaste 3.5 Win bet365 NRNB, BOG
04/03/2013 3 2 Pertemps Stonemaster 26 EW bet365 NRNB, BOG
10/03/2013 3 2 Pertemps Jetson 21 EW Whill
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
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12 replies
  1. Johnny5 says:

    Good luck Matt
    This will be one of my quietest ever Cheltenham betting weeks
    I think the stated soft ground ( which means its heavy ) all adds up to potential
    wild uncertainty …..
    Keeping my powder dry this week bar a small ew on Zarkander who acts on the ground
    Good luck all

  2. Thomas Stone. says:

    Fair play Matt. You took an opinion and went with it. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Nothing worse than pundits sitting on the fence.

  3. mike oliver says:

    Personally I think the Fly is a good thing. Am I the only one who thinks Walsh’s ride last year wasn’t one of his best. He and McCoy spent too much time watching each other. The also believed the official description of the going when it was much quicker. Hence they were too far behind at the last and used up too much to get there. Get on – best value of the week.

  4. Iain MacMillan says:

    Hi Matt,

    Very intersting, how do you think the going will influence the ante post market, I think we were all anticipating good ground but now it looks as though it will be at least soft, probably sof/heavy for the first two days, where the majority of your selections are?

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Mostly ground aagnostic though Cinders looks a write off and that was a hundred quid stake. 🙁

  5. Josh W says:

    Good Luck Matt,

    will be interesting to see the times against standard after first couple of races. I for one do not mind the going being soft (heavy?). If the ground was Good I would find it a bit more challenging given that the ground for most of the season has been soft/heavy – at least we know where we stand with the horses form/whether they act on ground

    hopefully a profitable week ahead! Most looking forward to Jonjos runners in chases 2m5f+ where he is 121 points up over last 6 festivals, 35% SR ish I think (couple of other criteria too, not top 2 in market last time out) (with one blank year). He will surely have a nice priced winner/placers in chases this week! will make it a good festival if he does!

    not sure if I have any bankers but do like Grandouet EW, Back in Focus, Sir de Champs and Dynaste must be a banker in jewson now. interesting in cross country that enda bolger, as well as fav, has put in a horse straight from PTPs at big odds??…

    interested in how Regal Encore does in the bumper as well.

    good luck everyone.

  6. Ben Pearson says:

    Quality, # By the end of the week, this could be like rubber-
    necking at the scene of an accident (though hopefully
    it won’t be!) Good shout to give readers an insight Matt, am with yer on some of them, fingers crossed, thanks for the info!

    Roll on the Fest…

    Ben

  7. Brian says:

    Hey Mike I totally agree with you 100% about Ruby’s ride on Hurricane Fly last year he was far to far behind and used all his energy up trying to make the ground up,I cannot understand why they give some horse such a lead especially in a grade 1 race and even more so at Cheltenham,hopefully he has him closer to the pace and is able to quicken coming to the last rather than being scrubbed along to catch up, good luck guys.

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