paul nicholls

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William Hill “High Five” Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup – Horse Racing Betting March 4

Horse Racing Betting
New sponsors William Hill are currently best odds on a number of the 10 declared runners in, to use its shorter name, the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury this Saturday, but not on favourite Oldgrangewood. The following free bet offer is available only when you sign up at William Hill via a link here and use the promotional code F20. Deposit then and place your first bet of at least £10 (at minimum odds of 1.20 which equals to 1/5 in fractional odds). Once your first bet is settled, you will get two free bet tokens of £10. The free bets are valid only for 30 days, so make sure you use them quickly! Terms and conditions apply, please see full details directly at William Hill. Oldgrangewood is undoubtedly the improver in this Grade 3 handicap having won three of his four starts over fences. He was brought down in the other when going well so deserves a crack at this higher level. He beat a back-to-form Dresden with something to spare last time at Wetherby but Henry Oliver's charge is now 8lb better off I can't work out why the latter is a general 12/1 as compared to the best 11/4 available for Dan Skelton's runner.

Greatwood Gold Cup Trends

Recent seasons has seen this race dominated by trainer Paul Nicholls, who has won it five times in the last seven years. His entry this year, Vibrato Valtat, caries top weight but is a former Grade 2 winner and it's more than feasible that the application of blinkers will help him sustain his effort all the way to the line. He is available at 7/1 and looks a solid each-way bet at those odds. All recent winners have been aged between six and eight so that slightly puts me off Thomas Crapper (10/1 with William Hill). The bottom weight is, however, starting to look very well handicapped and it would be no surprise to see him pop up in a similar race before the end of the campaign. Only two of the last seven winners have carried less than 11st and it's difficult to see veterans Tornado In Milan (a general 12/1) and Shadows Lengthen (25/1 with most bookmakers) being good enough in this company. Vic De Touzaine (11/2 with the sponsors) made a promising reappearance at Wincanton but he has produced all of his best form on heavy going. HOLLYWOODIEN looks the value at a general 8/1 to give trainer Tom Symonds and jockey James Davies a rare big-race success. Considering his most recent victory was over a similar distance at Wetherby, he did well to finish close up over 2m at Sandown last time behind the classy Garde La Victoire. That run proves he can be competitive off his current mark.

Greatwood Gold Cup Current Best Odds

Oldgrangewood (11/4), Vic De Touzaine (11/2), Vibrato Valtat (7/1), Hollywoodien (8/1), Thomas Crapper and O Maonlai (10/1), Dresden, More Buck's and Tornado In Milan (12/1), Shadows Lengthen (25/1)
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BetBright Chase Odds and Preview – Horse Racing Betting February 25

Horse Racing Betting
Storm Doris swept across Britain well north of Kempton and, subsequently, racecourse officials are expecting the ground to be no worse than good for this weekend's BetBright Chase.

BetBright Chase History and Trends

The BetBright Chase is the jewel in the Dublin firm's sponsorship crown. The Grade 3 handicap dates back to 1949 but it wasn't until 1988, when the Racing Post took over sponsorship, that its value and merit increased to present levels. It was once regarded as a Grand National Trial with winners Rhyme 'n' Reason (1988) and Rough Quest (1996) both going on to glory at Aintree, though none of this year's 13 runners look obvious types for the big one in April. All but one of the last 14 winners had an official rating of 139 or higher, which is bad news for Opening Batsman and the Neil Mulholland pair Fingerontheswitch and Pilgrims Bay. Those aged 10 or older don't have a great recent record in the BetBright Chase so, though feasibly handicapped, we'll pass over Triolo D'Alene and also last year's winner Theatre Guide. The latter carries 14lb more than when beating 2013 winner Opening Batsman 10 lengths 12 months ago and also fails to meet the criteria which suggests you should be looking for a runner which finished in the first five on its latest start, though Colin Tizzard's stayer has been keeping good company. A recent outing is also preferable, which puts a black mark against Cocktails At Dawn and Ballykan. Chasers who don't stay 3m elsewhere will last home at Kempton and that's why Irish Saint is a serious contender this weekend. He is three from three at the track and has won in a higher grade. This is a much easier course than Ascot and Sandown and Paul Nicholls' eight-year-old is steadily slipping down the weights so it's no surprise he's only a general 11/2. However, I just prefer his market rival DOUBLE SHUFFLE at the same odds with Coral (he is only 5/1 with most other major bookmakers). Bet £5 get £20 - Coral offers a new bonus! It's very simple: register now at Coral and place your first £5 bet or more. After this you will get a £20 token. Now you have 7 days to use the token, otherwise it expires. The sign-up process at Coral is straightforward and quick to complete. Just head to the registration form and fill out your details. When you have received your registration confirmation, credit your account with some betting funds. This process can be done through a variety of ways, from Visa and Mastercard credit cards to e-wallet services like Neteller, Paypal and Moneybookers for convenience. Once you have deposited funds, with a value of £5 or more, it will be matched with a £20 free bet token. The free bet has to be used with seven days of being triggered, the activation of which has be within the first 14 days of opening the account. The free bet has to be used in full with the customer keeping winnings of the free bet but not retaining the stake. Terms and conditions apply, please see full detail directly at Coral. Double Shuffle is another of those best over shorter trips elsewhere but he won over the distance of the BetBright Chase at Kempton over Christmas and Tom George, who knows what it takes to win this race, has wisely kept his powder dry since. Good ground is ideal but he will cope with slightly softer conditions and looks the one to beat. Three Musketeers is only a general 7/1 but he races over 3m for the first time and there is no guarantee that he will reproduce his latest form at Market Rasen.

BetBright Chase Current Best Odds

Double Shuffle and Irish Saint (11/2), Three Musketeers (7/1), Viva Steve and Theatre Guide (8/1), Fingerontheswitch and Ballykan (12/1), Opening Batsman and Aso (14/1), Cocktails At Dawn (16/1), Triolo D'Alene (20/1), Annacotty and Pilgrims Bay (25/1)
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Sky Bet Chase Odds and Preview – Horse Racing Betting January 28

Horse Racing Betting
There are three Grade 2 races and a Grade 3 on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham this weekend. In addition, the rearranged Grade 1 Spectra Cyber Security Solutions Clarence House Chase has been switched to Prestbury Park following the abandonment of Ascot last Saturday. No doubt punters will be hoping for pointers for March but a few of the races are likely to cut up and are more for watching than betting on. That's not the case at Doncaster, where the Listed Sky Bet Chase headlines a seven-race card which also features three Grade 2 races.

Sky Bet Chase History and Trends

The Sky Bet Chase, formerly known as the Great Yorkshire Chase, is Doncaster's biggest race of the National Hunt season. First staged in 1948 and run over 3m, there has been a modern trend for stables to target this Listed handicap with up-and-coming young chasers. Three of the last seven renewals have been abandoned due to frost but the track is confident that this Saturday's meeting will go ahead, with good ground forecast. Only one of the last 11 winners has been aged 10 or older and there have been only five winners in that age bracket since the race was first run. The last three winners have carried under 11st and last year's winner Ziga Boy falls into that category again. Repeat winners of this are unheard of, however, and Alan King's eight-year-old is on a 4lb higher mark than 12 months ago. Coologue (a general 12/1) was second to Ziga Boy last year but is 2lb worse off. It's difficult to fancy either of Paul Nicholls' pair, Vicente (a best 14/1) or Caid Du Berlais (16/1 with Boylesports) while I don't know if we can take Bigbadjohn's second to Thistlecrack at face value, though the general 9/2 will tempt a few as he's potentially well handicapped and meets the criteria of being largely unexposed over fences. Another Hero (10/1 in places) ran better than expected at Ascot last month but had earlier finished behind Potters Cross (a best 20/1) at Newbury. It's difficult what to know of Ballyboker Breeze (a general 12/1) but he has been raised a further 10lb since winning a Class 3 at Bangor, which probably isn't in his favour. Long Lunch (a best 25/1) was headed right on the line over the course and distance last time but the pick of the weights this weekend may be OUT SAM. Warren Greatrex's eight-year-old ticks a lot of boxes and the fences on Town Moor may be his more to his liking as he's struggled to cope at places like Cheltenham and Aintree in recent times. He stayed on strongly into third last time at Kempton, where his tendency to jump left cost him plenty of ground. Reverting to a left-handed, more galloping track has to be a plus and the 8/1 with several bookmakers, including sponsors Skybet, is tempting. Skybet give all their new customers a £10 free bet. To get it, simply register with Skybet - no deposit needed! Register for a new account via a link here to the Skybet site. This offer can be redeemed in any of the website's sports market. Sign up by going to Skybet and then in the top left hand corner click on the 'register' link. Unfortunately Skybet is one of the more complicated registering processes with three steps but when you open an account you can access it via your TV using just your account number. Just press the red button on your Sky remote. You can even access your free bet this way! Terms and conditions apply, please see full detail directly at Skybet.

Sky Bet Chase Current Best Odds

Bigbadjohn (9/2), Out Sam and Southfield Royale (8/1), Another Hero (10/1), Ballyboker Breeze, Coologue and Ziga Boy (12/1), Vicente (14/1), Caid Du Berlais (16/1), Holywell and Potters Cross and Tenor Nivernais (20/1), Looking Well, Long Lunch and Third Intention (25/1), Katachenko (40/1)
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32Red King George VI Chase – Horse Racing Betting December 26

Horse Racing Betting
One cannot imagine that there will have been total accord about the decision of owner John Snook's to run Thistlecrack in Boxing Day's feature, the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton. Trainer Colin Tizzard already had last year's winner, CUE CARD, earmarked for the Grade 1 chase and he was an odds-on chance with all major bookmakers following the withdrawal of 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree. But the market has undergone an overhaul with the inclusion of crack novice Thistlecrack in the four-day declarations and he's now challenging his stablemate for favouritism. Punters who have already backed Cue Card at very short odds will not be happy as the 10-year-old is now out to 5/4 with several bookmakers, including Boylesports, but those of us who haven't yet had a bet should be viewing this as an opportunity. Boylesports offers all its new customers £20 in free bets. When you open an account, deposit and place a qualifying bet of £10 or more at odds of EVS (2.0) or greater. You will get 4x £5 free bets, making a total of £20! You can bet on many sports. Boylesports have a variety of sports to bet on from Greyhounds, Golf, American Football, Boxing, Baseball, Basketball and Tennis and to lesser known sports such as Cycling, Darts, Ice Hockey, Motorsport, Pool, Snooker, Speedway and many more. Boylesportsfree bet offer operates on a next day basis whereby should you place a bet today the free bet bonus will apply tomorrow. Like many other sites, should you win with the free bet offer the original stake will not be returned. Terms and conditions apply, please see full detail directly at Boylesports.

King George VI Chase History and Trends

The King George VI Chase was first run in 1937. Apart from a couple of years in which it was transferred to Sandown Park, it's always been staged at Kempton. The race was named in honour of the new King, who himself was an enthusiastic National Hunt follower. But despite this, the race did not immediately catch the public's imagination with the first two runnings only attracting fields of four runners. However, after Halloween and the great Mandarin won in the Fifties, the race took off in terms of prestige. It's now viewed as a mid-season championship for staying chasers, sandwiched between the Betfair Chase at Haydock and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A £1million bonus is on offer for any chaser that wins all three races and Cue Card is a third of the way there having won the first leg of the triple crown. The roll of honour is a who's who of British jumping with past multiple winners including Wayward Lad, Silver Buck, Desert Orchid and Kauto Star. Trainer Paul Nicholls has won it nine times since 1997 but it's usually worth noting any French-bred - they have been successful in nine of the last 11 years. Silviniaco Conti is the only two who fits that criteria this year but he is not the same horse that won the King George in 2013 and 2014 and he's come off worse in his last three meetings with Cue Card. All recent previous winners had won a Grade 1 and that's a worry for supporters of Josses Hill (also a doubtful stayer) and Thistlecrack. For all of his immense promise, this will be a first try at the highest level for Thistlecrack and 3m around a sharp track like Kempton may not the perfect setting for the novice. Runners are on top of the first of the 18 fences quickly and it's important to find a rhythm early. Thistlecrack has not been foot-perfect so far and you would think that the Gold Cup in March would be a more suitable showcase for his staying abilities so I won't be tempted by the 11/8 available at bet365 - the Tizzard duo have been backed almost to the exclusion of all others Look on the bright side, you are getting value with Cue Card now that his stablemate has declared. He is at his peak judged on his 15-length defeat of Coneygree at Haydock and will attack from the front again. Tea For Two won the Kauto Star Novices' Chase on this card 12 months ago but is not up to this level and was put in his place by Josses Hill at Huntingdon - it has to be Cue Card again.

King George VI Chase Current Best Odds

Cue Card (5/4), Thistlecrack (11/8), Josses Hill (12/1), Tea For Two (14/1), Silviniaco Conti (25/1)
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Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Odds and Preview – Horse Racing Betting December 10

Horse Racing Betting
Direct comparisions are often made between this Saturday's Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (formerly sponsored by Boylesports) and the BetVictor (former Paddy Power) Gold Cup. Both are Grade 3 handicap chases run over 2m5f but one is contested on the New Course at Cheltenham and the other the Old - that makes a difference, as any jockey or trainer will tell you! The BetVictor winner Taquin De Seuil has declined the opportunity to complete the double with quicker going given as the reason for his omission, though I suspect that the fact that he would have been carrying top weight was also a consideration.

Caspian Caviar Gold Cup History and Trends

First run in 1963, the race was known as the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup until 1980 and has had several sponsors and title changes sponsors since. Boylesports supported the race from 2006 to 2009 as the Boylesports.com Gold Cup and the 2010 renewal was run as the Vote A P Gold Cup as part of a successful campaign to encourage racegoers to vote for Tony McCoy in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. In 2011 the racehorse owner Andy Stewart backed the race to promote his Spinal Research charity until it was taken over by its current sponsors. Paul Nicholls has trained the winner in three of the last seven years. Philip Hobbs trained last year's winner Village Vic (who carries top weight of 11st 12lb this year, and also Monkerhostin in 2004 and this is very much a race for the powerful NH yards in general. There are no significant trends concerning weight carried but age does make a difference. Only three of the previous 10 winners were aged eight or over with horses between six and eight winning nine of the last 10 renewals. Horses aged nine or older have no wins and just two places from 45 runners stretching back 13 years which doesn't bode well for Village Vic or Buywise (a general 7/1 and 10/1 respectively) or Module (16/1 in several places). Official ratings have also been significant lately with the last five winners all being rated between 133 and 145. THOMAS BROWN slips nicely into that niche and looks a decent bet at 11/1 with Coral. Bet £5 get £20 with a Coral bonus! It's very simple: register now at Coral and place your first £5 bet or more. After this you will get a £20 token. Now you have 7 days to use the token, otherwise it expires. Superb sports betting options and quality are on offer at online bookmaker Coral, who carry a well established and recognisable brand. With over a decade of trusted experience in the online betting market, Coral remain one of the leaders for quality and service and the sign-up process is straightforward and quick to complete. Just head to the registration form and fill out your details. When you have received your registration confirmation, credit your account with some betting funds. This process can be done through a variety of ways, from Visa and Mastercard credit cards to e-wallet services like Neteller, Paypal and Moneybookers for convenience. Harry Fry's Thomas Brown won an Aintree handicap on his reappearance and has a good strike rate over the larger obstacles. I get the impression there will be more to come if he can iron out the odd jumping error, though he won't have much room for error in a race like this. Village Vic, Buywise and Aso filled the places behind Taquin De Seuil in the BetVictor with Bouvreuil hot on their heels and Frodon 10th. Bookmakers expect Bouvreuil to come out best this time and he is the general 6/1 favourite but I expect Aso to run well again at the general 9/1 and there has been significant ante-post support for Ascot third Aloomomo, though the general 9/1 looks much too short now. However, the 10/1 with Betway for the tough Kylemore Lough could repay each-way support.

Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Current Best Odds

Bouvreuil (6/1), Village Vic (7/1), Aloomomo and Aso (9/1), Buywise and Kylemore Lough (10/1), Thomas Brown (11/1), Frodon and King's Odyssey (12/1), Module (16/1), Sizing Codelco, Full Shift and Quite By Chance (20/1), Roman Flight (25/1), Solar Impulse (33/1), Turban (66/1)
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BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase – Horse Racing Betting November 12

Horse Racing Betting

The BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase is one of the big betting races in the first half of the National Hunt season and most major bookmakers produced an active ante-post market. The sponsors have the classy More Of That as their 4/1 favourite with Frodon at 5/1. Simply register via our link then place your first bet of at least £10 containing at least one selection with odds of 'Evens' (2.00) or higher within 10 days of opening your BetVictor account and you will receive a free bet of £30 for their Sportsbook.

Any winnings made from a free offer will be kept by the customer but the stake will not be returned. All profit will be returned to the customer account balance. Disregard the estimate winnings with regards any free promotional bets.

BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase History and Trends

Fortria, Gay Trip, Half Free, Bradbury Star and Cyfor Maltahave all been dual winners of a race that began life in 1960 as the Mackeson Gold Cup and has metamorphosed through sponsors Murphy's, Thomas Pink and Paddy Power into it's current incarnation. It's run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over 2m4f and is usually won by an up-and-coming chaser - no chaser aged older than nine has won it since 1975, which doesn't bode well this year for the chances of Ballynagour. There have only been two winners aged older than seven since the turn of the century so you could probably remove another few of the short-list if you wanted to be pedantic. Only one winner in the last nine years has carried more than 11st so that's something else to factor in - almost half of the entries at the five-day stage didn't fit into that significant statistic. Little Josh was a 20/1 chance when successful in 2010 but he's the only winner in the last in the last 10 years to start bigger than 12/1. I've followed the career of Double Shuffle to date and am convinced that Tom George's six-year-old has plenty more to offer over fences. He fits the bill as being just out of the novice stage, has form over the course and distance and has a high cruising speed - all important in the BetVictor Gold Cup. He just failed to catch old rival Art Mauresque on his reappearance at Chepstow in a race in which subsequent Charlie Hall Chase winner Irish Cavalier finished fifth and his stable is in cracking form so I'll be having a little saver at the general 8/1 as I just can't have the market leaders. More Of That could eventually turn out to be better than a handicapper but his stable is in wretched form. Paul Nicholls' Frodon is only a four-year-old and carries a penalty - no four-year-old has ever won this, though not many have run. The latter's stablemate AS DE MEE was beaten less than three lengths by More Of That over course and distance year ago and is 15lb better off. Double Shuffle was fourth that day so the recent Fontwell winner looks a cracking bet at 10/1 with several layers. He should start making giant strides now he's got his head in front over fences having had a few false dawns last season.

BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase Best Current Odds

More Of That (5/1), Frodon (13/2), Double Shuffle (8/1), Taquin De Seuil and As De Mee (10/1), Art Mauresque and Bouvreuil (14/1), Stiletto, Village Vic and Sizing Platinum (16/1), Buywise (18/1), Annacotty (20/1), Aso, Vintage Vinnie, Top Gamble and Sizing Granite (25/1), Ballynagour (28/1), Tenor Nivernais, Full Shift and Thomas Crapper (33/1), Potters Cross (40/1), Johnny Og (66/1)
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bet365 Gold Cup Chase Odds and Preview – Horse Racing Betting April 23

Horse Racing Betting
The bet365Gold Cup traditionally brings down the curtain on the UK National Hunt season but the Grade 3 handicap chase has been rather overshadowed this year by the race to top the trainers' money list and that's a real shame. While jump fans are interested in whether Paul Nicholls or Willie Mullins comes out on top in their particularly duel, the bet365 Gold Cup is worthy of its own page space and is definitely not a sideshow. There have been some famous winners down the years and 20 stayers will be trying to add their name to the roll of honour this Saturday. Well, technically only 19 as Just A Par won the race 12 months ago and Nicholls also runs ante-post favourite Southfield Theatre. Mullins saddles Sir Des Champs and Measureofmydreams but 16 others aren't trained by either of the chief protagonists.

bet365 Gold Cup History and Trends

The great Desert Orchid won this under 11st 11lb in 1988 and Life Of A Lord, in 1996, carried 11st 9lb to victory. Tidal Bay surpassed both when shouldering 11st 12lb in 2012 but they are the exceptions to the rule that suggests this is generally not a race for those at the top of the handicap. Only six of the last 34 winners have carried more than 11st to success, though big outsiders don't fare particularly well. Only three winners since 1994 have started at bigger odds than 16/1 with a third of the last 15 winners starting at single-figure odds. Those aged nine or younger have a far better strike rate than older chasers when it comes to winners and placed horses. Several of these ran in the Crabbie's Grand National and horses that have been placed in that before have gone on to win at Sandown. But none of the six managed to make the frame with The Druids Nephew jumping poorly before being pulled up. Sir Des Champs fell as did Hadrian's Approach, winner of the bet365 Gold Chase in 2014. Saint Are was another pulled up while Le Reve and Just A Par both finished tailed off. Sam Waley-Cohen claims 3lb and that means that THE YOUNG MASTER falls into the ideal weight range with only 10st 12lb. He seems to have been around for a while but is still only seven and came right back to form in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival when third behind Grade 1 winners Un Temps Pour Tout and Holywell. He's a general 8/1 and looks sure to run well given stamina won't be a problem as he's already won over 3m3f over hurdles. Of the remainder, Carole's Destrier could run well going right-handed again after a poor run at Cheltenham and is a general 12/1. Gold Futures is 25/1 with Coral and also interesting if the ground doesn't deteriorate with Cumbrian trainer Nicky Richards a rare raider on southern tracks.

bet365 Gold Cup Chase Current Best Odds

Southfield Theatre (7/1), The Young Master (8/1), Henri Parry Morgan (9/1), Carole's Destrier (12/1), Measureofmydreams (14/1), The Druids Nephew, Bishops Road, Hadrian's Approach, Theatre Guide and Le Reve (16/1), Sausalito Sunrise and Just A Par (20/1), Dynaste, Sir Des Champs and Gold Futures and Saint Are (25/1), Oscar Rock, Drop Out Joe and Spring Heeled (33/1), Seventh Sky (50/1)
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Crabbie’s Grand National Odds and Preview – Horse Racing Betting April 9

Horse Racing Betting
The Crabbie's Grand National has evolved. A softening of its previously fearsome obstacles and a stricter qualifying criteria, as well as a slight shortening of the distance, have combined to generally hand the initiative to the classy chasers nearer the top of the handicap. Of course, it's still the race in which everyone still feels obliged to have a bet and, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't like to be hurtling towards Bechers Brook on half-a-ton of horse at 30mph. But maybe some of the romance has been taken out of the event by the animal welfare people, though I do wonder if the Aintree course 'improvements' have made a notable difference to casualty figures. One redeeming factor for those having their pocket money on an outsider this weekend is that soft going could level the playing field. BetVictor are paying out on six places at a quarter the odds. 

Crabbie's Grand National Trends

It was good to soft when Many Clouds all but rewrote the record books last year. As well as becoming the youngest winner in the past decade, he was also rated 3lbs higher than 2012 winner Neptune Collonges at 160 and carried 3lbs more. As 11st 10lb is now the maximum any horse can carry in the National, the weight shouldn't be an issue in Oliver Sherwood's stable star's bid for repeat success though he runs off a mind-blowing 165 this year. You could still get a return at the general 8/1, however, though the top weight is no certainty to confirm running last year with runner-up Saint Are (a general 16/1). Winners aged under eight and over 11 are rare so we'll cross out On His Own, Aachen, Onenightinvienna, Vics Canvas and Vieux Lion Rouge. Pendra's lack of a recent run is a concern as most recent winners had had a prep race in the last two months. For the same reason, Wonderful Charm is ignored. Six winners in the last 10 years had contested a hurdle in the same season so THE DRUID'S NEPHEW (a general 16/1) and GALLANT OSCAR (20/1 in several places) are the first two of my four selections. Neil Mulholland's charge appeared to be travelling like a winner when over-jumping at the fourth-last 12 months ago and slithering to a standstill. He is 9lb higher this year but ran a very nice trial when second in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster and this has been his target since last year. Gallant Oscar was third to The Druid's Hephew at Cheltenham last year and then won a valuable handicap on soft going at the Punchestown Festival. He, too, has been laid out for this by Tony Martin and might be the best of a very strong Irish presence. Gordon Elliott fances the lightly-raced Ucello Conti (a general 25/1) to run well, however, and what a story it would be if RULE THE WORLD were to pass the post in front. I don't know if a maiden over fences has ever won the big one at Aintree but Mouse Morris' nine-year-old has some cracking credentials considering he's never won over the larger obstacles. He was placed in the Irish National last year and also the Kerry National and wasn't far behind Ucello Conti in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran in January when 6lb worse off - the general 50/1 is quite attractive on that evidence so he goes on our list. Dour stayer Goonyella will be staying on in the closing stages if jumping round safely and is 20/1 with most bookmakers. Morning Assembly (a general 25/1) has been well backed since his second at Cheltenham while Gilgamboa (66/1 general) could also figure. Ruby Walsh surprisingly rides Sir Des Champs (33/1 with William Hill) but none of the Willie Mullins team make much appeal this time. Silviniaco Conti has been a superstar for Paul Nicholls, winning seven times at Grade 1 level. But he's failed twice in the Gold Cup and his chances of staying another mile at Aintree look remote under a big weight and the general 12/1 is much too short. HOLYWELL's lack of size could be a problem but he's probably the best handicapped horse in the Crabbie's Grand National off 153. He ran a blinder at Cheltenham and this is his time of year. He's won at this meeting the past and, if he does get into a rhythm, I wouldn't rule out a big run at the 16/1 with several layers including Betfred. The Last Samuri is arguably the unknown quantity this year but I'm not sure he yet jumps well enough to conquer Aintree and the general 10/1 is short enough now.

Crabbie's Grand National Current Best Odds

Many Clouds (8/1), The Last Samuri (10/1), Silviniaco Conti (12/1), Holywell (16/1), Saint Are (16/1), The Druids Nephew (16/1), Goonyella, Gallant Oscar and Shutthefrontdoor (20/1), Ucello Conti, Kruzhlinin and Morning Assembly (25/1), O'Faolains Boy, Sir Des Champs, Triolo D'Alene and Unioniste (33/1), Boston Bob and First Lieutenant (40/1), Just A Par, Le Reve, On His Own, Onenightinvienna, Rule The World and Soll (50/1), The Romford Pele, Wonderful Charm, Ballycasey, Ballynagour, Buywise, Gilgamboa, Home Farm, Katenko, Pendra, Rocky Creek, Vics Canvas, Vieux Lion Rouge, Black Thunder and Hadrian's Approach (66/1), Aachen and Double Ross (100/1) Bet365 are guaranteeing best odds in the race now that the final declarations have been made.

Crabbie's Grand National Four To Follow

GALLANT OSCAR (20/1 general) THE DRUID'S NEPHEW (16/1 general) RULE THE WORLD (50/1 general) HOLYWELL (16/1 general) It's worth noting that NetBet are offering money back as a free bet if your horse falls, unseats its rider or is brought down the Crabbie's Grand National.  
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Day 4 Preview – Cheltenham Festival Betting March 18

Cheltenham Festival
After another record-breaking Cheltenham Festival - can Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh cap their exploits by teaming up to land the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup with Djakadam? Second to Coneygree last year, the seven-year-old rather blotted his copy-book when falling in his prep race at Cheltenham in January eventually won by Smad Place. It was not the first time that he'd failed to cope with the fences at Prestbury Park but he's a real talent who could well go one better than 12 months ago if everything fell into place. That said, he was beaten fair and square by Don Cossack at Punchestown last season, when Cue Card was only fourth, so does have some improving to do and he's short enough now at the general 3/1. Don Cossack would probably have gone close to catching Cue Card and Vautour in the King George at Kempton had he not fallen two out. The runner-up has already franked that form at Cheltenham this week and Gordon Elliott's charge is also a general 3/1. Cue Card is the best staying chaser in the UK and is 4/1 with most bookmakers, though there is a slight doubt concerning his stamina over 3m2f. DON POLI may not have the class of some of his rivals but he's a tough stayer who will be charging up the hill when others have cried enough. William Hill could have blundered in putting up the assumed Mullins' second string at 5/1 as he ran an excellent trial for this in the Lexus at Leopardstown in December and won the RSA Chase at The Festival last year with his stamina.
 
 

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase Best Odds

Don Cossack and Djakadam (3/1), Cue Card (4/1), Don Poli (5/1), Smad Place (10/1), Carlingford Lough (25/1), O'Faolains Boy (66/1), On His Own (80/1), Irish Cavalier (100/1) ZUBAYR only made his debut over hurdles less than three weeks ago - but what a debut it was! Held up behind in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton, Paul Nicholls' juvenile made relentless headway down the back straight and cruised to the front on the bridle before the last to record an effortless victory. He made decent opposition look positively pedestrian and the Adonis has always been a good trial for the JCB Triumph Hurdle - I'll be looking no further for the winner at 5/1 with BetVictor.

JCB Triumph Hurdle Current BetVictor Odds

Ivanovich Gorbatov (9/2), Zubayr (5/1), Sceau Royal (15/2), Footpad (9/1), Who Dares Wins (11/1), Connetable (12/1), Let's Dance (14/1), Clan Des Obeaux and Apple's Jade (16/1), Tommy Silver (20/1), Frodon and Leoncavallo (25/1), Gibralfaro (28/1), Consul De Thaix (33/1), Big McIntosh (150/1) The Vincent O'Brien Handicap Hurdle is always one of the most competitive races at The Festival and there are 26 due to face the starter this year. This is not a race in which to throw all your eggs into one basket as the winner will need luck in-running. Several bookmakers are offering place betting down to fifth place so check before you bet.
 
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  I can see HAWK HIGH running well at the general 33/1 as he's at his best on good ground. he won the Fred Winter at Cheltenham in his younger days and his last success also came on this sort of surface at Aintree back in 2014. he's had just the one run this winter so will be fresher than some and Tim Easterby wouldn't have sent him down from North Yorkshire for the day out. STARCHITECT ran a cracker in the Betfair considering he was returning from a lay-off. He's another who will enjoy the better going and his jockey Tom Scudamore is having a good week - he is a general 12/1. Modus, widely available at 16/1, is a smart novice who still has time on his side while Blue Hell (10/1 with BetVictor) beat Coral Cup winner Diamond King on his latest start so has to be respected.

Vincent O'Brien Handicap Hurdle Current Best Odds

Great Field (8/1), Superb Story (9/1), Blue Hell and All Yours (10/1), Starchitect and Henry Higgins (12/1), John Constable (14/1), Modus, Wait For Me and Cardinal Walter (16/1), Dicosimo and Sternrubin (20/1), Mad Jack Mytton, Montbazon, Some Plan and Cheltenian (25/1), Devilment, Hawk High, Fethard Player, Sizing Tennessee and Bentelimar (33/1), Draco, Francis Of Assisi and Ivan Grozny (40/1), Kayf Blanco and Zamdy Man (50/1)
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stanjames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase Betting – Horse Racing Odds March 5

Horse Racing Betting
Paul Nicholls' name is very prominent when you look at the list of recent winners of the stanjames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase. The Ditcheat trainer has been responsible for six of the last eight winners of this Saturday's big race at Newbury and saddles both of the current market leaders this year in Art Mauresque and Sametegal.

stanjames.com Supporting Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase Sponsors' Current Odds

Art Mauresque (11/2), Sametegal and Little Jon (7/1), Generous Ransom and Ultragold (8/1), Bennys Mist (9/1), Pythagore (10/1), Off The Ground and Vicomte Du Seuil (12/1), Laser Hawk (14/1), Shutthefrontdoor (16/1), Seventh Sky and Aerlite Supreme (20/1), Un Beau Roman (33/1) I must admit to preferring Sametegal over his stablemate on the forecast going, even though Noel Fehily rides the latter. Harry Cobden can claim his full 7lb allowance and his mount achieved a rating of 150 over hurdles so a mark of 143 on his handicap debut over fences could be lenient. The current odds aren't giving us much leeway, however. Little Jon has been beaten out of sight in two starts since winning over the course and distance back in November and usually makes at least one serious error so the best 8/1 is plenty short enough. Former Irish Grand National winner Shutthefrontdoor is likely to find this much too sharp nowadays and is being aimed at Aintree next month. We don't get many French runners in handicap chases in the UK but Emmanuel Clayeux has sent over two this weekend with Jacques Ricou partnering Vicomte Du Seuil in preference to multiple recent winner Pythagore, who would have wanted much softer ground. No recent winner of the Greatwood Gold Cup has been rated as high as 150 so that suggests Seventh Sky, who has looked in the handicapper's grip for a while and has had a busy campaign, has it all to do. Likewise Aerlite Supreme and Laser Hawk are easy to ignore off marks of 128 and 127 respectively. Fine Parchment won this in 2012 off 130 but that was the lowest winning mark in the last 12 years. Ultragold's victory at Wincanton came over a shorter distance but he was successful over 2m6f at Auteuil when trained in France and Colin Tizzard's string looks in good shape ahead of what could be a monumental few weeks. I'm drawn to Nick Gifford's GENEROUS RANSOM at Skybet's 12/1 as it is only 12 months since he was finishing third in a Listed novices' handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival off the same mark. He has only raced four times since and looked to be coming to the boil nicely when fifth over 3m at Doncaster in December. This is his time of year and best distance and, with the ground continuing to dry out, there will be worse bets this weekend.
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