Cheltenham Thursday 13:30: Bet365 offer 7/2 racing odds on Itchy Feet – 12th March 2020

Can warrrior Faugheen write himself a new Cheltenham chapter?

Cheltenham Festival

The opening race of Cheltenham on Thursday is the March Novices Chase. A lot of punters probably still refer to this as the JLT Novices Chase. It’s a fixture that sees novices taken on a two and a half mile trip.

There are 12 in the field to take on the challenge and all of the past winners of this fixture were aged either six or seven.

It is six-year-old Itchy Feet, trained by Olly Murphy who is lining up as the favourite for this trip, but there is the fascinating presence of warrior Faugheen here.

Cheltenham Thursday 13:30

Itchy Feet 7/2
Faugheen 4/1
Mister Fisher 9/2
Samcro 5/1
Melon 8/1
Reserve Tank 10/1
Bapaume 16/1
Midnight Shadow 16/1
Tornado Flyer 16/1
Saint Sonnet 20/1
Annie Mc 25/1
Poker Play 100/1
* (betting odds taken from Bet365 at 03:14 GMT on Wednesday, 11th March 2020)

Horse Racing Betting at Bet365

Itchy Feet

Itchy Feet is the right age for the trend in this one. He was at the Cheltenham Festival last year where he had a run in the Supreme Novices and put in a good third-place finish there.

He has been over the fences twice, his debut made at Leicester in December last year in which he took a win. Then he was most recently out at Sandown in early January.

Itchy Feet claimed a victory at Sandown despite having a stumble in the fixture. He was still good enough to pick himself up and take a three and a half-length victory in what was the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices.

After not quite hitting it over the hurdles, he seems to have found his place in chasing and he goes as the 7/2 favourite* (betting odds taken from Bet365 at 03:14 GMT on Wednesday, 11th March 2020)

Midnight Shadow e/w



Remember the times when Faugheen was heading to the Cheltenham Festival as one of the bankers? That was in his prime and he is one of the greats. The highlight of his career was his Champion Hurdle win in 2015.

Anyway, he is now a 12-year-old undergoing a new lease of life actually. He has won his last three chases, having been successful at Limerick and Leapoardstown at Grade 1 in that sequence.

It’s been remarkable stuff from the Willie Mullins-trained great and he makes his Cheltenham return at 4/1 odds* (betting odds taken from Bet365 at 03:14 GMT on Wednesday, 11th March 2020). He will have plenty of support.


Key Facts – Michael Smith vs Peter Wright Betting Tip

  • All previous winners have been 6 or 7-year-olds
  • All but one of the last nine winners were 7/1 or shorter
  • 8 of the last 9 winners had won at least twice over the fences
  • 8 of the last 9 winners had won a Graded chase


Mister Fisher

Like the favourite Itchy Feet, Mister Fisher was knocking around in the Supreme Novices last year. He was eighth there. He has improved his form recently since stepping up to chase. He secured a second on his debut at Warwick.

Then Mister Fisher raised his claims with an extended 2m 4f success at Cheltenham in December, before finishing off his preps with a 2-mile win at Doncaster in late January.

The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year old certainly has something about him and goes with Nico de Boinville in the seat for a 9/2 quote* (betting odds taken from Bet365 at 03:14 GMT on Wednesday, 11th March 2020).


Samcro, trained by Gordon Elliot is an eight-year-old. That doesn’t quite fit the trend for this race. He was the 2018 Ballymore winner and this will be his first trip back since wind surgery.

He has had three chase efforts, which started with a win at Down Royal before a fall Fairyhouse. Got back on his feed at Limerick with a second place in a Grade 1 novice chase in December.

He will need to find something special at 5/1* (betting odds taken from Bet365 at 03:14 GMT on Wednesday, 11th March 2020) in this company.


Plenty of popular horses in this line-up, with Melon on the card as well. The Willie Mullins-trained eight year old was runner up at the Champion Hurdle in the last two years.

He switches to the Marsh for this year’s Festival appearance and made a good chase debut appearance at Navan in November, before following up with a win at Leopardstown.

He failed to get going on a return there in January and he hasn’t been above 2m 1f in a chase and is an 8/1 option after some mistakes last time out* (betting odds taken from Bet365 at 03:14 GMT on Wednesday, 11th March 2020).

Worthy Mentions

Reserve Tank doesn’t look like a bad option for outside considerations at all. Trained by Collin Tizzard he has gone 1-3 over the fences so far. Was really coming on superbly as a hurdler last year and hasn’t made a bad transition to chasing action and he should easily have the trip in him.

Another of the Willie Mullins entrant Bapaume, with Rachel Blackmore taking the ride is another who may pique interest. Bapuaume was four in the Stayers Hurdle last year in some good company. Delivered well as the favourite at Nass in December but then didn’t get it together at Leopardstown in early January in the Arkle Novice Chase and was eased in the final furlong.

Midnight Shadow is a big wide punt in this one. He has looked wonderfully progressive and has won at course and distance before. In the Scilly Isles Novices, he only found Itchy Feet too good. Great place claims.

Predictions & Tips

Faugheen is a name that jumps off the page here. It is going to be so very interesting to see what he can do. He would need to shred the age trend for this race and that just leads us to overlook him. A place contender though? Yes.

Because he did stick it out against Samcro on Boxing Day and will pass on the latter as well. Mister Fisher has put things together nicely over the fences and gets the nod in this one. He looks perfectly suited to the trip.

There are a couple of outsiders worth a look. Reserve Tank looks good, while Midnight Shadow because of his second to Itchy Feet at the Scilly Island will go as our big e/w option for the race.

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