Today’s Horse Racing Tips
For today’s horse racing tips, our analyst James Boyle looks at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, with four selections now online.
As always, you’ll find the most up-to-date odds at the best horse racing betting sites, but don’t sleep on our tipster’s predictions as those odds could soon be gobbled up by the betting public. Odds stated are correct at the time of publishing.
13:30 Cheltenham – Inthepocket – 1pt e/w @ 12/1 (4 places)
This is a fascinating renewal of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Inthepocket is the one I like at the prices, with his late switch to this race being the right play in my book. He will need a thorough test to have an advantage over some of the speedier types but the ground seems likely to come up right for him and the demanding test of Cheltenham should play right into his strengths as well.
He does have almost ten-lengths to find on Il Etait Temps from their meeting at the Dublin Racing Festival but that still rated a career best for Henry De Bromhead’s charge and despite looking tired coming to the final flight, I liked how he kept on to regain second. It wasn’t a run that screamed out “Supreme winner” but circumstance dictates a lot in races and things could be more favourable here.
He looked really promising when defeating Three Card Brag in a Grade 2 in December, being more dominant than the neck winning margin would suggest, and if the ground is genuinely soft, the gallop strong enough and a more patient ride being the order of the day, it’s not impossible that he could be staying on as well as anything to pick up the pieces. With four places up for grabs, 12/1 appeals to me.
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14:10 Cheltenham – Jonbon – 1pt @ 7/4
Jonbon has only ever tasted defeat once and that was at the hands of Constitution Hill, so it’s easy to understand why his record isn’t completely flawless! El Fabiolo, in particular, will provide stiff opposition as they rematch their Top Novices’ Hurdle meeting at Aintree last season, a contest in which Jonbon came out on top by a neck after a serious battle commenced from before the final flight.
Chasing provides an entirely different test and El Fabiolo is the one bringing in the best form after his easy win in the Irish Arkle. That was visually impressive, no doubt, but the race fell apart a bit and the runner-up – who needs further – came from miles back. Maybe he’ll repeat the trick, but I think he’ll be tagged by Jonbon for a lot longer and we’ll get to see what he’s really capable of doing.
Jonbon was crabbed for his Warwick win last month but that wouldn’t be his optimal track, it was only a two-horse affair and he’ll benefit for having got something out of the race in terms of a battle, which didn’t look likely to happen pre-race. We’ll see him in a better light at Cheltenham and he will hopefully prove to be the one to beat. He ran into a monster last year – I don’t think that’ll be the case this time!
14:50 Cheltenham – Fastorslow – 1pt @ 9/1
Irish runners have a terrible record in this race and only a few are even declared this year. He’s going into unknown territory with regard to trip but Fastorslow has an interesting profile and seems a cert to have been plotted up for this. It was the same story with him last year where he ran in a couple of two-mile handicaps then came to life at the festival when upped in trip with a tongue-tie on for the Coral Cup.
The plan came within a short-head of coming off and based on how he came up the hill in horrible conditions, there must be a lot of hope that he can take this step up in trip in his stride, and improve for it. He’ll have to in order to defy a mark of 150, the British handicappers taking absolutely no chances with his rating, but in a race like this a few pounds either way wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me.
Fastorslow has been campaigned, once again, with one day in mind and did show an aptitude for the larger obstacles on his seasonal return in December, the only issue being it was a Grade 1! He was outclassed and outsped at the same level at Leopardstown last month but that run should have him spot on for today and we’ll see what he’s up to doing over fences this time around. I fancy him for a very big run.
16:10 Cheltenham – Brandy Love – 1pt @ 11/2
Nothing interests me in the Champion Hurdle so instead we’ll move on to a race which contains two fillies who have won the last three renewals of the Champion Hurdle! This is a cracking contest in which not many results would be a surprise, but I’m happy enough to go against Honeysuckle under the assumption that her powers are on the wane, whilst Epatante could be an iffy stayer on this surface.
Marie’s Rock is the solid one as she bids to follow up on last season’s success in this race and looked better than ever when bolting up in the Relkeel on New Year’s Day. It’s tough not to see her in there pitching but she’s currently heading the market at 5/2 and I’m not overly bothered about taking it. There’s enough in place to think something with real class could turn her over and I’m interested in Brandy Love.
Willie Mullins’ charge hasn’t had an ideal prep, the feeling being that her comeback run at Punchestown was out of necessity more so than a part of any plan, but it was a good spin considering the weight she was conceding and hopefully we’ll see her true worth today. She smashed Love Envoi last April and with more improvement possible on a left-handed track, I’ll side with her to win a second Grade 1.
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