2020 Cheltenham Festival Favourites in Focus

Envoi Allen winning the 2019 Champion Bumper
Min £20 in EXC back bets on the 1st race at Cheltenham, Tue 10th Mar. Max £20 EXC mobile free bet, valid on any of the remaining races on the Day 1 of Cheltenham. Free bet not valid on ‘E/W’ or ‘SP’ markets. E-wallet restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.

The Cheltenham Festival provides one of the sternest tests of your punting skills in all of racing. Twenty-eight races over the space of four days, from handicap hurdles, bumpers and Grade One chases, there’s something for everyone.

Backing a winner at the greatest show on turf is one of the most redeeming feelings in a punter’s year. There’s few things in racing that provide more satisfaction. One that does rival the feeling though is laying a warm order to lose, a jolly that the world and his wife thinks will win.

With the Betfair Exchange, you can back favourites to win as well as backing them to lose. They have a £20 Free Bets offer for all customers, new and existing, when you bet £20 on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Here’s the lowdown on all the hot favourites for this year’s Festival.

How Can I Claim This offer?

Both new and existing customers are able to claim this offer. If you do not already have an account with Betfair, you can open one and deposit £20 into your account.

Then place a £20 win bet or more in Exchange back bets on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. After the qualifying bet has settled, Betfair will give you £20 in Exchange Mobile Free bets to use across the remaining Day One races.

Which Favourites Are the Most Vulnerable?

Shishkin

Nicky Henderson’s six-year-old impressed when winning a Newbury novice in January and he showed a potent turn of foot when gaining Listed honours at Huntingdon the following month. The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle will provide a far sterner test of his credentials though and the trends are against him. 128 have tried to follow success at the Lincolnshire venue with Cheltenham glory. All have failed.

Epatante

In one of the weakest Champion Hurdles in living memory, the mare Epatante has emerged from the pack as the star turn. Wins at Newbury and Kempton this term were impressive, most notably her Grade One victory on Boxing Day. Her poor effort when favourite for the Mares’ Novices’ last term will live long in the memory though. Until she’s proven herself at Cheltenham, she’s worth taking on.

Benie Des Dieux

Punters got their fingers’ burnt when Mullins’ mare took a tumble at the last flight in the corresponding race in 2019. Two Grade One wins in May made amends for that defeat and her reappearance at Gowran was something special. Provided she makes it round, she should prove hard to beat even if Honeysuckle is a worthy adversary.

Carefully Selected

Denied by a neck in the 2018 Champion Bumper and third in a novice Grade One in May, Carefully Selected was a very classy recruit to the chasing game. He’s won three starts over the larger obstacles with the minimum of fuss, defying a penalty at Naas last time out. Connections think plenty of him, but there’s the fear that he might be too good for this race. Three-miles-six on very soft ground is surely going to test such a speedy animal.

Envoi Allen

Eight-from-eight including last year’s Champion Bumper and two Grade Ones over hurdles this term, Envoi Allen is the second-coming for many punters. The old adage that he only just does enough goes some way to justifying his narrow margins of victory the last twice, and he looks set to improve once more when facing a true test at the trip in the Ballymore. His unbeaten run should continue at Cheltenham.

Champ

The gelding arrived at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival with a huge reputation before finding City Island too good in the Ballymore. He’s been far from straightforward over fences this year, racing keenly on debut before almost running out in the Berkshire. His jumping proved his undoing in the Dipper on New Year’s Day, taking a fall when clear. A return to three-miles will suit, but his jumping is sure to be put under further pressure in the RSA.

Altior

A four-times Cheltenham Festival winner, including two Champion Chases, it would be folly to take on Altior. After an ill-fated step up in trip in November, he returned to two-miles with a gutsy success at Newbury. New challengers Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil will provide a bigger challenge than in recent years. However, he’s the champ, and won’t go down without a fight. He looks the right one of the three with whom to side.

Tiger Roll

Gordon Elliott’s legend of the game will be bidding for a three-timer in the Grand National in April. Prior to that date with destiny, he will attempt to gain a third success win in the Cross Country Chase. A cosy win in 2018 was followed by a twenty-two length romp last season. After a promising return over hurdles at Navan, he’s hard to oppose as he returns to this course that suits him so well.

Appreciate It

Ireland have won the last three renewals of the Bumper and they have a high class contender this year with Appreciate It. Willie Mullins’ six-year-old followed a creditable third back from a break with two decisive wins at Leopardstown. A seven-length winner at the Dublin Racing Festival, he has leading claims as he bids for a hat-trick.

A Plus Tard

One of the most destructive winners at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival was Henry De Bromhead’s A Plus Tard. He proved miles ahead of a mark of 144 in the Close Brothers’, hosing up by sixteen lengths. After a creditable effort in defeat on his return this season, he accounted for the high-class Chacun Pour Soi in December. With further improvement to come returned to two-miles-four, he could prove hard to beat.

Paisley Park

The shortest price of any of the Festival favourites, and there’s every reason for that. Emma Lavelle’s stable star completed a five-timer in the race last year, giving owner Andrew Gemmell an inspiring victory. After two cosy wins in Grade Two company this term, including over course and distance in the Cleeve Hurdle in January, he’s impossible to oppose.

Solo

The four-year-old colt shot to the head of the Triumph Hurdle market with a thirteen-length win at Kempton on his stable debut. The handicapper was impressed by that, allocating him a mark of 157, close to ten-pounds higher than his nearest rival. That appears to be a slight over-reaction though. This will provide a far sterner test of his credentials, facing unbeaten rivals Goshen and Allmankind.

Santini

Something of a marmite horse, the eight-year-old emerged as favourite for the Festival showpiece after landing the Cotswold Chase in January. He was a shade fortuitous there, benefiting from Bristol De Mai making a couple of mistakes late on. Facing last year’s winner Al Boum Photo, dual King George victor Clan Des Obeaux and the improving Delta Work, this looks a far tougher assignment.

Terms & Conditions

Who can take part?
You can only take part using one account. If you have been excluded (via email or otherwise) by Betfair from taking part in any promotions, you will not qualify for this promotion.
This offer is open to new and existing customers, aged 18 or over, whose country of residence is United Kingdom or Ireland.
Only customers opted into ‘Rewards’ or ‘Rewards Plus’ plans are eligible to take part in the promotion. If you are currently opted ‘Basic’ and change your plan, you will not be eligible for the promotion.
If you register a new account after 11am on Monday 2nd March you can only take part in the offer if you deposit by Credit/Debit card or Applepay.
How and when can I qualify?
Place £20 or more in Exchange back bets on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Tue 10th March 2020.
You may qualify with either a single bet with a stake of at least £20, or multiple bets with stakes totaling £20 or more.
Applies to bets on the ‘Win’ market.
After the qualifying bet has settled, we’ll give you £20 in Exchange Mobile Free bets to use across the remaining Cheltenham Day 1 races.
Excludes Antepost bets.
Lay bets against your qualifying bets will void this promotional offer. Cashed-out bets do not qualify for this offer.
Unmatched bets will not count towards the promotion.
What can I win?
If you place the qualifying amount (and otherwise comply with the terms of this promotion), you will receive £20 in Exchange Mobile free bets.
Free bets must be used on the remaining Cheltenham Day 1 races (excludes the qualifying race).
Free bets are not valid on ‘E/W’ & ‘SP’ bets.
The free bets will expire after the last eligible race has ended.
The free bet cannot be withdrawn as cash and, as noted above, must be used on the Betfair Exchange.
Any winnings which you receive from bets placed via your free bet can be withdrawn.
The maximum available in free bets for this promotion is £20.
Any winnings will not include free bet stake.
When will I get my prize?
The Free bets will be awarded within 1 hour after all qualifying bets have settled.
What else do I need to know?
Free bets must be used on a Mobile device.
Other boring but essential stuff
Betfair reserves the right to disqualify you from the promotion and/or close your Betfair account if it considers there is sufficient evidence of abuse of the promotion, for example by using more than one username or opening more than a personal betting account to take part in the promotion. In such cases Betfair will not credit you with the free bet.
Betfair Exchange rules and regulations apply, see here.
Betfair standard promotional terms and conditions apply, see here.
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