Our Top 3 Bets For Cheltenham Festival 2019

Sir Erec winning the Spring Juvenile Hurdle Leopardstown

myracing presents our best bet of the week, our outsider of the week, and our lay of the week for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

Bet Of The Week

JCB Triumph Hurdle

A rapidly progressive sort on the level, beaten just over two-lengths by Stradivarius on his fifth start in October, Sir Erec arrived on the hurdling scene with a big reputation. Sent off at odds of 11/10 for a twenty-eight runner maiden hurdle, he kept on gamely to deny another useful prospect in Tiger Tap Tap to score by a neck.

Replicating the progression he showed on the flat, he followed that with a six-length win in Grade One company, putting his explosive flat speed to good use and powering clear of the field, drawing eight-lengths clear of the aforementioned rival.

Having already put his main Irish rivals to the sword, he should have far more class than the nearest rival he faces in the betting for the JCB Triumph, the workman-like Quel Destin.

Outsider Of The Week

Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

A two-time winner in France on the flat, including on soft ground, Belargus has progressed nicely in his three starts over hurdles, scoring cosily at Ascot in January, a long-way clear of the third who has since placed in Graded company.

He was a notably smooth traveller on that occasion in a traditionally decent contest, despite running a shade keen which gives him plenty of room progression in a strongly run race like the Fred Winter. Hailing from the Nick Gifford-yard, he certainly wouldn’t be this price were he under the stewardship of a better-known stable.

Sneaking in at the bottom of the weights, he has history on his side, with last year’s winner Veneer Of Charm similarly running off a rating of 129.

A great race for big-priced fancies, with no winning favourite since 2010, he looks a great each-way bet in a race in which the winner has returned at a price at a price bigger than 10/1 in six of the last seven renewals.

Lay Of The Week

RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase

Three-from-three over fences, and a narrow winner of the Pertemps last year, Delta Work appears to have rock-solid credentials for the RSA Novices’ Chase.

If you scratch beneath the surface however, it is easy to find fault with his three chase wins this season. He scraped home on chase debut, beaten one by less than a length who was comfortably held in a handicap afterwards from a mark of 127.

Whilst the form of his Drinmore win took a solid boost when the second Le Richebourg followed it up with a couple of Grade One victories, the race played more to the strengths of Delta Work than the former, who is far more effective over two-miles.

Whilst it appeared that he was improved by the step up to three-miles, all he achieved with that success was beating a number of underwhelming performers all owned by Gigginstown, the closest of whom was Mortal who made a critical mistake at the final fence when putting the long odds-on favourite under pressure.

This looks far more competitive than the Grade Ones he has won already, facing quality rivals such as Santini, a Grade One winner over hurdles and last year’s third in the Albert Bartlett. He lost nothing in defeat to La Bague Au Roi over Christmas, giving the mare seven-pounds.

Similarly of a different cut is Topofthegame who was a few lengths ahead of Santini on that occasion, having previously given away twenty-lengths to the field on chase debut before staying on gamely to finish within three-lengths of Defi Du Seuil. He was rated 150 when denied by a neck in the Coral Cup last year, eleven-pounds superior to Delta Work, who won the Pertemps off 139.

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