New customers only • £10 deposit using promo code • Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) • Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free bet stakes not included in returns • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. withdrawal restrictions & full T&C’s apply
The Cheltenham Festival contains four of the most important and prestigious day’s racing in the National Hunt Season. It’s a fantastic time to take advantage of bookmakers’ Free Bets, and 888sport have a cracking offer.
The bookmaker is offering every new customer £5 on each race on day one of the 2020 Festival. Here’s the lowdown on how you can claim this offer.
How Can I Claim the £35 Offer?
All those who do not currently have an account with 888sport can open an account here. Then, deposit £10 using promo code “RACE888”.
By placing a bet at odds of at least 1/2 on the first race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, 888Sport will then give you £35 in free bets.
These are split into seven lots of £5, one for each race of Day One of the Festival.
Day One of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival
1.30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
The Cheltenham roar will first be heard at the start of the Supreme, a two-miles event for novice hurdles. Current favourite is Shishkin, who, after falling on hurdling debut, has recorded two impressive victories. He steps up to Grade One company here though, and his recent win at Huntingdon doesn’t bode well – the last 128 horses who had their final run ahead of Cheltenham at Huntingdon have all been beaten.
His owners’ mate Asterion Forlonge makes most appeal. He’s a perfect four-from-four, scoring between the flags in 2018 before returning to action in November with a narrow bumper win. Willie Mullins’ charge has achieved plenty since switching to hurdles, bolting up by ten-lengths on debut before an impressive Grade One success at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Previously considered a stayer, he showed plenty of speed when beating a host of Ireland’s best novice hurdlers. His blend of both stamina and raw pace could prove too much to handle. Abacadabras has only suffered one defeat in four hurdling starts, that coming to Envoi Allen in December. He looks best of the rest.
2.10 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase
This time it’s the novice chasers who are the focus. A speedy two-miles contest which has gone the way of classy performers such as Altior and Douvan, the current favourite is the De Bromhead-trained Notebook.
The seven-year-old was no more than a fair hurdler, but he’s taken his form to a new level since going over fences. He’s a perfect four-from-four in this discipline, overcoming Fakir D’oudairies at Leopardstown on St. Stephen’s Day before a second Grade One success at the Dublin Racing Festival.
He only had three-quarters of a length to spare there from Cash Back. The eight-year-old won his first two over fences in impressive fashion before running a creditable race in defeat behind Notebook. With that experience under his belt, he can be expected to improve once again and he represents Willie Mullins who has won four of the last five renewals of the Arkle.
2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase
A staying handicap chase which went the way of Nicky Henderson’s Beware The Bear in 2019. The British have five of the first six in the market, with Kildisart for Ben Pauling coming in for recent support. The poor weather won’t help his chances though, with his impressive handicap success at Aintree last term coming on good ground.
Vinndication, the market leader, similarly has shown his best form on a firmer surface, including an impressive return to action in Ascot in November. He’s been absent since though, and has an eight pound higher mark with which to contend.
One who won’t mind the bottomless ground is Vintage Clouds, who finished second in last year’s renewal. He’s rated seven pounds higher this year, however that’s far from excessive given his impressive success at Haydock in January when beating Definitly Red by seven-lengths.
3.30 Champion Hurdle
The first of the four Championship races has been touted as one of the weakest editions in Festival history with the 159-rated Epatante heading the betting. She has impressed when scoring twice this term, including the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton from Silver Streak.
Her poor run in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle last term will live long in the memory – sent off the 15/8 favourite, she trailed home in ninth. Pentland Hills does handle Prestbury Park, landing the Triumph in 2019. He’s found life tougher this year though, fifth on his reappearance before losing out to Ballyandy at Haydock.
One who could prove some each-way value is Jessie Harrington’s Supasundae. The 2017 Coral Cup winner finished second in the Stayers’ Hurdle the following year. He wasn’t quite as effective last term, finishing seventh, but he ended the season with victory at Aintree and only found Buveur D’Air too good at Punchestown. After an encouraging fourth on his return to Honeysuckle, he’s of definite interest.
4.10 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle
Prolific winners Benie Des Dieux (eight-from-nine for Willie Mullins) and Honeysuckle (seven-from-seven under rules) are likely to avoid engagements against the boys and face off against each other in this Grade One event for the Mares.
Willie Mullins’ charge had stormed clear in the corresponding race last year when falling at the last. With Roksana picking up the pieces there, the nine-year-old is bidding to make amends for burning punters’ fingers. After back to back successes in May prior to a twenty-one length romp in January on her return, she should prove hard to beat.
Benie Des Dieux will prove a big challenge to Honeysuckle’s run. Henry De Bromhead’s mare impressed twice in the winter, including when landing the Hatton’s Grace in December. Her latest win at the Dublin Racing Festival was far from decisive though. A half-length defeat of novice Darver Star would leave her with plenty to find here.
4.50 Northern Trust Novices’ Handicap Chase
Kim Bailey has another handicap favourite in the form of Imperial Aura. His seven-year-old justified prohibitive odds on chase debut before following home Pym and Simply The Betts in two starts at this venue. Given his unexposed and progressive profile, a current mark of 143 could greatly underestimate him.
Mister Whitaker gave Mick Channon success in 2018 and his Hold The Note is of interest after a Grade Two second last time out. He’s yet to win over fences but is similarly unexposed and will have no problem with the testing ground.
Espoir De Guye is another who will appreciate the worsening weather conditions. After a creditable second on chase debut, he’s scored twice since including an impressive win at Ascot on heavy ground in December. He’s a stone higher here, but he similarly may well have not reached his ceiling yet.
5.30 National Hunt Novices’ Chase
Patrick Mullins is likely to be onboard his father’s Carefully Selected as he bids for a third win in the staying contest for the novices. His charge is a perfect three-from-three over fences, and wouldn’t be out of place in the RSA. Already a dual Grade Three winner, and placed in Grade Ones over hurdles and in bumpers, he’s a very classy sort.
Battleoverdoyen took a backwards step at the Dublin Racing Festival when taking a fall behind Faugheen. Attempting to make all over two-miles-five wouldn’t have suited him there then. He’d looked a very strong stayer when winning his first three chase starts, and this step up to three-miles-six could prove ideal for him.
One of interest at an each way price is Tom George’s Springfield Fox, who has landed staying novice handicaps in taking fashion twice this winter. Wins off marks of 117 and 127 leave him with a shade to find on figures, however he could hardly have won any easier. Furthermore, he’ll have no issue with heavy ground and there should be further improvement to come up in distance.