The hugely anticipated Cheltenham festival is fast approaching and is again set to be the key fixture of the national hunt season. Following this it is the National at Aintree, in which the 2019 Grand National betting makes the defending champion Tiger Roll the 10/1 favourite. Cheltenham is the pinnacle of the national hunt racing, in which trainers aim their horses all year round for the week. Preparations have been made and there are a number of horses heading in who look banker material and great bets over the four days. Here we cover two horses who are going to be popular selections amongst punters.
Benie Des Dieux – Mares Hurdle
She is around 11/8 at present and the Mullins believe this is their best chance of a winner over the week. They have a huge amount of history in the race with the dominating period of Quevega, and Benie will be looking to land the race for the second year in succession. This will be her first start of the season due to the ground being unsuitable which would usually be a negative, but they did the same with Quevega on multiple occasions, so she will be expected to be primed for the day.
She has won eight of her fourteen starts under rules, but is unbeaten in five starts since joining Willie Mullins. She won the race last season by half a length, with favourite Apples Jade running a disappointing third, in which it was then found she was in season. Benie is going to be one of the shortest priced horses of the week, and a popular selection for many punters.
Benie Des Dieux powers to the Mares’ Hurdle at @CheltenhamRaces.
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) March 13, 2018
Altior – Queen Mother Champion Chase
He is the current star of national hunt racing and will go off the shortest priced horse of the Cheltenham festival. He can be supported at a general 4/9 for the race, which is a fair reflection of his chances considering he is unbeaten over obstacles. This winning run of 17 victories dates back to October 2015, and includes victories at the previous three Cheltenham festivals.
Altior is renowned for his impressive finish in his races, which is why Cheltenham plays so well to his strengths. His opposition again looks to be limited, with only Min a likely threat. However, Altior has beaten him on numerous occasions with ease including in this race last year. Altior is impossible to oppose and is going to be part of many multiples over the week.
Who else?! Altior wins the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase! pic.twitter.com/ahrcLR5OZM
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) March 14, 2018