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Cheltenham Festival Tips: Time to Presse go with Cheltenham Festival NRNB

We are now offering Non-Runner No Bet on the five Championship races at the Cheltenham Festival, and the Racing Post's Keith Melrose, Robbie Wilders and Phill Anderson have selected their best bets across the biggest races.

The three tipsters have picked out their selections for the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase, Stayers' Hurdle and, of course, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

This year's Cheltenham Festival will get underway on Tuesday 12th March and run through until Friday 15th March.

Keith Melrose's tips

Champion Hurdle - Burdett Road @ 33/1
Champion Chase - Gentleman De Mee @ 33/1 
Ryanair Chase - Allaho @ 9/4 
Stayers' Hurdle - Teahupoo @ 7/2 
Cheltenham Gold Cup - L'Homme Presse @ 14/1

Champion Hurdle - Burdett Road @ 33/1

The key to NRNB at this early stage is often to start by asking yourself: what needs to happen for this horse to run? 

In the case of BURDETT ROAD in the Champion Hurdle, the answer is: he will definitely need to win his prep run impressively; and it may need Constitution Hill not to make it to the Cheltenham Festival. 

It is often surmised what Constitution Hill could do if he were ever let loose on the Flat. Could he win at Royal Ascot? 

Burdett Road has, albeit a handicap but he still had to post a pretty mighty Racing Post Rating of 104 to take the Golden Gates Handicap. He has taken extremely well to hurdles and would not need to be supplemented if connections choose to roll the big dice. 

I admit it is not particularly likely Burdett Road runs in the Champion Hurdle. The Triumph is more likely. 

But if he turns up here, the implied timeline between now and then suggests he will be several times shorter than current odds. 

Keith Melrose's tip: 

Burdett Road @ 33/1 - 1pt win

Horse Racing

Champion Chase - Gentleman De Mee @ 33/1

On his day, GENTLEMAN DE MEE is a bona fide Grade 1 chaser at two miles. Predicting when his day will come around is not always easy, although it tends to be in the second half of the season. 

As a novice, he beat Edwardstone handsomely at Aintree and he was similarly convincing when winning last season's Dublin Chase in February. 

In neither season has Gentleman De Mee made Cheltenham. Assuming he does this year, and he handles the track, he has the style of racing that often fares well on the Old Course on which the Champion Chase is staged. 

He may not be quite on El Fabiolo or Jonbon's level, but even finishing third would result in a nice return at NRNB odds. 

Keith Melrose's tip: 

Gentleman De Mee @ 33/1 - 1pt each-way

Ryanair Chase - Allaho @ 9/4

As things stand, there is not much between ALLAHO's normal Ryanair price and the NRNB equivalent. That is a mistake, in my view, as the risk of him not making the race is a bigger slice of the risk factor than markets imply.

Again, we must ask what it takes for Allaho to line up. If he is not the horse he was, or a hard race in the King George has left a mark, then he is unlikely to line up. 

Him being declared for the Ryanair will be a vote of confidence by Willie Mullins. The Allaho of previous seasons would be 4/6 for the Ryanair as it is no stronger a race than the two he won so impressively in 2021 and 2022. 

Allaho may not be quite as good as he was, but he was beaten by stamina more than anything else in the King George and you could easily suggest he is within half a stone of his prime. 

Back at the scene of his most stunning victories, that version of Allaho would be a deserving evens chance. Take current odds, NRNB, to minimise the risk. 

Keith Melrose's tip: 

Allaho @ 9/4 - 1pt win 

Stayers' Hurdle - Teahupoo @ 7/2

The Stayers' Hurdle is perhaps a slightly less appealing NRNB race than the others, because it is one where connections think less of just throwing in a horse that would otherwise not be declared. 

For example, even if Asterion Forlonge runs badly in his trial, there is a good chance he will be allowed his chance but it is unlikely that would happen if he were being aimed at the Gold Cup.

TEAHUPOO is the most appealing NRNB choice of those in the Stayers' Hurdle market. 

If the ground comes up notably testing, he may not be declared as the doubt with him is stamina. Connections also have an alternate option in Irish Point, who unlike Teahupoo has won a staying Grade 1 in deep ground. 

I happen to fancy Teahupoo come what may in the Stayers' Hurdle. NRNB is a nice little bit of insurance against either extreme conditions, or any of the other unforeseen events that mean the concession often comes to punters' rescue. 

Keith Melrose's tip: 

Teahupoo @ 7/2 -1pt win

Cheltenham Gold Cup - L'Homme Presse @ 14/1

This is one where you may need to act quickly. If L'HOMME PRESSE wins well on his slated reappearance at Lingfield this weekend, his price for the Gold Cup will collapse. 

On his best form, it is not hard to argue that he is the main threat to Galopin Des Champs. Whether he wins or pulls up at Lingfield should not really matter to NRNB punters, but it will matter to the price. 

If he flops, he will probably not run in the Gold Cup and you get your stake back. If he looks as good as ever, even non-NRNB prices will surely tumble below the odds he can currently be backed at with the safety net. 

It might only take a couple of days to feel like you are ahead with the NRNB concession on the Cheltenham Gold Cup. 

Keith Melrose's tip: 

L'Homme Presse @ 16/1 - 1pt win

Keith Melrose's tips

Champion Hurdle - Burdett Road @ 33/1
Champion Chase - Gentleman De Mee @ 33/1
Ryanair Chase - Allaho @ 9/4
Stayers' Hurdle - Teahupoo @ 7/2
Cheltenham Gold Cup - L'Homme Presse @ 14/1

Phill Anderson’s tips

Champion Hurdle - Not So Sleepy @ 50/1
Champion Chase - Captain Guinness @ 20/1
Ryanair Chase - Banbridge @ 4/1
Stayers’ Hurdle - Ahoy Senor @ 20/1
Cheltenham Gold Cup - Hewick @ 14/1

Champion Hurdle - Not So Sleepy @ 50/1

Constitution Hill is going to scare most of the competition away in the Champion Hurdle again this year and with just four or five runners likely to line up for this year’s renewal, it may be worth taking a chance on one at a price with three places on offer.

NOT SO SLEEPY is likely to line up for one last crack at the race and he arrives on the back of a Grade 1 success in the rescheduled Fighting Fifth at Sandown. He’s managed to finish fifth in three previous renewals and is ground versatile, which is always a big positive when betting ante post.

He’s not going to be any match for Constitution Hill or State Man but I can see him finishing in front of whatever else turns up and while he may be a similar price on the day, there’s unlikely to be three places on offer.

Phill Anderson’s tip:

Not So Sleepy @ 50/1 - 1pt each-way

Champion Chase - Captain Guinness @ 20/1

I get the impression that we still haven’t seen the best of CAPTAIN GUINNESS and he looks up to outrunning odds of 20/1 in what looks like a below par renewal of the Champion Chase.

He finished runner-up in the race last year when chasing home Energumene and he returned this season with a wide margin success at Navan, showing he retained all of his ability.

Nothing went right for him in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas but that’s a track he’s never managed to get the hang of. However, the Old Course at Cheltenham is more of a speed test and that’s where he posted his career best RPR so he’s not to be underestimated with three places on offer.

Phill Anderson’s tip:

Captain Guinness @ 20/1 - 1pt each-way

Ryanair Chase - Banbridge @ 4/1

I was a big fan of the performance of BANBRIDGE in the Silviniaco Conti earlier in the month and he’s now won four of his five starts when racing in Britain.

He’s an intermediate trip/good ground specialist who has won on both previous visits to Cheltenham and connections have suggested he won’t run if the ground comes up soft. 

There are now big question marks about the ante post favourite Allaho after another below par effort in the King George and Banbridge looks like an each-way banker in a division that lacks depth.

Phill Anderson’s tip:

Banbridge @ 4/1 - 2pt each-way

Stayers’ Hurdle - Ahoy Senor @ 20/1

He’s an unlikely runner in the Stayers’ Hurdle but AHOY SENOR won’t go off anything like his current odds if he turns up in this race.

He’s not been seen in this sphere since his Grade 1 win at Aintree but connections have hinted at sending him back over timber at times over the last 18 months and if he doesn’t show his best form on Trials Day next weekend, I can see him defecting to this contest.

Phill Anderson’s tip:

Ahoy Senor @ 20/1 - 1pt each-way

Cheltenham Gold Cup - Hewick @ 14/1

Similarly to Banbridge, HEWICK will be saved for a crack at Aintree if the ground comes up soft and I can see him going well if he gets his conditions in the Gold Cup.

He was in the process of running a big race when coming down last year and he shaped like he would relish a step back up to this longer trip when winning the King George from an almost impossible position last month.

Phill Anderson’s tip:

Hewick @ 14/1 - 1pt each-way

Phill Anderson’s tips

Champion Hurdle - Not So Sleepy @ 50/1
Champion Chase - Captain Guinness @ 20/1
Ryanair Chase - Banbridge @ 4/1
Stayers’ Hurdle - Ahoy Senor @ 20/1
Gold Cup - Hewick @ 14/1

Robbie Wilders’ tips

Champion Hurdle - Burdett Road @ 33/1
Champion Chase - Gentleman De Mee @ 33/1
Ryanair Chase - Fil Dor @ 25/1
Stayers’ Hurdle - Crambo @ 7/1
Cheltenham Gold Cup - Gentlemansgame @ 16/1

Champion Hurdle - Burdett Road @ 33/1

Backing BURDETT ROAD for the Champion Hurdle would make little sense without the non-runner no bet concession as, for connections to even consider rolling the big dice, two things would need to happen.

Burdett Road would need to blow his opposition away on his next start in juvenile company, while Constitution Hill would have to be ruled out of the big race. 

Considering Constitution Hill scoped badly ahead of his intended prep run in the International Hurdle, him missing the Cheltenham Festival all of a sudden isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. 

Were Burdett Road to run in the Champion he would be a much shorter price on the day, and finding one with that profile is what ante-post betting is all about. 

Robbie Wilders’ tip: 

Burdett Road @ 33/1 - 1pt each-way

Champion Chase - Gentleman De Mee @ 33/1

With Dinoblue expected to tackle the Mares’ Chase, a race she is favourite for, Willie Mullins’ second string in the Champion Chase will surely be GENTLEMAN DE MEE.

Gentleman De Mee is capable of brilliance on a going day. He is the only horse in the field with a 170 Racing Post Rating (seven-length winner of the Dublin Chase) to his name in recent starts, bar market leaders Jonbon and El Fabiolo, and this would be his only realistic target.

As an eight-year-old he possesses the scope to rate higher and there was enough encouragement in his return over Christmas on ground softer than ideal to make him of each-way interest in the Champion Chase. 

He comes alive in the spring and can make the frame. 

Robbie Wilders’ tip: 

Gentleman De Mee @ 33/1 - 1pt each-way

Ryanair Chase - Fil Dor @ 25/1

FIL DOR is entered for the Grade 2 Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles on Sunday and punters looking to get ahead should consider him for the Ryanair Chase.

This is the race Allaho used en route to Ryanair glory in 2021 and 2022 and Fil Dor’s efforts this season deserve marking up. 

He’s never been a true two-miler, so the fact he made a race of it with two festival favourites in Dinoblue and El Fabiolo in two two-mile chases this winter should be respected. 

This will be the first time Fil Dor encounters an intermediate trip over fences and, at the age of six, he might just be a coming force in this division. Expect his Ryanair odds to plummet if he does what I expect him to do at Thurles. 

Robbie Wilders’ tip: 

Fil Dor @ 25/1 - 1pt each-way

Stayers’ Hurdle - Crambo @ 7/1

Horses clearly need to have abundant stamina reserves to win a Stayers’ Hurdle and CRAMBO looks an out-and-out galloper who should be well suited to such an assignment. 

The fact he managed to outbattle Paisley Park, one of the division’s greatest warriors in recent years, in the Long Walk Hurdle last time proved he is a big player in it.

I’d expect this improving youngster to keep finding once others have thrown in the towel in the big one at Cheltenham and it will take a tough horse to stop him. 

Robbie Wilders’ tip: 

Crambo @ 7/1 - 1pt each-way

Cheltenham Gold Cup - Gentlemansgame @ 16/1

Mouse Morris has taken GENTLEMANSGAME out of the Ryanair and the fact he retains a Gold Cup entry outlines the intention of his connections to run him in that.

Gentlemansgame produced a superb performance to beat Bravemansgame in the Charlie Hall on just his third start over fences at the start of the campaign and might be even better suited to the stamina test the Gold Cup presents.

He seems to be the forgotten horse in the staying chase division and his festival odds will shorten if he shows up well in the Dublin Racing Festival on his next outing.  

Robbie Wilders’ tip: 

Gentlemansgame @ 16/1 - 1pt each-way

Robbie Wilders’ tips

Champion Hurdle - Burdett Road @ 33/1
Champion Chase - Gentleman De Mee @ 33/1
Ryanair Chase - Fil Dor @ 25/1
Stayers’ Hurdle - Crambo @ 7/1
Cheltenham Gold Cup - Gentlemansgame @ 16/1

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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