With bet365 now offering non-runner no bet on the five championship races at the Cheltenham Festival, the Racing Post's Keith Melrose selects his best bets across some of the biggest races.
Champion Chase, 15th March
Ryanair Chase, 16th March
Cheltenham Gold Cup, 17th March
While I find it very hard to oppose Energumene in the Champion Chase, with only 14 entered in the race it looks like the each-way terms of a fifth the odds for the first three will be hard to beat at anytime between now and the day of the race.
I have to go in on Editeur Du Gite, partly because his Desert Orchid win over Christmas effectively sunk my wager on him for the Grand Annual.
Champion Hurdle— bet365 (@bet365) January 3, 2023
We are Non-Runner No Bet & Best Odds Guaranteed on five standout races at the Cheltenham Festival.
His mark is up to 160, off which winning a handicap would be more difficult that hitting the frame in a small-field Champion Chase.
Editeur Du Gite has loads of relevant course form. He was fourth in last year's Grand Annual and had won twice at Cheltenham the previous autumn.
His front-running style gets plenty of joy at Cheltenham, especially the sharper Old course on which the Champion Chase is run.
He only beats Energumene in the event of the champion fluffing his lines, but Editeur Du Gite can definitely make the first three.
We have not yet seen Allaho this season, more's the pity as this two-time winner of the Ryanair is one of the most watchable horses in training when he is in full flight.
That he has not even been entered for the Gold Cup, when he was a short-priced ante-post favourite for the King George before injury intervened, can hardly be taken as promising news and I think the play in the Ryanair is to bet like he will not turn up.
If Allaho runs, Fakir D'Oudairies will probably wait for Aintree as he has won the Melling Chase there the last two seasons.
He tends to dominate the 2m4f chase division when Allaho is not around, and if news breaks that Allaho will miss the season then Fakir D'Oudairies may end up a warm order for the Ryanair, in which he was second in 2021.
He has also been second in an Arkle and fourth in the Supreme, so clearly he suits the track.
The King George was less a case of L'Homme Presse's reputation being damaged than it was Bravemansgame finally living up to his billing.
The winner had been trained to the minute for Kempton, which his trainer Paul Nicholls had long identified as the perfect race for him, and he had L'Homme Presse in hand when the latter unshipped Charlie Deutsch at the last.
Remember that L'Homme Presse had run in a handicap just four weeks earlier, and was something of a last-minute runner in the King George.
He also jumped left throughout that race, and was being done for speed by the winner more than anything when he departed.
L'Homme Presse won the Brown Advisory last season, which is in effect the Cheltenham Gold Cup for novices, and he still looks the better equipped for the biggest test in National Hunt racing.
With the King George appealing as much the best of the major staying chases run over Christmas, he remains a solid Gold Cup bet at 6/1.