Paddy Power’s non-runner no bets kicked in for the Cheltenham Festival on Monday 10am so it’s the ideal time to come up with a Lucky 31 and five horses to smash up during the greatest jumps meeting on planet earth.
Remember if they not don’t run in the race I suggest or are for any other reason a non-runner on the day – that part of your stake is refunded.
Let’s start with the Mares’ Hurdle on the opening day on Tuesday, Match 10, and while many will side with the Irish Champion Hurdle heroine here in Honeysuckle, I have no doubt BENIE DES DIEUX @ Evens is the one to bank on. She was so unlucky not to hack up in this event in 2019 when tipping up at the last, but I fully expect the Willie Mullins runner to do exactly that this time around.
Seems that Ruby Walsh is thinking the same too about Benie Des Dieux’s target.
I’m amazed ALTIOR @ 2/1 joint fav is not clear favourite for the Champion Chase despite having being cut by the Paddy Power traders, and I think he’s a banker as well.
It was great to see Altior back to something like his best over the weekend, and his running style means he will never be that impressive.
Quite simply the Nicky Henderson runner has that will to win that so few have, and I love the fact that when Nico de Boinvillle gets stuck in he always responds.
I have to pop in my old friend FAUGHEEN @ 6/1, and I will opt for the Marsh Novices’ Chase as his most likely target. I’ve never been convinced a slog over three miles is what he wants, and the former Champion Hurdle hero still has plenty of zip. He looks a huge price at around 6-1 and I have to have him in my list for sentimental reasons if nothing else. Another for Mullins.
On form, PAISLEY PARK @ 5/6 should be long odds on for the Stayers’ Hurdle, which of course is brilliantly sponsored by Paddy Power this year. For some reason bookmakers don’t seem to get just how dominant Paisley Park is, but he will take a world of beating for Emma Lavelle and Aidan Coleman.
I just love his attitude – he’s a bit like Altior in running style and that suite me fine.
And finally class bumper horse THYME HILL @ 5/1 is the one for me in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. The Philip Hobbs runner was decent with no obstacles, but again has that real will to win over jumps and when Richard Johnson asks there is always a response. He will take some overtaking up the hill.
So best of luck and let’s hope to get the winners rolling in a Lucky 31 over the four days of next month’s Festival.
You hear me Paddy?
*Prices and entries are correct at time of publication but stakes are refunded in Paddy’s non runner money back market for Cheltenham 2020