Star Horses Set to Shine at Cheltenham Festival 2018
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Star Horses Set to Shine at Cheltenham Festival 2018

National hunt horse racing might seem a little bit archaic to those outside of the UK and Ireland, with the idea of hurdling and steeplechasing no doubt raising eyebrows among those used to seeing horses run on flat turf.

However, there is no bigger celebration of national hunt, aka jumps, racing than the Cheltenham Festival. Singular events like the Grand National at Aintree may be better known worldwide, but nothing in the discipline quite matches the four-day spectacular at Cheltenham.

The Festival is now one of the must-see sporting events for anyone visiting the South of England in the early spring. It draws thousands of fans out to the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside to the watch the breath-taking action, with many more catching the races live on television.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY

Betting, of course, will play a big part at the Festival, with around 250,000,000 expected to be wagered across the 28 races. It is of huge of importance to bookmakers, who will often offer lucrative promotions to punters. The good news is that some of the best Cheltenham Festival betting offers have been put together in one handy guide.

The Festival runs from 13th to 16th March at Prestbury Park Racecourse, Gloucestershire, with notable races including the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase. Some of the horses sure to make headlines at the Festival are highlighted below:

Apple's Jade:

Probable Race: OLBG Mares' Hurdle (13th March)

Current Odds: 8/13

Nine wins and four second-place finishes - all in top-class races - demonstrates Apple's Jade's credentials as the best mare to appear since Annie Power burst onto the scene. She won the Mares' Hurdle last year at Cheltenham when up against a very strong field and has won four from four since. The main conundrum for trainer Gordon Elliott is whether to put Apple's Jade into the Mares' Hurdle, where she will be overwhelming favourite, or go for something bigger, such as the Stayers' Hurdle.

Might Bite:

Probable Race: Cheltenham Gold Cup (16th March)

Current Odds: 7/2

Any questions over Might Bite's candidacy for the Gold Cup, which is Cheltenham's biggest prize, were answered when he stormed to victory in the King George VI Chase in December. Trainer Nicky Henderson knows that he has a superstar on his hands, so he will be doing everything possible to make sure Might Bite grabs the glory in the Festival's headline race. Last year's winner, Sizing John, represents formidable opposition however.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY

Un De Sceaux

Probable Race: Ryanair Chase (15th March)

Current Odds: 7/2

Un De Sceaux is, put simply, a wonderful horse, but one who is perhaps a little underrated despite holding a stellar record. He has already won two Grade 1 races at the Cheltenham Festival and would have won a third had he not came up against the mercurial Sprinter Sacre in 2016. Again, the question for trainer Willie Mullins may just be what race to use one of his star assets. The Ryanair Chase looks like the most likely destination.


Probable Race: Arkle Chase (13th March)

Current Odds: 6/4

Another star-in-the-making from Willie Mullins' stables, Footpad has really started to shine since switching from hurdles to chasing last year. The Arkle Chase, named for one of the most legendary horses in Cheltenham history, seems like the best fit for Footpad to really start making a name for himself. He looks like one of the most likely winners of the Festival.

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