Cheltenham ‘Bankers’

The Cheltenham Festival, which commences on Tuesday, March 14, inevitably throws up a handful of horses that cannot sensibly be opposed so, this week, we’ve taken a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” stance and highlighted the chances of the three shortest-priced favourites of the week in the ante post betting.

Last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Altior (1.33) has made a seamless transition to fences this season, winning all four starts, including the Grade 1 King Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, in impressive fashion. The 7-year-old jumped well when winning at Newbury in February and, already rated 15lb higher over fences than he was over hurdles, should prove far too good for his rivals in the Arkle Trophy on Tuesday.

Limini (2.25) won the new race at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, in splendid style and, this year, is a warm order for the other mares’ race, the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle Race, on Tuesday. The 6-year-old daughter of Pente Celebre was a beaten favourite on two subsequent outings, both at Grade 1 level, at Aintree and Punchestown, last season, but looked as good as ever when comfortably beating Apple’s Jade by 2 lengths in the Listed Quevega Mares’ Hurdle on her reappearance at Punchestown in February.

Douvan (1.33) has won all 12 starts since joining Willie Mullins and is already twice a winner at the Cheltenham Festival, comfortably beating Sizing John in the Arkle Trophy last year to supplement his victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle the year before. The 7-year-old has plenty in hand of his rivals on official ratings and it will be bitterly disappointing if he doesn’t add to his Festival tally in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday.

Selections: Altior (1.33), Limini (2.25), Douvan (1.33), 5-point Win Treble (3.98 with Bet Stars)

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