Cheltenham Festival 2020: Ante-Post Chat

Your ante-post fancies/thoughts…

As with recent years the purpose of this post is to provide a space where you can chat away in the comments, discussing any ante-post fancies you have or horses you are looking forward to.

If you wish to share please state the horse, the race, and a sentence on why you fancy it. There is no point in just listing a horse (s) as that just defeats the object of the exercise and isn’t of much use to anyone. 

As with last year I look forward to reading your many thoughts and fancies.

I’m not a big Ante-Post player myself but I know many of you are, especially with Non-runner-no-bet concessions.

So, what do you have your eye on at this stage?


p.s – I’ve just started researching this year’s guide but if you want to flick through last year’s >>> 

Cheltenham 2019 Stats/Trends/Micros: REPORT HERE>>>

Also of possible interest from previous years >>>

My Festival 2019 Review HERE>>> 

Old post: How to find handicap hurdle winners HERE>>>

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Do join in the conversation below, we're a friendly bunch.. all questions welcome, and do share your selections or thoughts

43 Responses

  1. To start the ball rolling – some interesting clues coming out of the Dublin Racing Festival.

    I think that Faugheen will be over backed now. I can see her getting beat at Cheltenham and so I would be a layer at prices now. Too much hype.

    Chacon Pour Soi has not run at Cheletenham and so his ability to run well there would have to be taken on trust. Another one to lay at a short price.

    Honeysuckle was OK but Petit Mouchoir was close to her and so may be too short for the Champion Hurdle.

    Delta Work looked solid but I am unsure as to whether he just beat horses running below their best?

    I did like two others who ran on well and can contend up the hill at the festival. Wolf Prince and Easy Game in to the tracker for the meeting.

  2. ” I can see her getting beat ”
    Is actually a him, can understand your slip, having Honeysuckle on your mind
    at the same time.

  3. Just throwing this out there, but does anyone on here attend these Cheltenham festival
    preview nights? Are they worth while going ?, does anyone beat the market/make money from attending?
    Don’t get me wrong i’m not against them, some of them are well run, and monies raised
    go to good causes, ie Andrew Mount’s will be held at Market Harborough, supports the IJF,
    but i get the impression some of them are up there stealing a living. Some of these pundits hacks attend more than one, they can’t be doing this out of their goodness of their hearts surely,therefore rehashing the same summaries to different audience’s.

    There is so much that can happen between said night’s and said horses participation, i wonder how many horses actually make to race day?

    I just thought in this day day and age when there are so many platforms out there,ie
    twitter, facebook, youtube ,pin interest, it just seems these preview night’s are so old hat.


    1. The London Racing Club preview evening is very good and well attended. This year it is Thursday 5th March. Lydia Hislop and Rory Delargy and Phil Smith amongst others on the panel. Lee Mottershead, Matt Tombs, Paul Kealy in the crowd up for a drink and a chat.
      What you need to understand about these previews is who is a good tipster and who is just knowledgeable and puts up the semi obvious? Some panel members do not get that upsets happen at the festival every year and so should look for the less obvious. I think that from the group above, Rory Delargy is a good tipster whereas the others are knowledgeable but not great tipsters. I think that Rory sees the bigger picture more.
      Other examples generally would be Ruby Walsh being a good tipster as well as being very knowledgeable, but AP McCoy and Mick Fitzgerald are not good tipsters, but knowledgeable.

      just my observations based upon my experiences.

      1. Experience tells me that Ben Pauling knows the time of day both with his own horses and where they stand with other stables – take note if he’s at a preview night

    2. Hi Paul,
      I’d go to anything that Andy Holding is at ! As simple as that.

      I got to the annual one in Liverpool near Aintree that John Morris organises – first invited by some local readers of this blog 4/5 years ago and i’ve been ever since with them – great fun and an informative panel – Andy Holding is top of the pile for me- in sense he has his own private speed figures, esp in non hncps/novices etc – I trust my own judgement in handicaps and don’t care for many others opinion in those in truth, but that’s just me- but i take note of everything/but esp the 12 or so races I don’t traditionally ‘tip’ in on here –
      Last year for example he was very sweet on Pentland Hills EW at 20s – as his clock almost broke given what he did at Plumpton! Without that info you’d look at a novice win at Plumpton and think ‘nah’ – but the final circuit was app run in a time/overall time that would have been good enough to place in the last X triumphs etc – I put him up in the ‘through the card’ (which did better than my ‘tips’ last year, 25+ points I think) for that day – he was very bullish on Paisley and had been backing him at big prices for months before-
      My review of that preview evening is here>>>

      It’s generally same panel every year – Ben Pauling is good value – John Parrot is there- very entertaining.

      All round it’s a good night, with plenty of Guinness flowing.

      There’s a danger of going to too many I think, as your judgement can be clouded – but starter point is to go for entertainment purposes I think.

      1. Hi Josh,
        Agree with you about AH, he’s one of the few professionals who tells it as it is,
        and has good handle on the irish horse’s, do you know if these night’s support
        a particular charity?

        1. Yep John’s does, but I forget what it is! I hear the panel has changed this year, Andy H and John P still on it, Andrew Thornton and Dan Barber (timeform) replacing Ben Pauling/Charlie L – which overall may well be an improvement! Although Ben’s view will be missed.

          1. completely agree about Andy Holding. a very nice man as well.
            His Simon Nott interviews on You Tube are very good too.

  4. I’m struggling this year to find a good Ante Post option. I’m kicking myself over Asterion Forlonge which would have been a good EW bet for the Supreme Novices. Prior to yesterday’s run I could have got 20’s but decided not to – needless to say he is now a best price 13/2 (William Hill) so the price has gone. C’est La Vie!

  5. You can tell I’m struggling ‘cos the only horse at the moment I fancy is in the Bumper – normally a race I avoid like the plague! However, there is a horse called Eskylane which beat the current favourite Appreciate It (came 2nd) & then went on to win at Navan. Eskylane is currently 20’s & Appreciate It is 9/4. Highly speculative but worth a fiver each way I reckon.

  6. I thought Delta Work was impressive on Sunday, and have backed him for the Gold Cup. For the Champion Hurdle, I like Saldier. Mullins said he was back on track a few weeks ago and I was impressed by his turn of speed and jumping in the Morgiana. Handicap wise, I’ll take a good look at 2 angles.

    1) Skelton’s runners. He doesn’t have many for the Championship races, and suspect he will target handicaps. I’m interested in horses like Mohaayed (C&D winner, back down to a good mark) in the County and Cobra de Mai (course winner, back down to last winning handicap mark) in the Kim Muir. His reason record in the County speaks for itself.

    2) Irish horses who were entered up at the Trials meeting to check out their marks from the UK handicapper. Ones that took my eye were:

    Galvin (142) which puts him into the Close Brothers, but will have other entries. Can be backed at 14s to win any race with Hills.

    Cerberus (136) but maybe revised after his run Sunday for the Fred Winter.

    The Bosses Oscar (136) probably for the Martin Pipe Hurdle

    Otherwise, could see Ballyandy running into a place in the Champion Hurdle at 33s, and was impressed with Pym when he won over 3M at Cheltenham and have backed him for the RSA at 25s.

    1. I can see Delta Work going well enough in an open gold cup at a price.

      I do not like Saldier that much but the champion hurdle is open as well this year. What about Supasundae at a price? As it is not a great race Ballyandy could plod on for third I guess?

      Skelton horses may have been sussed now by the handicapper. Flash Of Steel is apparently being prepped for the meeting over fences. Perhaps his second string ridden by Bridget Andrews at a price?

      I still think that Un De Sceaux could do something going the right pace? It depends on the price though as he would likely be backed on the day.

      Frodon can go again in The Ryanair.

      I wouyld leave the bumper alone unless you are going on something at a price for fun.

      Good luck.

      1. Can see why you don’t like Saldier Martin! Now out. Champion Hurdle really cutting up. Agree that Frodon should go well again in the Ryanair. Thought Itchy Feet was really impressive last weekend.

  7. They always have one after racing at Sandown on Imperial Cup day too,I always attend and a few others too.I find them a good night out and some interesting chat and stories but would never follow any of the tips given out by the so called pundits.

  8. Hi Mark
    Here i am, afraid this is not for me ante post tried it years ago and doubt if i was infront of the bookies when i stopped doing ante post, much prever on the day punting, and do not have a method for ante post.
    Josh you tried a tipping contest for a few months, so why not try a Cheltenham ante post tipping contest where everyone who wishes put up their bets closing 7 days before the first race and will see how many win taking ante post odds, just a thought.
    One trainer always listen too is Paul Nichols, and Nicky Henderson handicap hurdlers especially white silks and black cap, unable to recall the owners name could be Micheal Buckley, Willie Mcfarland tipped one and it romped home at 14/1, absolutley cruising 3 from home and the only danger was the hurdles or one coming down in front of it the name eludes me.
    Having subscribed for 7 years to Willie’s tipping service he never gave an ante post bet!!! and in his day he was number 1 jockey for Nicky Henderson in his day.

  9. Not much ante post value about at present it seems. More value the night before or on the day with the enhancements.
    What about Pic D’Orhy for the champion hurdle? How do we know that Epatante is OK??
    Banker of the meeting Tiger Roll.

    Plenty of time to fins one at a price anyway.

    1. I mean I know it could be a weak Champion hurdle but that Betfair form is just handicapping form isn’t it?? I mean Remuluc wasn’t far away from him and while he’s progressive that isn’t Champion hurdle form, even in a poor year, is it?? And he may have been a lucky winner given horses BD/interfered with, having watched it back. The Evan Williams horse wasn’t going to be far away, for example, and he’s clearly got more handicaps in him.
      But on flip side, it could be a weak year, and maybe a decent handicapper can get lucky?
      Just trying to ponder who Willie may re-route there if he things it’s a poor year – I see some musing on their start mare, Benie D – not sure she’s got the pace for 2m though but who knows.

  10. At this stage we are guessing with a number of horses as to where they will run.

    In the Champion Hurdle I think Benie Des Dieux may turn up in a weaker year. 15/2 at present but only 5/2 with a run. I also like Supasundae at 20/1 as he stays further but is not suited by the distance of the Stayers Hurdle.
    In The Mares I am banking on Benie coming out and so the 10/1 Roksana (previous winner) looks decent. Lady Buttons is running well over fences this season and if she were to have a go here, as I do not think that any of the chases suit her, the 20/1 would be good.
    In The RSA, Black Op jumps well enough and 20/1 looks a bit of value.
    In The Champion Chase I think it is very competitive and all about value. That leads me to Altior at 4/1.
    In The Marsh Novices Chase I think that Easy Game will run here and 12/1 looks fair enough.
    In The Ryanair, the distance of the race would suit Un De Scieux and the 20/1 looks good.
    In The Gold Cup, without knowing the condition of the ground, Native River looks in good order this season and 12/1 is some value.

    All each way, maybe some will not run in those races, but you can take the chance at the prices.

  11. Josh, or anyone
    Do we know when we get a bit of a better gauge for the Hcps
    Like for the weights, i dont know what stage that gets sorted at and its not up on ATR yet
    There’s a market but cant get a shape of race
    i dont even know is there a site where you can check current marks of horses pike revised marks after their last wins???

    1. I’ve taken the below from a tweet of someone I follow which may help. If course knowing who will def run etc is a bit of a guessing game…

      Upcoming dates to note regarding the Festival:

      Wed 19th Feb – Scratchings for ALL novice events

      Thurs 20th Feb – Handicap entries

      Wed 26th Feb – Handicap weights released + entries for the Cross Country, Champion Bumper, Mares Novices’ & Foxhunters

  12. Epatante at around 3/1 for the Champion Hurdle is like finding money in the street – actually it’s better ‘cos those nice bookie chappies put the money on the betting shop counter or pay it into your bank account -so no bending down ! His win in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle was utterly breathtaking – the last time I saw a hurdler with that many gears was Altior five years ago. Everything’s in place for my biggest ever bet – the memsahib’s being packed off to her mothers for Cheltenham week, leaving me with the joint account bank card – plenty of time to empty the account, slap it on Epatante and get the money back into the account before her return on Friday evening.
    The only problem is the jockey. When my father was teaching me about betting 50 years ago, he gave me a set of unbreakable rules to follow. Number one was never back a horse ridden by Barry Geraghty and on his deathbed in ’77 his final words were “Never back a horse ridden by Barry Geraghty “, and that has stood me in good stead ever since. So I pray every night to dear old dad and hope that if he has any celestial influence he could arrange a little ( non-serious ) accident or a ban or a prison sentence – anything to get Geraghty off the horse and replaced by a proper jockey like Page Fuller or George Formby or Elizabeth Taylor- or anybody but bloody Geraghty.

    1. Hahaaaa that made me laugh
      is Geraghty that bad???
      i think he’s learnt exactly what to do with Defi Du Seuil
      i dont think it was his fault for any mistakes Beuvair has made recently, last season more so
      He’s obviously riding the better horses most of the time

      1. Barry Geraghty is the most incompetent so called ‘ top jockey ‘ I have ever seen in more than fifty years of race watching. I tend to watch races through my fingers if he has a ride. If he manages to get from one side of an obstacle to the other it’s down to good luck and the dexterity of the horse rather than any jockey artistry. All owners bar one abandoned him years ago – the nude pics he has of J.P. McManus must be pretty damn incriminating.

        1. The thing about Geraghty is he is over complicates things and generally rides them held up. That’s OK in hurdles but puts him at a massive disadvantage when it comes to chasers personally. I don’t think he is back but have always thought of him as extremely over rated and is a step behind the top dozen or so jockeys so the naked picture rumors are probably true!

    2. Epatante looks short to me at 4/2 in an open race. he has been off the course for a while now. I do not like Pentland Hills either wind op or not.

      I like Supasundae and Ballyandy (if soft) each way.

  13. My finely honed ante post strategy for Cheltenham is to listen very carefully to Gordon Elliot and try to work out what will run where before the prices crash. First attempt at a Lucky 31 here:
    Thatsy – Coral Cup 33-1
    Tronador – Boodles 16-1
    Ben Dundee – Brown Advisory 12-1
    Fury Road – Albert Bartlett – 16-1
    Battle of Wills – Triumph 33-1

    1. Thanks Paul, will take a look.
      I was at the annual Liv preview with Andy H and a few others, and am just pulling together a post on that now. Always informative.

  14. I am surprised that in a weak Champion Hurdle last years 3rd Silver Streak has not had a mention not great this year and maybe better on good to soft ground but had a fiver ew at 33/1 and do not think a forlorn hope. My best AP bet is the fiver ew on Allmankind in the Triumph at 20/1. Had more AP bets than usual this year just to £5 stakes basically so I hopefully do not have to put as much on during the week, saying that very few bets on the Wednesday races yet apart from Defi in the Champion Chase big bet £20 at 4/1.

  15. Was looking at the Triumph hurdle last night Paul
    How the heck bookies can have Allmankind priced up behind the 2 above baffles me. Solo they’r going off one run and at Kempton.
    Goshen looks impressive but been in lower class races so unsure of opposition, but jumps quite remarkably right, surely can’t jump the same as did when running at Fontwell
    Allmankind looks relentless, do normally shy away from backing a tear away like that but if he can get a lead, fill up his lungs and then stretch away again when others have tried catching up to him similar to when winning LTO at Chepstow, then he could possibly hold on.
    if him and Goshen were to take each other on however, I could see Aspire tower travelling well in behind and possibly benefitting from a daft pace infront
    Just some thoughts, think Aspire Tower would be the more sensible pick

    1. Fair point and don’t disagree but that Chepstow run took my breath away in that he took a breather and then went forward again

    1. If Sir Psycho goes for the race instead of The Boodles I could see him being each way value at a price. If he does go Boodles then take the hint.
      At the Ascot preview evening Nicholls preferred Solo when he was 18/1 before he had run (I got on then so at least have the value) to Sir Psycho, but he does like them both.
      I think that the front runners may cut one another’s throats if they go too fast?

  16. Was listening to the Final Furlong podcast yesterday Nicholl’s assistant trainer said Solo would sit in behind and take a lead from All Mankind etc

    Also said Mick Pastor in the Boodles was his bet of the week @8/1

  17. Two I have done today is Dynamite Dollars in the Queen Mother which I think could cut up and is overpriced and Simply The Betts who is about as solid a bet as you can make in a festival handicap and I think will probably go off even shorter on the day. Him and Frodon would be my 2 best bets of the meeting certainly e/w. I suspect I’ll find it hard to not back Harambe for the County but holding out for the 33s NRNB and I don’t have Ladbrokes so not had a bet yet.

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