Cheltenham Tips: An ante-post Lucky 15 to follow at the Festival


RACING fanatics Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) and Alan Marron (@AlMarron) share their thoughts on ante-post Lucky 15 he'll be placing ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Festival | Lucky 15 | 10th-13th March 2020

Over the years, ante-post betting on the Cheltenham Festival has been both my friend and my nemesis. It's had me jumping for joy after landing a Lucky 31 but also had me literally dumbstruck with disappointment.

I used to start having ante-post bets for Cheltenham literally as soon as one Festival had finished but my approach these days is to hold fire with any main bets until the weekend before. It's just too risky given the confusion over multiple entries, injuries etc.

My modern day plan now begins a few weeks before the Festival, a softly softly, basically risk-free approach by using only the free bets I gain via my weekly betting and rewards schemes with leading bookmakers.

This is the first in a little series of ante-post multiples I'll be covering and I'm delighted to say that this year I'm (Tommy Buckley) joining forces with Bar One Racing blogger Alan Marron (@AlMarron).

Here our combined thoughts on an ante-post Lucky 15 that we think will give us a good run for our money.

Israel Champ in the Champion Bumper (Alan Marron)

Israel Champ has been on my radar since he won his point-to-oint at Monksgrange and was touted as a horse to follow with a big reputation. The bubble slightly burst on his first run under rules at Worcester where he led off a slow pace and it didn’t really suit him at all. He had earplugs in that day so it suggested to me that maybe he was a bit fresh and would come on for the run.
That proved to be the case when he was very impressive at Cheltenham next time out where he made all the running and galloped them into submission.
The form of that race doesn’t have an overly strong look to it as Time Flies By who finished second has failed to produce anything decent in a couple of runs in the meantime. Bellevarde Express who finished seventh that day has won since so that is the only positive look from the race that we can take.
Israel Champ then turned up at Ascot in a listed bumper and was even more impressive for me. The one thing that this horse will do is gallop and he just had them all at it and won very nicely.
David Pipe has opted to send Israel Champ straight to Cheltenham without another run and hopefully this will be vindicated. The bumper division this season has yet to really catch fire.
Willie Mullins may have the ace in the pack with Appreciate It but I would be happy enough to take him on at the forecast odds. Israel Champ will be one of the bets of the week for me and I will be disappointed if he is not in contention turning for home and give them plenty to think about.

Easyland in the Cross Country Chase (Alan Marron)

All the attention will be on Tiger Roll and that will be understandable. The one thing for me though is his French opponent Easyland looks to be on the upgrade and could well give him a decent race.
He has recently been acquired by JP Mc Manus and is unbeaten in his last six starts. He arrived at Cheltenham in December and absolutely blew me away with the manner of victory. He jumped and travelled away and galloped clear to win by seven lengths under Jonathon Plouganou and it was a superb run to say the least.
I have taken some fancy prices ante-post for this race and for me Tiger Roll will need to be on his A Game to get close. Easysland is only a six year-old so there is plenty of improvement to come. His battling success last time out at Pau last time out is something I wanted to see, he got into a battle and stayed on strongly when asked to win going away.
I am aware that the opposition will be more than just Tiger Roll and it will be a very competitive race but I think Easysland is one of the up and coming Cross Country specialists and JP Mc Manus is aware of that and could have acquired a very special recruit in his colours.

Abacadabras in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle  (Tommy Buckley)

I first became aware of the talent that Abacadabras possessed when watching him run an excellent fourth in the Champion Bumper at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. That excellent run declared that Abacadabras would be a serious horse for this season and so far everything he's done has backed that up.

Very impressive, easy winner on hurdles debut at Gowran Park, then another classy win in a Grade 3 hurdle at Navan eased to beat Latest Exhibition who has subsequently announced himself as a serious horse.

Abacadabras also has proven, solid Grade 1 form from when chasing home his highly regarded stablemate Envoi Allen at Fairyhouse and then when winning a Grade 1 at Leopardstown on his last run over Christmas.

All the major players who have been talked about for the Supreme Novices' are respected of course but for me Abacadabras looks a really solid option given his festival form and Grade 1 efforts – he should have more to give and looks good value to give a big run.

Supasundae in the Champion Hurdle (Tommy Buckley)

I've followed the career of Supasundae since Mr Potts bought him from Andrew Balding after impressively winning a Listed Bumper at Ascot in 2014 – Thistlecrack and Yanworth were in behind that day.

Now Supasundae has never been a horse to gain overly positive coverage and often has been a horse dismissed or forgotten but he's proven his class, he's proven versatility in terms of trip, track and ground, he's got proven Cheltenham Festival form and he's also a proven Grade 1 winner with a win at Leopardstown where he had Faugheen, Defi Du Seuil, Melon, Jezki, Identity Thief all behind him.

This year's Champion Hurdle looks one of the weakest I can remember – it looks wide open and I genuinely believe no horse can be confidently dismissed or ruled out, so for me the proven Grade 1 form and Festival form of Supasundae makes him a fascinating, live contender at real value odds, backed up by the confidence of both Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power.

Best Bets

Cheltenham Festival each-way Lucky 15:

Champion Bumper – Israel Champ

Cross Country Chase – Easyland

Supreme Novices' Hurdle – Abacadabras

Champion Hurdle – Supasundae

About Author

I've been into football since first going to Man United as an 8 year old, lucky enough to have season ticket in the mid 90's. I've been into horse racing since first going to Doncaster as a kid and I love a day out at the races. Sports betting and writing has been a passion of mine for the last 20 years, just love sharing thoughts with people and there is no bigger buzz than knowing my work has helped somebody make a few quid. I'm also into Darts and Snooker, love watching and playing both but I watch much better than I play, although I did once get my hands on the World Snooker Championship trophy at the Crucible. My most recent sporting highs have come from watching T20 cricket with my son, we just love watching Derbyshire beat Yorkshire every time. My 23 years of working life to date have been spent in the newspaper/news media business and the betting industry including working at football grounds/racecourses.

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