Cheltenham Festival Day 1
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Longshot Ted: Four must-have ante-post bets for Cheltenham

Pentland Hills should still be in the Champion Hurdle equation says Ed Quigley
Pentland Hills should still be in the Champion Hurdle equation says Ed Quigley

In this week's column, Ed Quigley turns his attention to the Cheltenham Festival, and picks out his four best ante-post bets at this stage...

Believe me when I say I have no ties to Seven Barrrows, but I think there a plenty of horses from the Nicky Henderson yard which still offer very good ante-post value for the Festival. Many races have a very wide-open feel to them which makes things totally riveting from a betting perspective. 

PRECIOUS CARGO fairly bolted up on chase debut at Haydock last month, and looks over-priced for the Arkle Trophy at 25/1. It was a modest three-runner race for his first attempt tackling the larger obstacles, but I liked his aptitude for his new discipline, and apart from one mistake, he produced a lovely round of jumping to score in facile fashion by 19 lengths. He is a horse with plenty of scope, and in an open looking year, this unexposed sort looks to have any amount of potential. Henderson has earmarked the Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster at the end of this month as his next port of call, and with a strong performance there, his price will tumble.

MISTER FISHER was runner up at Warwick on chase debut, but went one better at Cheltenham last month to land the Ryman Novices' Chase when upped in trip. I thought he jumped well was good value for more than the length and a quarter defeat of Good Boy Bobby on ground that was plenty soft enough for him. The Marsh Novices' Chase looks full of holes in regards to the antepost market protagonists. Faugheen is 12, Samcro is more hype than substance, Fakir D'Oudairies will probably run in the Arkle. Champ, Black Op and Slate House are all heading down the RSA Chase route and Laurina burst blood vessels last time out. Mister Fisher heads to the Scilly Isles next time out and looks rock solid in the 2m4f Novice Chase division. He is 14/1 now, and bar an accident he will be at least half that price in nine weeks time.

PYM has done very little wrong over fences so far, and this excellent jumper looks underrated by the market. He has excelled stepping up to three miles, and is an excellent jumper. He has notched up two very smart performances winning at Ascot and Cheltenham on his last two starts, and will head to the Reynoldstown Chase next all being well. He looks tailor made for the RSA in my view, in which his bold jumping will be his main asset. 

Finally, in the Champion Hurdle, I still think PENTLAND HILLS is the one I would want on my side by the time March 10 comes around. The Triumph Hurdle winner shaped like the best horse in the race for 90% of the of The International at Cheltenham last month, only to tire and fade as they hit the hill. He will strip a lot fitter for that outing, and looks to have an excellent chance in a wide open year when he has course form and stamina on his side. With the Kingwell Hurdle pencilled in as the potential next port of call, I am looking forward to seeing him once again.


Arkle Trophy, Cheltenham Festival, Tuesday 10th March 2020 - Precious Cargo, 1pt win at 25/1 (BetVictor)

Marsh Novices' Chase, Cheltenham Festival, Thursday 12th March 2020 - Mister Fisher, 1pt win at 14/1 (generally)

RSA Chase, Cheltenham Festival, Wednesday 11th March 2020 - Pym, 1pt win at 25/1 (William Hill)

Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Festival, Tuesday 10th March 2020 - Pentland Hills, 1pt win at 9/1 (Bet365)

Arkle Chase
Precious Cargo silk

Precious Cargo

Caught the eye when bolting up on chasing debut at Haydock last month, and although it was only in modest circumstances, he showed a good aptitude for his new discipline. We'll learn more about him when he steps up in grade - perhaps in the Lightning Novices' Chase at Doncaster next - but in the meantime he looks overpriced for the Arkle as a 25/1 shot.

Marsh Novices' Chase
Mister Fisher silk

Mister Fisher

Got off the mark over fences at the second time of asking when scoring at the December Meeting at Cheltenham, looking good value for more than the length and a quarter defeat of Good Boy Bobby on ground that was plenty soft for him. The Marsh Novices' Chase isn't looking the strongest bearing in mind that the market is currently headed by a 12-year-old, and there's plenty of value around his double-figure price.

RSA Chase
Pym silk


Carries familiar colours, but looked a good prospect in his own right when notching up two highly impressive wins at Ascot and Cheltenham of late. He's ready for a step up in grade, and is quickly putting himself into the picture for the RSA Chase.

Champion Hurdle
Pentland Hills silk

Pentland Hills

Was unable to make a winning reappearance in last month's International Hurdle at Cheltenham, but went like the best horse for 90% of that, before fading. He'll strip fitter for that, and has drifted out to a nice price bearing in mind that he would have serious claims on the form he showed to win last season's Triumph Hurdle.

Today's Naps Table
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