Longshot Ted: Three bets for next year's Cheltenham Festival

Thyme Hill shaped well to finish fourth in Friday's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
Thyme Hill shaped well to finish fourth in Friday's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

In the latest edition of his weekly column, Ed Quigley has taken a long-term look at next year's Cheltenham Festival, and picked out three bets...

I think THYME HILL didn't get the rub of the green in the Albert Bartlett, but looks solid value at 20/1 to win the Stayers' Hurdle in 12 months time. Mainly because it looks the only realistic target for him. Connections have more or less ruled out chasing, and Philip Hobbs has stated that 'he hopes he is a Stayers' Hurdle horse'. It is open to debate whether he would have won the Albert Bartlett without interference, but he is a horse clearly with plenty of ability regardless and looked happy stepping up to three miles. This unexposed six-year-old is already a Grade 1 winner and looks to have the tools to make up into a serious challenger in a staying hurdle division that looks wide open. Newbury and Ascot look obvious targets in the autumn, and I expect him to become an established force as a stayer as he steps out of novice company.

As far as the Gold Cup goes, Topofthegame is one I have already backed for this at 33/1 but the value is disappearing on the back of a positive bulletin from Paul Nicholls. Being a forgiving type, at 50/1, the Colin Tizzard-trained COPPERHEAD makes plenty of appeal despite a no-show in the RSA. You can pick holes in his Reynoldstown Chase, but he looked a serious prospect in the staying chasing division on the back of that. He ran no race whatsoever in the RSA Chase, but to be blunt, many of the Tizzard string ran absolute stinkers. So much so, he believes there is 'a low grade virus' amongst them. If he shows any of his old spark moving forwards then he could look generously priced with assured stamina in the locker. When on song, he has looked a wonderful jumper, and up until the RSA had looked extremely progressive. Something like the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury looks like a logical port of call and I wouldn't be shocked if he bounced back to form.

Whilst on the Team Tizzard bandwagon, THE BIG BREAKAWAY is a huge scopey type who didn't have an ideal preparation before the Ballymore and was well beaten into fourth behind Envoi Allen for a yard as aforementioned, that had a totally underwhelming time of things at Prestbury Park. However, at 40/1 he makes plenty of appeal for next term, as in my eyes he looks every inch a three-mile chaser. I think connections will look for something small at the start of the season to build his confidence up, and there is plenty of mileage in his price for a horse was bought to be a chaser. The five-year-old oozed class on his first two starts over hurdles and is one that is far from being written off yet.

Advice:

RSA Chase, Wednesday 17th March 2021 - The Big Breakaway, 1pt win, 40/1 (SkyBet)

Stayers' Hurdle, Thursday 18th March 2021 - Thyme Hill, 1pt win 20/1 (Bet365)

Cheltenham Gold Cup, Friday 19th March 2021 - Copperhead, 1pt win, 50/1 (generally)

RSA Chase
The Big Breakaway silk

The Big Breakaway

Stayers' Hurdle
Thyme Hill silk

Thyme Hill

Cheltenham Gold Cup
Copperhead silk

Copperhead

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