Betting Tips and Previews: Cheltenham Festival

Honeysuckle Set To Retain Champion Hurdle Crown



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Banker of the meeting. The essential leg of any Cheltenham acca. The accolades associated with Henry De Bromhead’s superstar mare are plentiful and they are rightly deserved after 15 wins on the bounce.

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She’s back for The Cheltenham Festival next week to defend her Champion Hurdle crown in a field which is difficult to see where a viable challenge may emerge.

We will size up the opposition and check out the best bets available for The Champion Hurdle from our partner firms.

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IS HONEYSUCKLE UNBEATABLE?

It’s not so much about the case of Honeysuckle, it’s more about the quality of the opposition. It may be harsh on the superstar mare’s rivals but it’s hard to see which horse is going to lay a glove on the Henry de Bromhead 8-year-old.

The 7ib weight allowance for mares is one thing to consider, however the X factor element of Honeysuckle comes from her ability to switch on the destruct button whenever she pleases.

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Whether she kicks away from 2 out or 3 out, no horse has been able to keep up with her devastating turn of foot at the business end of her races.

Unwise to look anywhere else unless for a decent priced each way proposition. Cheltenham banker accas should get off to the perfect start in this leg.

Best priced at 4/7 with William Hill

CAN APPRECIATE IT OVERCOME THE LONG ABSENCE?

Last year’s emphatic Supreme Novices winner has not been seen out since that victory. A chasing career was planned; however, this was curtailed after a few setbacks.

He was due to take his place in the Irish Champion Hurdle last month but pulled out days before. Therefore, a lot of question marks remain about what sort of horse Appreciate It will be when he turns up on Tuesday.

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This would be one of the training performances of all time if Willie Mullins can pull this one off, but it’s a big ask and 7/2 (bet365, William Hill, Bet Victor, Betfred, Boylesports) is atrocious value when you think that Appreciate It is only 1 out of 2 at Cheltenham if you remember his bumper defeat to Ferny Hollow in 2020.

Far better value can be found elsewhere.

THE EACH WAY OPTIONS

TEAHUPOO

This Gordon Elliott trained smart youngster found himself in the mix when winning comfortably in The Red Mills Trial Hurdle, beating Darasso and Quilixios in the process.

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The stats are not in his favour as a five-year-old considering that 14 of the past 17 winners are aged between six and eight. Nevertheless, he is sure to improve on that and therefore enters each way calculations at 8/1 (William Hill, Bet Victor, Betfred, Boylesports).

EPATANTE

The 2020 winner has shown that she has retained some of her exceptional ability this season with some consistent performances.

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Trainer Nicky Henderson is very pleased with her and the 7ib mares allowance provides confidence for the backer that she may do better than her placing from last year. 10/1 with bet365 including Best Odds Guaranteed and NRNB.

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ZANAHIYR

The Gordon Elliot trained second string has been in good form this season but still has nearly 7 lengths to find on Honeysuckle. 16/1 with William Hill, Bet Victor, Betfred and Boylesports.

ADAGIO

The David Pipe trained entry has some eye-catching form which certainly gives him a squeak if he ups his game. Second behind West Cork in the Greatwood at Cheltenham was an impressive run and his second behind Goshen in the recent Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton was even better as Goshen is no slouch when going right-handed.

Plenty to prove at this level but surely worth a few pennies each way at 16/1 (William Hill, Betfred, Bet Victor, Boylesports).

VERDICT

Very difficult to see this race going anywhere but Honeysuckle’s such is her ability, form, turn of foot and weight allowance.

Appreciate It is clearly not far off Honeysuckle’s level but the lack of a run and question marks over the horse's nonappearances this season makes him a risky opposition and should make for a more viable match in next season’s championship if he continues down the hurdles route.

Much better value is to be found with Epatante, Zanahiyr or Adagio at decent prices.

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Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (12am 11th March 2022) and are subject to change.

Matt is Howtobet4free's resident Horse Racing expert, writer, tipster and a huge Cheltenham Festival fan. He occasionally dabbles in Golf, Football and anything else you can gamble on!

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