34 take an early punt at the greatest race in the jumps calendar

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Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Imperial Commander, Kauto Star and Denman head an entry field of 34 horses for the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup and the three superstars head the betting market.

Imperial Commander is the current ante-post favourite in the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup betting with odds of 4/1, followed closely by Kauto Star at 9/2.

Denman completes the triumvirate at 7/1 and Diamond Harry is the next best in the Cheltenham betting market at 10/1.

The field of 34 contains the likes of Albertas Run (50/1), last year’s Ryanair Chase champion, Synchronised (50/1), the 2010 Welsh Grand National champion and Time For Rupert (20/1), the 2010 Ladbrokes World Hurdle runner-up.

This field will be whittled down to around 11 when the Cheltenham Gold Cup comes around on March 18th, but Ladbrokes are offering a non-runner money back rule with any ante-post bets so punters picks are safe should they not make the race.

The safe bets are backing one of the three former winners and new customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet which can be used on the Cheltenham Festival ante-post markets.

But outside of the triumvirate, there are high hopes for Diamond Harry (10/1), Midnight Chase (16/1) and Pandorama (14/1).

Ante-post betting offers the punter better odds on each horse and come March 15th when the Cheltenham Festival kicks off with the Supreme Novices hurdle – Cue Card is currently the 3/1 favourite in that ante-post market – these prices will not be available.

The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest meeting of the National Hunt calendar where the top horses, trainers, jockeys and punters descend on the Cotswolds for four days of festival magic.

The excitement is already building with just over two months to go and ante-post Cheltenham betting is the best way to enhance your personal build-up.

A £25 stake on Kauto Star winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup would return £137.50. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.