Une Artiste and Cue Card proof of Cheltenham winners over 33/1
Given the number of class horses that make it to the Cheltenham Festival and the fact there are now 27 races that feature, it can be expected that the odd big-priced winner will be thrown up.
In fact, in all but one of the years since 2005 that the Festival has been extended to four days and in eight of the last nine in total, at least one horse has triumphed at a starting price greater than 33/1.
Therefore, although it is unlikely to earn enough to retire early from work, 8/11 is fine value that the biggest winning starting price this year is 40/1 or higher.
Une Artiste would have ensured this bet was successful last year when winning the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle at 40/1, with Cue Card, Mr McGoldrick and Ebaziyan other examples of 40/1 or better winners.
In fact, Ebaziyan’s triumph came in the opening race of the 2007 Festival in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, meaning punters could count their profit early.
The next question that punters will be asking is where is the 40/1 winner going to come from at Cheltenham this year?
The obvious place to start looking is in one of the handicaps as winners of such a price are less frequent in the bigger championship races.
Definite starters are harder to come by in handicaps with trainers often leaving it until the last minute to make final decisions over their horses.
Both on the final day of the Festival, the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle and the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase are two races that most regularly throw up bigger-priced winners.
The Irish have won five of the last six runnings of the County Hurdle and horses rated in the 130s have taken each of the last seven. This could bode well for Blazing Tempo, who returns to hurdles after a failed spell jumping.
Meanwhile, with no horse winning the Grand Annual off a higher official rating than 145 since 1992, it pays to consider those below this mark, who are also in the handicap.
Pigeon Island has been running in group company of late without totally disappointing himself and has previously won this race in 2010.
Interestingly, nine of the last 12 Grand Annual winners were rated between 129 and 134, which suits Pigeon Island.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.