Looking at Ladbrokes’ list of Cheltenham Special markets the bar for Irish-trained winners has been set precariously low by the bookmaker judging by recent festivals.
The firm offer the same odds of 5/6 on Irish trainers producing 11-or-under festival winners, or above 11, and it’s the more positive estimate which gets our vote.
The strength of the Irish team has grown significantly over the past decade and the previous two years at Cheltenham highlight this perfectly.
Taking all the winners of the past two festivals combined, the Emerald Isle has trained precisely half of them – broken down as 14 in 2013 and 12 last year from 27 races per Cheltenham.
These numbers alone could easily sway punters towards hopping over the 11-winner mark with their wagers, while a closer look at the Irish hand across the 2015 festival appears to back this theory up.
Naturally, the Irish charge will be spearheaded by Champion Trainer Willie Mullins whose string on the first day alone could easily account for a quarter of the required quota of 12.
Douvan (Supreme Novices’), Un De Sceaux (Arkle), Faugheen (Champions Hurdle) and Annie Power in the Mares’ Hurdle are all heavily-fancied favourites to reward the County Carlow handler on Tuesday.
The level weights races throughout the programme are peppered with big hopes, not exclusive to Mullins of course, with two Gigginstown Don’s attracting plenty of money.
Don Cossack is the market leader for the Ryanair and whichever out of the RSA Chase and the National Hunt Chase Don Poli is pointed at, he’ll be heavily backed.
However, it’s not just the Irish novice hurdlers and novice chaser divisions which seal the deal, it’s the overall strength in depth ensuring a flurry of scores in handicapped races as well.
Don’t forget, Ladbrokes are NRNB across all 27 races of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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