Hurricane Fly leads magnificent seven heading into Cheltenham

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Punters may already be licking their lips at the prospect of getting the better of the bookies at the Cheltenham Festival, but being selective will be key as not all of the short-priced favourites are certain to achieve victory.

There are a host of strong ante-post favourites for Cheltenham this year, with Hurricane Fly and Big Buck’s both showcasing their credentials with routine victories this weekend.

As a result, Hurricane Fly has shortened to an odds-on 4/6 to win the Champion Hurdle for the second season in succession, while Big Buck’s is now 1/2 to land the Ladbrokes World Hurdle for a fourth time.

Such prices are rare at a prestigious meeting like Cheltenham, with Master Minded the last to start at similarly short odds of 4/11 in the 2009 Champion Chase.

The good news for punters is that both horses sent off at odds-on on race day last year at Cheltenham were both successful, with Big Buck’s and Quevega emerging victorious.

However, of the other six favourites to be sent off at 2/1 or shorter last year, only one justified their odds.

Cue Card, Master Minded, Time For Rupert and Poquelin were among the well-fancied runners who got beat and this may make punters think twice before backing all of the so-called ante-post bankers.

At present, Grands Crus is 6/4 to win the RSA Chase, Sizing Europe is 2/1 to make it back-to-back successes in the Champions Chase and Quevega is 10/11 to land another David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle.

Meanwhile, Long Run is fancied to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Sprinter Sacre has comfortably beaten all put in his way en route to the Arkle Chase.

An accumulator on Hurricane Fly, Big Buck’s, Quevega, Sizing Europe, Grands Crus, Long Run and Sprinter Sacre may look extremely tempting at present to win at Cheltenham and can be backed in an accumulator at 378/1.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.