Bookies set out stall for festival
Bookmakers are gearing themselves up for one of the busiest Cheltenham Festivals in recent times as punters look to Willie Mullins for ammunition on one of the busiest weeks of the year.
Punters have not been deterred from a Mullins four-timer on the opening day, despite the agonising fall of Annie Power on the Tuesday last year which saved the bookmakers millions and Alan Reilly of Boylesports is anticipating plenty of action in the coming weeks.
Reilly told the Herald: "We anticipate the busiest Cheltenham in recent memory. Especially so if day one is as bad as it might be looking as punters will be in a defiant mood for the remaining three days. However, we aren't running scared. We are open for business and let battle commence!"
Since Boylesports went 'non-runner/money back' on selected races earlier in the month, business has improved but next month is when they expect it to get even busier.
Reilly continued: "It would be fair to say that levels have picked up since NRMB on the championship races and the Ryanair but certainly the first day multiples are far busier this year as the awareness amongst the public is far more widespread as opposed to last January before the prospect of four opening Mullins winners really kicked in."
It is just over 7/1 for Willie Mullins to complete an opening day four-timer with Min, Douvan, Faugheen and Annie Power and bookmakers Paddy Power yesterday attempted to drum up some business by opening books on winning distances for races.
Douvan is just 6/4 to win the Arkle by eight lengths or more. Annie Power is 7/4 to win the Mares Hurdle by seven lengths or more despite the fact that she hasn't been seen this season.
Despite his emphatic 15-length victory in the Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown last Sunday, Faugheen is 2/1 to win his second Champion Hurdle by eight lengths or more and it's 3/1 that Min can win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle by a fraction more than Douvan last year and take the race by at least five lengths.
Paddy Power said: "Some Cheltenham shorties are just a trifle too short for some punters so we've come up with these distance specials so they can have a punt on these races and still have a realistic chance of collecting."
Paddy Power are now also betting without Min in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, without Douvan in the Arkle, without Un De Sceaux in the Champion Chase and without Faugheen in the Champion Hurdle with the last two markets also being 'non-runner/no bet'.
Champion Hurdle betting without Faugheen (NRNB)
Paddy Power: 15-8 Arctic Fire, 3 Nichols Canyon, Identity Thief, 6 Peace And Co, 8 The New One, 16 My Tent Or Yours, Hargam, 20 Sempre Medici, 25 Bar
Champion Chase betting without Un De Sceaux (NRNB)
Paddy Power: 2 Sprinter Sacre, 9-2 Dodging Bullets, 5 Sire De Grugy, 6 Special Tiara, 7 Simonsig, 8 Traffic Fluide, 12 Felix Yonger, 16 Josses Hill, 20 Somersby, 25 Bar
Supreme Novices' Hurdle betting without Min
Paddy Power: 100-30 Altior, 5 Yorkhill, 6 Buveur D'Air, Tombstone, 10 Yanworth, 12 Bellshill, 14 Supasundae, Coney Island, Modus, 16 Silver Concorde, 18 Moon Racer, 20 Forgotten Rules, Au Quart De Tour, 25 Bar
Arkle Chase betting without Douvan
Paddy Power: 2 L'Ami Serge, 3 Vaniteux, 4 Sizing John, 5 Garde La Victoire, 13-2 Ar Mad, 8 Shaneshill, Fox Norton, 10 Kitten Rock, 25 Tell Us More, Bristol De Mai, 33 Bar