Who is the best-value Cheltenham Festival favorite at this stage? | Horse Racing News

UPDATED 1:09PM, NOV 24 2022

With stars appearing left, right and centre, our willing experts have put forward their picks for the strongest ante-post favorites at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.


Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

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Jonbon: made a polished chasing debut at Warwick recently and heads the Arkle betting

Jonbon: made a polished chasing debut at Warwick recently and heads the Arkle betting

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

By Owen Goulding, tipster

Race: Arkle Chase (March 14, 2023)

Odds: 9-4 with BoyleSports (2-1 overall)

After trailing stablemate Constitution Hill by 22 lengths in the Supreme at last season’s festival, it was no surprise to see Jonbon going over fences at the first available opportunity.

He signed off his hurdling campaign with a Grade 1 victory at Aintree and stamped his class with an authoritative success at Warwick on chasing debut this month.

It seems very obvious that he is far better chaser than a hurdler and is a scary prospect for the two-mile novice chasing division. He goes on any ground and looks rock-solid at odds of around 2-1 to give Nicky Henderson another Arkle win.

By David Jennings, deputy Ireland editor

Race: National Hunt Chase (March 14, 2023)

Odds: 4-1 with bet365 (7-2 generally)

He is 4-1 with bet365 at the moment but could be closer to even come the day.

It seems blatantly obvious he is going to be aimed at the race, Willie Mullins said as much in his stable tour, and his current mark of 156 is 3lb higher than what Stattler was rated going into the race last year.

He has experience and his third in the Irish Grand National will stand him in good stead for a race like the National Hunt Chase.

He has cracking course form, guaranteed stamina and is going to be ridden by Patrick Mullins. What more could you ask for?

Mike Hewitt (Getty Images)

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Energumene: landed last year's Champion Chase at Cheltenham in attrition conditions

Energumene: landed last year’s Champion Chase at Cheltenham in attrition conditions

Mike Hewitt (Getty Images)

By Maddy Playley, reporter

Race: Champion Chase (March 15, 2023)

Odds: 9-4 in general

Shishkin has questions to answer. The superstar chaser looked to put everything into a mammoth tussle in the Clarence House and was never going to Cheltenham afterwards. A rare bone condition was identified afterwards and it is difficult to gauge how much ability remains. It is surely going to take all of Nicky Henderson’s expertise to get him back to his best.

Energumene, on the other hand, showed his resilience and star quality in his two subsequent runs. He proved he was tactically versatile when settling towards the rear in the Champion Chase and coped with much sounder conditions when dispatching Chacun Pour Soi at Punchestown.

New potential challengers will have to take an almighty leap forward to reach his level and, given ten horses have recorded back-to-back wins in the Champion Chase since 1959, he looks to have outstanding claims of winning the race again.

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

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Flooring Porter: hat-trick-seeking stayer looks the most solid favorite says Keith Melrose

Flooring Porter: hat-trick-seeking stayer looks the most solid favorite says Keith Melrose

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

Because neither Energumene nor Allaho have been seen yet this season, two-time Stayers’ Hurdle winner Flooring Porter looks the most solid favorite as he bids for a hat-trick.

He can also be backed at a much bigger price. True, he is not as good a horse, but that price also makes assumptions. I would ask about those looking to depose him.

Bob Olinger has as many questions to answer physically as Classical Dream does mentally. The Nice Guy was impressive in the spring but is now on the sidelines. And is Blazing Khal really booked for the top as much as a price of 6-1 would imply?

Flooring Porter built up quietly to his Stayers’ defense last year and his recent fourth in the Lismullen was a perfectly satisfactory first step along a similar path. It will take a good one to beat him in March, and they are not all that common in 3m hurdles.

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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American Mike: made a winning hurdling debut at Down Royal and is 7-1 for Cheltenham

American Mike: made a winning hurdling debut at Down Royal and is 7-1 for Cheltenham

Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)

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