Excitement is rising among horse racing fans, with the start of the prestigious 2023 Cheltenham Festival just a few weeks away.
The four-day meeting provides punters with a plethora of wagering opportunities during what is the biggest event in the National Hunt calendar.
To boost your chances of making a profit at Cheltenham, we have identified four horses that we think are banker bets at this year’s meeting.
Jonbon – Arkle Novices’ Chase
Big-money purchase Jonbon was bought by top Irish owner JP McManus with a chasing career in mind, so anything he did over hurdles was a bonus.
Jonbon finished second behind Constitution Hill in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which was a gallant effort considering that horse is now favourite for the Champion Hurdle.
The full brother to the top-class Douvan highlighted his quality over fences with a dominant display in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown in December.
Jonbon is currently available at 5/4 to win the Arkle Novices’ Chase, but don’t be surprised to see him go off at odds-on on the opening day.
Energumene – Champion Chase
Energumene ran away with last year’s Champion Chase before producing another dominant display to win the equivalent race at the Punchestown Festival.
The Willie Mullins trained horse was a ridiculously easy winner on his seasonal reappearance at Cork in December and will be tough to beat in his bid to go back-to-back at Cheltenham.
Edwardstone could give Energuemene a run for his money if he has recovered from unseating his rider at Kempton Park over the Christmas period.
Blue Lord may also be competitive, but it is difficult to imagine Energumene being beaten if he produces his best form on the big day.
Delta Work – Glenfarclas Chase (Cross-Country)
Delta Work broke a few hearts at last year’s Festival when he overhauled Tiger Roll on the run-in to deny his stablemate a dream ending to his career.
The five-time Grade 1 winner went on to run a fine third in the Grand National at Aintree to highlight his liking for extreme distances.
A gritty victory over three-miles at Punchestown in November was the perfect way for Delta Work to kick off the current campaign.
With Tiger Roll now enjoying a well-deserved retirement, Delta Work is one of the best bets of the week at this year’s Festival.
Allaho – Ryanair Chase
Allaho has not looked like being beaten in the last two editions of the Ryanair Chase, and is strongly fancied to complete the hat-trick this time around.
The nine-year-old has had a few niggling issues to overcome this season and may pitch up at the Festival without a run under his belt.
However, Mullins is adept at having horses fully fit after a lay-off and Allaho should be primed to run a big race over his favourite course and distance.
Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin has been touted as a possible runner in the Ryanair, but Allaho has enough class to defeat a horse that has plenty to prove.