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27th Feb 2018

The 17/1 ‘dead cert’ accumulator we’ll all be on at Cheltenham

The 'Annie Power' bet of this year's festival

Niall McIntyre

Every year, we’re hunting for this one.

The Cheltenham festival roar is less than two weeks away. The pinnacle of the national hunt horse racing calendar is only around the corner.

In mid March every year, hordes of giddy Irish punters flock at the airports in excited anticipation for a week of enthralling thrills, spills and Pretsbury Park rapture.

The Sport of Kings has grasped the hearts and minds of the Irish for years now, mainly due to our huge success in the game and the Cotswolds is what it all boils down to.

Last year, travelling Irish trainers created history with a record 19 winners over the four day’s racing, defeating the English comprehensively in their own back yard.

This year we’ll be hoping to do it all again. It’s all about that hope.

We all remember the killing we were deprived of when Annie Power fell at the last in 2015. The last leg of a beautiful accumulator, that would prove to be the most expensive bullet the bookies have ever dodged.

Here’s to hoping there’ll be no dodging going on this year.

Footpad 5/4

So supreme. So untouchable up to now.

Willie Mullins’ flyer turned in a sensational performance in the Leopardstown Arkle at the Dublin Racing Festival.

The sprightly six-year-old romped up that day, leaving former conqueror Petit Mouchoir for dead.

The Gigginstown horse is the second favourite for the Arkle Chase on Tuesday. There is no reason to suggest that form will be overturned.

He has romped up in each of his three outings so far this year, passing the post with a combined total of 30 lengths to spare.

We suspect he will be similarly untroubled here.

Buveur D’Air 4/7

It’s rare for champion hurdlers to do back to back triumphs, but JP McManus’ star is a rare sort.

Nicky Henderson’s French bred 7-year-old hasn’t been beaten since last year’s triumph.

There are so many doubts over the next best in the Champion Hurdle market, Faugheen and Yorkhill. There are so few doubts over this lad.

Samcro 8/11

Prior to his Leopardstown cakewalk against a high quality field, Michael O’Leary had duped us all into thinking this horse was nothing special.

Gordon Elliot’s charge led his rivals a merry-dance there, and the Ryanair Chief would be fighting a losing battle when he continued with those intentions in the aftermath.

Jack Kennedy has enjoyed dream rides on this six-year-old in every outing so far this season. Confirmed for the Ballymore Novices’ hurdle on the Wednesday, it’ll take something special to pass him.

Apples Jade 4/7

Heavily tipped for both the champion and the stayers hurdle earlier in the year, connections have opted to send their six-year-old for the less competitive Mares Hurdle on Tuesday.

Based on that logic, and the form this horse has having beaten Irish Champion Hurdle winner Supasundae in Leopardstown over Christmas, this sprightly stayer should have way too much for any rivals.

Altior 8/11

Last year’s Arkle winner is making the natural progression to the Champion Chase this year. Nicky Henderson’s stable star’s main rival will be Douvan.

Douvan has not raced since this very outing last year, and that presents too many uncertainties coming up against a horse of Altior’s class.

It all adds up to 17/1. It’s surely worth a few quid.