9 ways to spot a spoof who lets on to be a Cheltenham expert 4 months ago

9 ways to spot a spoof who lets on to be a Cheltenham expert

Keep it on the down low.

They're coming out of the woodwork now. These lads have been studying the form since the middle of March last year and they've been following the national hunt racing in Ireland and across the water religiously every Saturday between then and now.

They've seen it all. The good things, the bad things. They've their nose in every trough and the word that has to be kept under wraps comes to them. They tell you but they make sure you tell nobody else. This is serious business.

The Cheltenham Festival is a magic mid March week. Every single year, the bookie offices are packed, the talk is all about the big one today and who's got what it takes to win it.

College libraries are full but not for study. The wifi connection is strong there and the lads are streaming Rishi Persad and Nick Luck every 35 minutes because they've a few quid riding on this one. Hopping around the place and bating the table as if they're actually riding the horse themselves.

There's something in Cheltenham for everyone. It doesn't matter if you're not betting because you can just pick out a winner for the same amount of pride. If you are betting, keep it small and tight and never irresponsible. All wins taste the same. Losses don't.

For Ireland it's even more special. That's because we're so bloody good at it. Last year, Irish trained horses went over to Pretsbury Park and destroyed the English with a record swoop of 19 festival winners. In their own back garden.

The buzz is building now. The experts will be roaring soon.

1. "I've good word on this one but don't tell anyone else"

James Fla has the connections you see. He's in with the right crew. He knows what's going on. The man could make himself a national hero by letting the whole world know about his inside track but he doesn't want the attention of it all.

You've never heard about this friend before though. And it's strange enough that James never talked about him because usually James never shuts up.

Maybe he has no reason to...

2. Always has to beat you by a few quid

James Fla just loves this game, man. He's cleaning the bookies out.

You did well but he did better. He didn't tell you about Elliot's one because he never got round to it.

Ask him to see a screenshot of the bet and he'll tell you he did in the office and has it collected.

3. My father's big into it too

"He owned a racehorse there a few years ago. Would have made it to Chetlenham and all only for his injuries. The poor bugger."

"Ah I used to go to all the meetings with him when I was younger. Leopardstown and all them spots."

4. Send a few tactical snapchats of the Racing Post website

This is just another day in the life. The Champion Hurdle may be two weeks away but he's studying. You can never be too well prepared.

5. Got her at 200s at the start of the year

The biggest spoof of all.

6. Always counting down to the Cheltenham roar

A spoof won't know what's wrong with this.

7. Still studying

It's really hard to believe My Tent Or Yours is 16/1 for this year's race, isn't it?

Caught himself out here because those are last year's results, buddy.

8. Always has himself covered

You've been beside him all day. You've seen all the bets he put on. In the first race of the day, you both backed the beaten favourite.

James Fla had himself covered on the outsider that bolted up out of nowhere. But he won't let you see the evidence...

9. Buzzing for next year already

Guess who's back.