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Big Names Who Could Offer Longshot Value at Cheltenham 2019

The betting markets for Cheltenham have really started to firm up over the last few weeks, with the likes of the Arkle and Stayers’ Hurdle getting a market leader, Le Richebourg and Paisley Park respectively that looks like staying there. However, for some big-name horses, the bookies have decided to act, pulling down odds of horses that looked like they would be in the mix a couple of months ago. Injuries can play a role, of course, but there are also some who have left punters and trainers scratching their heads.

In the end though, horses can get it right again at Cheltenham, allowing us to pick up some much-needed value against the bookmakers. Kalashnikov is a good example of one of those horses, with whom we can’t really put a finger on what is wrong. Trainer Amy Murphy said he would be checked upon after his poor performance in the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase last week, but still retained a degree of confidence in her star horse.

Kalashnikov’s odds tumble

Bookmakers, however, weren’t as confident as Ms Murphy, completely pummelling Kalashnikov’s Cheltenham betting odds 2019 across the Arkle, where he sits at 20/1, and the JLT Novices’ Chase, where he is given odds of 18/1. Both are huge prices for Kalashnikov when taken out of context, but doubts remain after that 19-length defeat by Glen Forsa, who has entered into the Arkle frame at odds of 8/1. Le Richebourg’s odds have now dropped to 3/1.

A similar, interesting story is surrounding Samcro. It’s really not quite clear if he will go to the Festival at all, with Gordon Elliott being unusually cryptic on the matter. His season has been a bit of a mess if we are honest, with many thinking he should have been sent chasing. Hurdles was the choice though, and it now seems the option – if he is fit – will be the Stayers’ Hurdle. Most bookies give NRNB for it at the moment, so he is worth a shot at William Hill’s 9/1.

Paisley Park, the 7/4, favourite will be hard to dislodge, given his almost perfect form, but we know Samcro is capable of great things. You are basically weighing up whether his poor form over the winter was a result of the lung infection he carried and if he will be fully recovered by the time of the race. However, if Gordon Elliott deems him ready, there seems to be little chance of Samcro going off at 9/1.

Might Bite needs a miracle comeback

It’s now feeling like miracle territory in terms of Might Bite making a fist of things in the Gold Cup. He led the ante-post markets for most of the summer and early autumn, only to put in a couple of wretched performances in the Betfair Chase and King George. He is now as big as 20/1 for the Gold Cup with Betfair, five times his SP when finishing runner up last year.

Nicky Henderson was initially positive about his chances of being competitive, citing the breathing operation he had in January to be similar to one had a couple of years ago. We know he is a superb horse, so highly rated just a year ago, but the question is whether Henderson can get him ready for this. In the end, it looks unlikely. The Gold Cup is a gruelling race, and Clan Des Obeaux (9/2) and Native River (9/2) look best-placed to challenge the 7/2 favourite Presenting Percy.