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Cheltenham Festival 2013 tips - The best bets of the week

The Cheltenham Festival is finally here and our tipsters will be looking to sink the nation’s leading bookmakers with a number of winners in the Prestbury Park betting war.

The excitement ahead of the meeting continues to build and over the course of the four-day extravaganza, an incredible £500million will be staked on 27 sensational races.

Our readers continue to make the most of the bookmaker offers and free bets available and we want to help you land as many winners as possible at the world famous meeting.

We’ve asked Festival experts Nigel Ridgway, Nick Wilby and Jon Wilde to give us their verdict on the four championship races at the Festival and they’ve picked out their best bets of the entire meeting.

Remember, register with William Hill through using bonus code C50 and get a £50 free bet on the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.  

Who will win the 2013 Champion Hurdle?

Paddy Power are refunding all losing bets on the Champion Hurdle if Hurricane Fly wins the race.

NR: Much depends on the ground here. If it continues to dry out, I'd want to be on last year's hero Rock On Ruby, who didn't get the credit he deserved for winning last year and has had the perfect preparation, winning at Doncaster on his latest start. His trainer Harry Fry has his horses in great form going into the meeting. So has Paul Nicholls and his Zarkandar would be the bet if it came up genuinely soft. His superior stamina will make him difficult to pass up the hill.

NW: This one is easy, Hurricane Fly is going to silence all of his critics and regain his Champion Hurdle crown.  I don’t think he was at his best last year, but he seems to back to the horse he was in 2011 now.  The way he has hammered his rivals with his usual panache in Ireland this season has connections confident he is ready to peak at Prestbury Park and I think we could see something special on Tuesday.

JW: Hurricane Fly looks to be rock solid and if he arrives in top form will take a huge amount of beating. But the market drift has to be disconcerting for those who have backed him and you have to wonder whether all is well with the horse. I don't fancy Zarkandar after his disappointing effort in last year's race, which I think might prove to have been Rock On Ruby’s day in the sun. If anything is to beat The Fly it could be Grandouet. 

What is the best bet in the Queen Mother Champion Chase?

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NR: No need to look any further than Sprinter Sacre, who has looked an absolute monster in winning his seven chase starts and it would take an act of god to prevent him making it eight. Wishfull Thinking could run into a place to reward each-way backers.

NW: Let’s not pretend that that this is anything other than a steering job for Barry Geraghty and Sprinter Sacre could absolutely destroy this field.  It’s certainly the best field he has ever faced, but he looks an absolute machine.  Sizing Europe in the ‘without Sprinter Sacre market’ looks a decent bet at 6/4 though – on his day his jumping is breathtaking. 

JW: It’s a case of ‘how far?’ for Sprinter Sacre. There appears to be no possible way he can be beaten if he puts in a clear round on all the evidence we’ve seen to date. I expect a demolition similar to that from Master Minded in 2008. Last year’s winner Finian’s Rainbow for the forecast if the ground is good, to give Nicky Henderson a one-two, and Paddy Power's 7/2 for the defending champion without his stable companion is the bet I'm most interested in having.

Who will win the 2013 World Hurdle in the absence of Big Buck’s?

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NR:  I've already pinned my ante post colours to the mast of Reve De Sivola and won't be deserting him unless the ground dries out significantly – he's a real mudlark. I've also got a feeling that Get Me Out Of Here will run a big race as he invariably does at the festival - three times a runner-up there. He's far from a certain runner at this stage but, if he's confirmed, the current 16/1 would be huge value each-way.

NW: It’s a real shame that Big Buck’s won’t line up here and he has already destroyed the front two in the betting in the past.  I’m happy to move away from all the horses that have chased the champion’s backside and I’m more than happy to side with Solwhit here.  He is full of class, has stacks of form with Hurricane Fly to his name and has looked like he retains all of his ability this season.

JW: This is the race among the big four in which I’m most expecting an upset because there appears to be chinks in the armour of all the leading contenders. It may be heart ruling head, but I’d love to see Peddlers Cross come back and win it. Okay, he has yet to prove he stays the trip, but he won a point-to-point and has always given the impression of being a stayer long term. His second to Hurricane Fly in the 2011 Champion Hurdle proves his quality.

Who will win the feature race at the Festival – the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup?

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NR: In the absence of First Lieutenant, I'll be on Silviniaco Conti as I don't buy into the theory he won't act round Cheltenham. He's a class act for sure and I like the way his trainer Paul Nicholls is talking up his chances, and he knows a thing or two about training Gold Cup winners!

NW: I think it’s far from ideal that Bob’s Worth missed his prep, Sir Des Champs is too skinny on what he has achieved and Silviniaco Conti is a flat-track bully if you ask me.  The more I look at it and the more the rain falls at Cheltenham the more I think Long Run is the horse to be on here. How a Gold Cup and dual-King George winner has been so overlooked in the betting all season is beyond me.

JW: I’m all over Bobs Worth. Unbeaten at Cheltenham and indeed going left-handed, he will never do anything extravagant but is top quality and rock solid as his Hennessy win showed. I disagree with Nigel here and Silviniaco Conti may, I think, prove best on flat tracks while Sir Des Champs just seems to lack that ounce of class. Long Run looks booked for a minor placing again. Something usually runs way above its price in the Gold Cup and so Captain Chris could be the best each-way value, especially on goodish ground.

What is your NAP of the week?

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NR: Sam Winner (4/1, Paddy Power) is likely to be contesting the World Hurdle next season and he looks a shoe-in for the Pertemps Final, with his trainer Paul Nicholls firing in winners left, right and centre.

NW: Hurricane Fly (2/1, Paddy Power) can get punters off to a flyer on day one and I’m seriously confident that he’ll get the job done at Prestbury Park. He is short in the betting but the bookies continue to push him out to a tantalising price and he can’t be ignored. Lump on!

JW: He's not a working man's price but I fully expect Simonsig to prove he is a 'machine', every bit as promising as Sprinter Sacre, by proving too classy for Overturn in the Arkle, At more rewarding odds, I'm hoping The New One (9/2, Paddy Power) can get the better of Irish hype horse and Neptune favourite Pont Alexandre.

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Cheltenham Festival 2013 tips - The best bets of the week

The Cheltenham Festival is finally here and our tipsters will be looking to sink the nation’s leading bookmakers with a number of winners in the Prestbury Park betting war.

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