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2019 Cheltenham Festival placepot tips - Selections and permutations for day one of the Festival

Brian Healy in Tips 11 Mar 2019

Brian Healy reveals his Cheltenham placepot selections and permutation for the opening day of the Festival. The Tote Placepot can return a big payout for a small outlay.

The Cheltenham Festival provides plenty opportunities to win big, and the Tote Placepot is always a hugely popular bet amongst punters looking for an interest throughout the day’s racing action.

One of the great beauties of the Tote Placepot bet is that selections do not need to win the race, and the Placepot involves picking one or more horses in each race to finish in the places, with the number of available places determined by the type of race and the number of runners. 

There are six legs to the Placepot - usually the first six races on the card - and winning bets can often receive a big dividend depending on the amount of the Placepot pool and the number of winning bets, as the collective ‘pool’ is equally shared across all the winning betting slips.

The more selections a punter chooses, the greater their chances of scooping the pot, but also the greater the cost of the bet. However, the potential return could well outstrip the outlay!

In 2018, the Placepot dividends on each of the first two days were shared by many winning tickets which lowered the dividends payable; but each day showed an increase on the previous day, and Friday’s dividend returned a massive £32,000! Here are the 2018 dividends that were payable to winning Placepot tickets on each day to £1 winning stake: 

Tuesday - £22.90
Wednesday - £36.70
Thursday - £96.80
Friday - £32,088.70

The key to winning big on the Placepot is generally to oppose the favourites and look instead at bigger priced each-way chances who boast solid claims of making the frame. The more favourites that don’t finish in the places, the bigger the return is likely to be.

We’ve put together a first-day Placepot perm which we hope will get us off to a winning start on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

1:30 - Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f

ARAMON (3) had won three of his five starts over hurdles which included a Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas in the Knight Frank Hurdle.

Willie Mullins’ charge subsequently lost no caste in defeat when narrowly denied by Klassical Dream back at Leopardstown in the Chanelle Pharma Hurdle, not helping his chances by hanging left. He has work to do on that run, but his earlier impressive success gives him claims here.

ITCHY FEET (9) progressed from a Stratford bumper win to strike gold in each of his first two hurdles starts, getting the better of Grand Sancy to win a Listed race at Kempton for the second of those successes.

Olly Murphy’s Cima De Triomphe gelding travelled like the winner for much of the way before finding Elixir De Nutz too strong here in the Sharp Novices’ Hurdle; but with the prospect of a strong pace here likely to suit, he could post a big run.

FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES (18) represents a yard enjoying an excellent season, and the Kapgarde gelding is 2-2 over hurdles having switched from France to Joseph O’Brien.

A Cork winner in January, he followed up in impressive fashion to win the Grade Two Finesse Juvenile Hurdle over course and distance, and it is noteworthy that connections have targeted this race - where he gets a handy weight allowance - over the Triumph Hurdle.

Itchy Feet (left) could outrun big odds to snatch a place in leg one of the Cheltenham Festival placepot.

2:10 - Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m

GLEN FORSA (4) jumped Kalashnikov ragged to win the rearranged Kingmaker Chase at Sandown when last sighted, and Mick Channon’s charge should go close.

The bold-jumping seven-year old was collecting a hat-trick of wins with that success, having also struck at Chepstow and Kempton, and the hugely versatile Mahler gelding - who has won at three miles - could prove a tough nut to crack.

KALASHNIKOV (6) had no answer to Glen Forsa at Sandown, but Amy Murphy’s charge can’t be ruled out from staging a bounce-back having found only one too good in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle twelve months ago.

That was the Kalanisi gelding’s sole defeat to date when racing left-handed, and having won both of his first two chase starts at Warwick and Plumpton he has met with defeat on subsequent runs at Kempton and Sandown - both right-handed tracks.

Going back left-handed and with softer conditions no issue, he could prove a different proposition here and he can go well.

2:50 - Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m1f

MISTER WHITAKER (6) won the Close Brothers’ Chase on this card twelve months ago, and the Court Cave gelding could get back on track having been beaten on each of his last two starts.

Mick Channon’s charge won his reappearance at Carlisle in November, beating Happy Diva, after which he finished fourth to Baron Alco in the Paddy Power Gold Cup where he was given too much to do.

Fourth when last seen behind Cyrname, who has significantly franked that form since, he hinted that a step up in trip might suit and he could improve for this extra distance.

VINTAGE CLOUDS (17) finished third in this contest twelve months ago from 3lbs lower, and Sue Smith’s charge can post another big run.

The Cloudings gelding is well-suited to a softer surface, and having won at Aintree on his return, he only once finished out of the first three in his five subsequent outings. Third to Joe Farrell in the Scottish Grand National, he made a winning return at Haydock in November prior to pulling up in the Welsh Grand National.

That was a rare poor effort from the nine-year old who has undergone wind surgery since and makes his return from a break. Given his record fresh, he could go well with conditions no problem.

Mister Whitaker can win again at the Cheltenham Festival.

3:30 - Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f

Siding with favourites isn’t usually a good idea, as the dividends can be severely impacted; but with the top three in the race hard to split, it is difficult not to side with one of the trio.

BUVEUR D’AIR (2) knows how to win this race, having landed the last two renewals; but Nicky Henderson’s charge faces a stiff challenge to retain his crown for a third year with top-class mares Apple’s Jade and Laurina both in opposition and there is a chance that the defending champion may not go off as favourite.

Despite the presence of both those rivals and the likes of the improving Sharjah and Verdana Blue who surprisingly beat him at Kempton , the Crillon gelding should put up strong resistance against those bidding to dethrone him, and he ought to go close once more. 

4:10 - OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f 

MIA’S STORM (11) won four times over hurdles last term at up to three miles, and having won her first two starts over fences Alan King’s charge suffered subsequent falls in Graded company at Kempton and Ayr.

The September Storm mare has been returned to hurdling this term, and she has won both starts over three miles at Uttoxeter at Kempton. While this is a drop back in trip, she is unlikely to be fazed by the lesser distance while her stamina will stand her in good stead in the event of a slog,.

First-time cheekpieces could help deliver another jolt of improvement and she can get competitive.

ROKSANA (13) showed plenty of progressive form last term, winning three times which included a Grade Two at Newbury over this trip, beating Kalahari Queen.

Dan Skelton’s charge subsequently finished runner-up to Santini over three miles at Aintree when tried in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, and the Dubai Destination mare should strip much fitter for her recent return over two miles behind Buveur D’air in the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown.

Back up in trip for this latest outing, she ought to go well in this race and no surprise if she runs into the places for all last year’s winner Benie Des Dieux may prove too strong.

4:50 - Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 (5yo+ 0-145) 2m4f

A PLUS TARD (4) looks a hugely progressive chaser, winning at Naas two starts ago from Duc Des Genievres and then finding only Winter Escape too strong upped to a Grade Three contest latest.

Henry De Bromhead’s charge set a good time figure when posting his win, and the form looks decent with several subsequent winners coming out of the race since. He features on a potentially lenient mark ahead of his handicap debut, and no surprise to see him going close.

Tom Taaffe doesn’t have many runners at Cheltenham, but the yard have won this race before and RIDERS ONTHE STORM (14) could go well under Brian Hughes who rode last year’s winner Mister Whitaker.

The Scorpion gelding has progressed with every run over fences, getting off the mark at the third attempt at Punchestown in February when beating Impact Factor.

Switching to a handicap now, this opening mark looks workable, and he ought to give a good account.





Leg 4: BUVEUR D’AIR (2)

Leg 5: MIA’S STORM (11),ROKSANA (13)


Permutation: 3x2x2x1x2x2 = 48 bets

For the best Cheltenham Festival predictions see our Cheltenham 2019 tips, packed with daily selections for every race. Get the most from your bets with our Cheltenham free bets

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2019 Cheltenham Festival placepot tips - Selections and permutations for day one of the Festival

Brian Healy reveals his Cheltenham placepot selections and permutation for the opening day of the Festival. The Tote Placepot can return a big payout for a small outlay.

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