Three Outsiders To Look Out For At The 2023 Cheltenham Festival

There’s no festival quite like The Cheltenham Festival, and a double-figure odds winner can really help shape the week!

Our Racing Editor Daniel Corbally has identified three big-priced selections that can outrun their odds. Check these out below, along with BetUK’s new customer offer of £60 in Free Bets when you deposit £20.

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MONBEG GENIUS (Ultima Handicap Chase)

Jonjo O’Neill’s exciting seven-year-old is no sure thing to line up in the Ultima (14/1), he has entries in the Kim Muir (12/1) and perhaps more importantly the Midlands Grand National (14/1). But with Non Runner No Bet on offer I’ve gone with the Ultima in the hopes that Jonjo Jr. may keep the ride.

Monbeg Genius has shown a real aptitude for fences this season, putting together three successive, effortless wins in good style. The latest of those was his best yet at Chepstow in a Novice Handicap Chase in February, leading the whole way round and barely coming out of third gear to take the win. He disappointed on seasonal return, but had excuses that day, off a 200+ day break and on his first run since a wind-op, he’s since turned the form around with the runner-up that day and looks a better proposition and indeed the full chasing package.

The son of Shantou does fit some key trends for the Ultima, trained in the UK (All 10 winners in years trained in the UK in the last 10 years. He’s seven-years-old (7/10 winners have been 7 or 8) and is rated between 139-148 (7/10 winners have been in this ratings band). He also arrives on the back of that February run, with 8 of the last 10 winners having run within 45 days before the festival. He should still have more to come off his mark and looks good value if taking his chance. He’d still be of significant interest wherever he goes next, including in the Kim Muir.

SUNDIAL (Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle)

Padraig Roche sent out last year’s winner, Brazil, for the same connections. His representative in this year’s Boodles looks to have been given a fair mark for the assignment. Irish trainers have sent out the last five winners of this race with JP McManus’ green & gold hoops responsible for two of the last five, Aramax & Brazil.

This colt has to be taken with a level of trust, having shown a keen running style in recent starts. Sundial finished behind Lossiemouth on a couple of occasions this season, but showed enough ability on his penultimate start, when racing freely again took its toll. He pulled most of the way that day and weakened at the last, normally second last. Either side of the finishes against Lossiemouth, he’s been positioned towards and the middle or back of the field in a 3YO Hurdle & a 4YO Handicap (both 4/1 SP) and with the chance of a good gallop and him being more prominent, he could outrun his odds.

This race has often been one for an outsider, with less than 33% of the winners of this race’s  winners returning a single figure price.  Four of the last five winners of this race have been ex-flat horses and with Sundial having already shown he handles heavy ground and the chance of progression on good ground (Dam won on Firm ground) he could still have more to offer. Although he doesn’t fit some key trends, having not won yet over hurdles and being outside the prominent band for winners (OR 124-134 providing 13 of the last 18 winners) he could well overcome those trends in a tricky race.

SEABANK BISTRO (Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle)

For a while this season it looked like Seabank Bistro may have the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle as a target, but he’s been pointed towards the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. Willie Mullins took this with The Nice Guy last season, who, like Seabank Bistro, was tackling 3m for the first time.

Seabank Bistro was a shade disappointing on hurdling debut when keen and hanging right in the finish, that’s forgivable as it was his first start for 200+ days. Although again an odds-on failure next time out, he looked better when a 3.5L second to Corbetts Cross, conceding 5lbs. Sean O’Keefe was keen to keep a hold of him that day and Corbetts Cross took much closer order at a key point to get first run and win. That horse is currently 4/1 favourite for this race, but his participation is only rated 50-50 by new connections. Seabank Bistro has since won a race over 2m3f and if his jumping can improve, he can outrun his odds.

Over the last 10 years you need a fresh horse coming here with a break of between 29 – 90 days supplying 10 out of the last 10 winners. Willie Mullins has put his stamp on the race in recent years with classy horses winning this like Penhill (2017), Monkfish (2020) & The Nice Guy (2022) prevailing. Nine of the last 10 winners have finished in the first three of their prep run.

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