Beware the money-back specials that are on offer from Paddy Power, as some of them come with conditions that limit the amount that can actually be won.
Take for example today’s offer of getting your stake back on any other selection if Cousin Vinny wins the opener, the Supreme Novices Hurdle.
That is true, but only up to a maximum of £200. In other words if you back a ‘monkey’’ (£500) on a loser, with Vinny as the winner, you will only get £200 back and not the full stake.
It pays to read the small print and the same applies on the offer of guaranteed prices whereby if you take an early morning or board price and the SP is greater, you get the latter.
Normally in PP shops, the guarantee applies to singles only, but not if you bet on-line or by phone whereby multiples are guaranteed. So the shop punter is regarded as less important or not entitled to the same terms and conditions.
However, for Cheltenham the firm have extended the guarantee to their shop customers during the Festival — today until Friday. Presumably it will be back to normal for shop customers from Saturday onwards.
Again, heavy-duty punters need to be aware of the stipulation that the guarantees also come with a caveat — restricted to a total stake of £1,000 of £500 each-way.
Master Minded is a 2-7 chance to complete back-to-back victories in tomorrow Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase .
Coral offer odds of 11-8 that Paul Nicholls’ six-year-old will win by 13 lengths or more after his demolition job in last year’s race when he won by 19 lengths.
Paddy Power have a better offer — with no stake limitations — and that is 7-4 to win by 11 or more . It is 2-1 for up to seven lengths for those who think racings perfect machine will get it tougher this time.
Barring an accident or misjudgment, Ruby Walsh should have his easiest winner of the week on board the champion who looks flawless in his bid for a repeat.
Master Minded can’t be beaten, but he has one stat that is worth bearing in mind for those who want to ‘get him.’
The last nine defending champions that returned a year later, have all been beaten stretching back to Viking Flagship in 1995.
However, this year he has bolted up in the Tingle Creek and that Grade 1 event has been without question the most informative guide with six of the last eight ‘Queen Mother’ winners taking part.
Other patterns worth taking on board are that three-quarters of the Champion Chase winners in the last 25 years had won or been placed at the Festival before while Irish horses have won three of the last six runnings.
Only Moscow Flyer has won for horses older than nine since 1997, so it all points to another Master-ful display.
Weld certain he’ll be Right
Dermot Weld is one of the best Flat trainers in the world.
And the fact that he is sending a horse to the Wetherbys Champion Bumper — the last race on the card tomorrow, is highly significant.
Add in to the mix that the Irish champion jockey Pat Smullen will be on board and that is good enough reason to be backing Rite Of Passage to deliver for Ireland in the annual benefit race for the Irish.
The English have not won this race since Monsignor back in 1999 and only three times in 16 runnings.
Their chances of stopping the ‘green train’ are not great.
Best of their bunch is likely to be Victor Dartnall’s Henry King.
After two years of six-year-olds winning in 2005 and 2006, it was the five-year-olds that came out on top again in the last two seasons and that is where the winner is likely to come from.
Rite Of Passage was impressive in beating a Mullins horse, Quadrillong, last time out and Weld could not be more bullish about his prospects.
Mullins has a stranglehold on this race and will have several runners carrying his flag, but it was interesting to learn that Dermot told Willie’s mother that no matter what Willie sent, Dermot would beat him with Rite of Passage.
The Mullins camp are very bullish about Sicilian Secret, but don’t be surprised if Quinola Des Obeaux turns out to be the best from that particular camp after his impressive win at Cork.
Entering the race off the back of a last-time-out success has been critical with 14 of the 16 past winners achieving this.
Also, the winner generally comes from the top six in the betting and Rite of Passage who has been backed into 9-1, ticks all the right boxes.
Jonjo O’Neill has sent out five winners of the National Hunt Chase in the last seven years and with the race being over four miles, stronger horses have the edge over the younger brigade, so forget the five and six-year-olds.
O’Neill has Can’t Buy Time, Witchita Lineman and Carnival Town in the line-up and whichever one Tony McCoy rides should be followed.
I think it will be Witchita Lineman and he is currently a best-priced 8-1.
Meanwhile, the money has come in for Willie Mullins’ Mikael D’Haguenet, cut from 9-2 to 4-1 for the Ballymore Properties Hurdle.
Anticipated rain would leave the ground perfect for him, but he definitely needs no better than soft.
The Irish may not hold the monopoly on this contest they enjoyed between 1973 and 1982, when supplying the winner on eight occasions, but six winners from the last 14 renewals is still an impressive return and they dominated proceedings 12 months ago filling the first four places and they have a strong hand again this season.