It’s time for our Sat March 2 horse racing betting tips. It’s Cheltenham month and we’re less than two weeks away from the opening race of the Prestbury Park showpiece event which runs from Tuesday 12 – Friday 15 March. It promises to be another fascinating renewal with plenty of value around and big priced winners to be had. Be sure to follow this site for increased racing coverage during the festival, including in-depth previews and betting advice on the major races of the day.
There’s plenty to get through before then and Saturday brings its usual busy British and Irish schedule. A seven-race card at Newbury fills the star attraction slot with the action getting started at 1.30pm with a handicap hurdle, the curtain coming down at 4.50pm with an NH flat race. There are lots of winners to be found and our team have done the hard work to ensure you stay one step ahead of bookmakers.
Greatwood Veterans Handicap Chase – 2.05pm
The Greatwood Veterans Handicap Chase is a class two event that’ll be decided over 3m 1f on ground that’s expected to be fair. A competitive field is pencilled in and bookies have priced up their ante-post book early to allow backers a chance to jump the queue and grab a better price than those leaving their bets until race day. The sooner you bet, the better the odds you’ll get on your selection, it would appear.
Oddsmakers have Abolitionist as favourite at the time of writing and he has dominated the betting in the build-up to the off. That won’t rate as a shock to followers of this Irish-bred star as he is an experienced sort who has proven his worth many times in the past. The 11-year-old gelding boasts a CV showing eight wins and 13 placed efforts from 47 previous outings over jumps and that can’t be taken lightly.
He won last time out when taking glory over three miles around Aintree back in November, leaving runner-up The Organist 10 lengths behind, Jacks Last Hope a further four off the pace in third. An impressive outing and it was surprising to see him tucked away in the stables during the festive period. Connections have obviously been waiting for the perfect race to launch his 2019 campaign and they’ll be confident they’ve found an opening here. Backers in agreement will find 6/1 at Unibet and it’s worth noting many of their main competitors have the same horse no better than 9/2.
The Last Samurai Deserves Another Shot
There are lots to like about the jolly but we’d much prefer one at a slightly bigger price and the runner to carry our stake money into this contest is a favourite of ours – The Last Samurai who is going around the 7/1 mark, too big of a price to ignore.
Harry Fry’s 11-year-old gelding carries stats of eight wins, eight seconds and three thirds from 26 runs and has been knocking on the door of late. He found only one too good in his only previous start of the year, ending six lengths behind Colin Tizzard’s Royal Vacation at Taunton over the extended trip of 3m 4f when sent off a 7/4 favourite. He let punters down that day but will come on for the ride and we are expecting an improved effort on Saturday.
We will have to see The Last Samurai backfiring on all cylinders if he’s to go close and improve on that silver medal but he’s another who lacks nothing in experience and the fact he has fitness on side and goes sharp off that January run makes him a little easier to back. We’re more than happy to stick with him and back The Last Samurai to make a welcome return to winning ways. Those who require a bit more of a safety net can back him each-way at 1/4 the odds a place 1-2-3-4 with most firms.
Greatwood Gold Cup – 2.40pm
The Greatwood Gold Cup has a history that can be traced back to 2004 when Isio won the first prize for Nicky Henderson under the ride of jockey Barry Geraghty. Since then we’ve had some memorable renewals over the years, Thomas Crapper joining the exclusive winner’s club 12 months ago for the partnership of Robin Dickin and Charlie Poste.
Followers of the trends will find it interesting to learn star trainer Paul Nicholls has won no less than eight of the Greatwood Gold Cup titles in the past, including two of the last three with Sound Investment in 2015 and Sametegal a year later. Who will be the latest to scoop the prize money?
Bookmakers have War Sound as their favourite but, again, there’s little convincing about the early exchanges with no more than two points separating the first three in the list. Philip Hobbs’ 10-year-old has won four of his first 17, placing in the top-three on another seven occasions. He scored at Aintree in a handicap chase over 2m 3f in November but has been poor since. 10 of 12 at Cheltenham in the Gold Cup did little to boost his stock, although running in that company would’ve brought him along.
Take a Punt
He was then no nearer than eighth at the same venue in January against a decent field in a Grade 3 handicap chase. We notice the raw talent that’s there, however, and know his best would see him go close to a return to winning ways. Connections obviously rate him if he’s running in big races like the ones he has been and that’s worth remembering. Ladbrokes offer a market best price of 8/1 and there’s enough in that quote to warrant us taking a bit of a punt.
Others in the list worth a mention who have a good chance of making the final field are Happy Diva who can be backed at 9/1 with Bet365. Dolos goes 10/1 with the same firm, they are also top offer on Mercian Price at 12/1 and Calipto is yours at a grand 12/1 – top price when taking advantage of the generosity of 888sport traders.