Cheltenham Festival 2018 Review

The Cheltenham Festival Review 2018

The Cheltenham Festival is over for another year and I am fairly happy with my performance in what was a tough Cheltenham, in the worst conditions they have had for over 20 years.

I hope you all enjoyed the festival and appreciate the hard work which went into each and every selection.

We came away with just under 10 points profit and 6 winners (8 winners if you include our festival treble). We have also attached a results spreadsheet at the end of the blog.

The winners were all excellent prices:


A very respectable list of winners for any tipster. I would say our un-doing was our Naps and bigger bets for the week. We lost 3 points each on Apple’s Shakira and Un De Sceaux. When you combine this with Apples Jade being the only horse to let us down in our treble that is now 9 points lost on 3 bets.

That is the game and although they lost, I still don’t think I would have changed anything before the festival. At the end of the day I was confident and they were my best bets of the week. I got them wrong and that is just part of the game.

We also had 8 placed horses in which 3 of them were 2nd places. SHANTOU FLYER jumped the last two fences slowly and only went down by a neck. Without these mistakes he would’ve won the race. RATHER BE also was the leader half way up the hill but went down by a short head. Two tips who were so close at decent prices while STYLE DE GARDE also finished 2nd but was beaten a bit more convincingly.

I will now review every race in fine detail so you all come away with a few pointers for some of the spring festival. Some horses will also go in the tracker area for members and eye-catchers.


Supreme Novice Hurdle

Our selections were GETABIRD – WIN and DEBUCHET – E/W

The race was won by Summerville Boy who I gave a big mention in my write up for the race. More annoyingly was the fact we had tipped him up at 16/1 when he won the Tolworth Hurdle. He was given a great ride by Noel Fehily who actually nearly came of the horse with a mistake mid race. To still win after the mistake was a very good performance.

Our selections starting with GETABIRDwho simply hated going left handed. I didn’t think this would be a problem before the race but he jumped alarmingly right the whole way around. He is a better horse than this as he beat the 3rd home Menghli Khan by 9 lengths last time out. I am afraid you will never see me on this horse again unless he is going right handed.

​​​​​​​DEBUCHET was the subject to some very strong support and was sent off 20/1 after being tipped at 40/1. He run well for a long way before fading 2 hurdles out. He is a big horse with plenty of scope and probably wants a bit further.

Anything to take out of the race?

For me I would take the 3rd MENGHLI KHAN out of the race for next season. I think he has plenty of scope and will do really well over fences. He won’t be the first the finish down the field and go on to big success over fences. Some recent names who didn’t win the race but went on to bigger things include – Best Mate, Sprinter Sacre, Cue Card just to name a few.

Arkle Chase

Our selection was SAINT CALVADOS – WIN

One of the most annoying races of the festival for me. Take nothing away from Footpad he was brilliant and it don’t matter how they run the race he would always be the winner. The annoying thing in this race was Footpad was gifted the race by jockeys Aidan Coleman and Davy Russell who were on Saint Calvados and Petit Mouchoir. They both went off far to fast and cut each others throats by constantly taking each other on for the lead and racing each other for the first 1 mile. It only needed one of them to stop and think and just let one of the horses have the lead. The amount of energy used taking on each other showed as the pair were tailed off. Ruby Walsh must’ve been beaming with what the jockeys were doing in front of him. Like I said it wouldn’t have changed the result but if you are going to try and get the favourite beat you at least need the jockeys to have half a brain.

Footpad was excellent and has a huge career ahead of him over fences. He actually stays further so wouldn’t be surprised to see him going up in trip next season.

Ultima Handicap Chase


Had SHANTOU FLYER jumped the last 2 fences I am pretty sure he would’ve won the race but jumping is the name of the game so no excuses. He was given a great ride by James Bowen and was a decent effort at odds of 20/1 for E/W money.

We also came away with E/W money with SINGLEFARMPAYMENT who came home in 5th place. He should come down the handicap for that run and on better ground could be one for the notebook.

YALA ENKI was worth chancing in the ground as a mud-lover but the high handicap mark told in the later stages.

Anything to take out of the race?

As I stated before the race GOLD PRESENT had no chance in that ground as he would’ve hated it. He is much better than that and despite being pulled up I think he could do better if the ground dries out at somewhere like Aintree. He should come down the handicap also.

​​​​​​​Champion Hurdle

Our selection was FAUGHEEN (Without Buveur D’Air)

Faugheen is simply past it and I got this one wrong. Happy to hold my hands up on this one although we did get the race right as Buveur D’Air was not as convincing as his odds suggested, just took him on with the wrong horse.

OLBG Mares Hurdle

Our selection was LA BAGUE AU ROI (without Apples Jade)

I do think La Bague Au Roi is better than where she finished. She easily beat Midnight Tune earlier in the season and maybe Cheltenham is just not her track. She is better than that and on a flat course will do better. A funny race as Apples Jade could only come home in 3rd and she is a much better horse than the runner up. Apples Jade was the only horse to let us down in the treble which was rather annoying. Take nothing away from the winner though Benie Des Obeaux who is unbeaten while being trained under Willie Mullins. I still think Apples Jade is a better horse mind but in different conditions.

National Hunt Novice Chase

Our selection was RATHVINDEN – E/W andMOSSBACK – E/W

Finally a winner with RATHVINDEN who was given a great ride by Patrick Mullins. She beat Ms Parfois by 1/2 length and the pair were 20 lengths ahead of 3rd. He was the class horse in the race and in the final stages the class told. Unfortunately despite travelling well MOSSBACK fell and was fatally injured. Really sad to see any horse die and thoughts are with all who are connected to the horse.

Anything to take out of the race?

​​​​​​​I would take NO COMMENT out of this race. This was only his 2nd start over fences and was travelling well for a long way. The lack of experience told in the final stages of the race but he will improve for this run and is worth keeping on side.

Close Brother Novice Chase

Our selections were RATHER BE – E/W and BARNEY DWAN – E/W

We were on the winner everywhere but the line as RATHER BE just went down by a short head. He travelled well throughout and going over the last I thought we were on the winner for sure. Fair play to the eventual winner Mr Whittaker who dug deep and done us on the line.

BARNEY DWAN ran a respectable race to finish 4th for E/W money.

Anything to take out of the race?

Looking ahead to Aintree and the fact RATHER BE was a winner over hurdles​ at the Grand​​​​​ Na​tonal meeting last year, he will surely have a great chance. He probably wants better ground also.

Buveur D'air



Ballymore Novice Hurdle

No selection in this race.

​​​​​​​SAMCRO was included in our festival treble and he won with a bit in hand. I hope they go chasing with him as I believe this is the plan. He will be a monster when it comes to chasing and I am excited to see him over the bigger obstacles.

Anything to take out of the race?

Not original but SAMCRO is going to be a superstar over the next few years filling the shoes of some of the old favourites like Sprinter Sacre, Kauto Star and Denman.

RSA Novice Chase


The performance of the festival for me. He didn’t put a foot wrong. He jumped very well under a patient Davy Russell ride and won very easily by 7 lengths. Take nothing away from the 2nd either Monalee who ran a great race but was no match for the very classy PRESENTING PERCY. They are now putting him away for the summer and he will be very hard to beat next season if he jumps and travels as well as he did in this race. He stays forever and is now the ante post favourite for next seasons Gold Cup.

Anything to take out of the race?

​​​​​​​The first and 2nd were really good and obviously in particular PRESENTING PERCY but for two novices they will be be even better next season.

Coral Cup

Our selections were BLEU BERRY – E/W, LE BREUIL – E/W and DIAMOND KING – E/W

Our biggest winner of the week as we tipped BLEU BERRY at 28/1. I was actually quietly confident going into the race as I text a few friends who asked for an outsider of the day. He was given a great ride by Mark Walsh he had him settled at the back of the field before making his move closer, 2 hurdles out. He jumped the last in 2nd place but stayed on gamely up the hill. After his last run which was his first start of the season I thought he would come on an awful lot and looked well handicapped considering his form the previous season behind the likes of Bacardys, Finians Oscar and Death Duty. Winners like this give me great satisfaction with the amount of work I put in.

LE BREUIL seemed to dislike the ground. He is a frustrating horse as he is very talented and connections really like him. I still think he has a big race in him and if he goes to Aintree on better ground he will be on my radar. He should come down the handicap a few pounds.

DIAMOND KING won this race 2 years ago and I thought he was overpriced at 33/1. He was badly hampered at the 2nd hurdle and it was game over. Davy Russell quickly pulled him up as it was no point in giving the horse a hard race, which he couldn’t win, from being badly hampered. This could pay dividends at Aintree and Punchestown as he could go to either meeting a fresh horse.

Anything to take out of the race?

​​​​​​​I would take VOIX DU REVE out of this race. He come powering into the lead 2 hurdles out and then found nothing. I think jockey Danny Mullins should’ve held on to the horse a bit longer and got a bit over excited with how well he was travelling. Had he got a bit of cover turning in, just off the pace, I am sure he would’ve got closer. Once he found nothing he was left to come home in his own time (clearly looked after). His handicap will come down of this run and on better ground could be one to watch out for.

Queen Mother Chase

Our selection was DOUVAN – WIN

DOUVAN was an unfortunate faller for us and I must admit he was travelling ever so strong before falling. That was the DOUVAN of old, he was taking lengths out of the others at every fence and I am certain he would’ve gone close. The annoying part is we will never know. I would much rather get beaten by Alitor knowing the outcome rather than thinking what if. A rematch is sure to be on the cards and after the race Willie Mullins was happy the horse was up safe and sound. He said DOUVAN is back.

Anything to take out of the race?

Only DOUVAN really as he was travelling oh so well. Altior found loads off the bridle and won going away in the end, credit where it is due. Would’ve he found it easier to shrug off DOUVAN after the last, it is a question that race fans want to see again.

Cross Country Chase

Our selection was CAUSE OF CAUSES – WIN

A race where I was left kicking myself. I pretty much talked myself into backing CAUSE OF CAUSES on the back of his previous Cheltenham form when truth be told I was a bit worried about the ground for him. I should’ve gone with what my head was telling me because as we know this was not like any other Cheltenham Festival. An error on my part here and I hate making these little mistakes but we are only human. When Cause Of Causes won the cross country last year he came over to Cheltenham in January to go around the Cross Country Course. This year Gordon Elliott brought Tiger Roll over in January for a training session over the cross country course. The proof was in front of me in black and white and I don’t normally miss things like this. I will learn from it though.

Anything to take out of the race?

Lots of horses in this race who will be better on a sounder a surface. Most notably THE LAST SAMURAI who has disliked soft ground in the past and a return to better ground will see him improve. You will see him in the Grand National where he is 2lb lower in the handicap this year.

Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle

Our selection was STYLE DE GARDE – E/W

​​​​​​​He ran a great race to finish 2nd at an advised 14/1. Our third 2nd in 2 days. I wouldn’t say he could’ve won the race though and was beaten by a better horse on the day. STYLE DE GARDE travelled well throughout and if he was good enough he would’ve went passed the winner up the hill. More place profit.

Anything to take out of the race?

​​​​​​​Not really got a strong opinion on the race apart from alot of these will be better on better ground.

Champion Bumper


​​​​​​​Still believe both horses were decent value going into the race. Looking back though these horses are both proper national hunt horses and need to be jumping to be seen at best. KNOW THE SCORE wants a bit further and lacked that finishing kick while DIDTHEYLEAVEUOUTTO wanted better ground but was worth the risk with how impressive he had been all season.

Anything to take out of the race?

​​​​​​​Same as above. Not really got a strong opinion on the race part from alot of these will be better on better ground.



JLT Novice Chase

Our selection was FINIANS OSCAR – E/W

​​​​​​​Such a frustrating horse FINIANS OSCAR. Has so much talent but simply can’t jump well enough at the highest level. He will win a big race of that I am confident but is best watched until we see any signs of his jumping improving. To jump like he did all the way around and still come 5th shows he is a decent horse which just makes him even more frustrating. The winner Shattered Love jumped well throughout and won with a bit in hand. The 7lb mares allowance was invaluable and was given a great ride by Jack Kennedy.

Anything to take out of the race?

TERREFORT came home in 2nd and looks a horse who would absolutely love the National the fences. Don’t know when it will happen but when he jumps those fences in any race, I will be following as to me looks the perfect Aintree horse.

Pertemps Handicap Hurdle


None of our 3 selections featured in this race but when you tip horses 20/1 and over this can obviously happen. The best run from our tips came from WAIT FOR ME who 2 hurdles out was still travelling strongly. He hesitated at the last and then faded up the run in. A horse who has looked a good horse on better ground in the past so the fact he run well enough in testing ground, tells me he could have more to come.

THOMAS CAMPBELL was carrying top weight and was given far to much daylight out wide. I am a big fan of the jockey James Bowen but he should’ve been dropped in behind and got lots of cover in my opinion. He run well for a long way but trying to do it from the front and a burden of 11st 12lb was always going to be hard.

PROTEK DES FLOS weakened quickly. Beaten fair and square so no excuses with this one.

Anything to take out of the race?

A GREAT VIEW blundered 2 out and was quickly ridden. He made up some ground coming to the last and still stayed on well up the hill. Couldn’t get to leaders but without that blunder he may have gone close. One to keep an eye on if staying on the same handicap mark or close to it.

Ryanair Chase

Our selection was UN DE SCEAUX – WIN

One of our max bets at 3 points to get beat. I was confident going into the race and the money came for him, going off 8/11 after tipping him at 11/8. No real excuses as he had his ground but I think by getting into fight for the lead with Cue Card he burned up far to much energy. We already know he races freely so this didn’t help the cause. Looking back at the race the winner Balko Des Flos was very impressive, hardly breaking sweat so whatever happened Un De Sceaux would’ve had his work cut out.

Anything to take out of the race?

Only the winner, pretty poor race and line up in my opinion.

Stayers Hurdle

Our selections were LAMI SERGE – E/W and THE NEW ONE – E/W

Looking back at the result of this race, again I was annoyed with myself. Willie Mullins is a master at bringing horses back for one day only and done the same last year with Arctic Fire in a different race. (which we were on). In the weeks before the race I kept telling myself not to ignore this one but stupidly decided to take him on with THE NEW ONE on the back of me believing he wanted 3 miles from years ago. Maybe in his prime he would’ve appreciated 3 miles but a bad choice in this ground by myself. I was always going to pick LAMI SERGE so happy to take that one on the chin, just annoyed with another silly mistake which we will again learn from.

Anything to take out of the race?

The winner aside a few of these will appreciate better ground but the one who caught my eye was THE WORLDS END who was 33/1. He would’ve hated the ground and this horse is crying out for a return to better ground. He has raced on bad ground all season and if he can get decent ground at Aintree he could be a player at a nice price. He won at Aintree last year in the Grade 1 Sefton Novice Hurdle so has form at the course.

Brown Advisory Plate Handicap Chase


Two places with BALLYALTON and KINGS SOCKS but 2 fences out I thought we were on the winner with KINGS SOCKS. He started to hand left between the last two fences and that was his chance over. I still think he could have more to come with this being only his 2nd start since finishing 2nd to Footpad in June 2016.

BALLYALTON ran a cracker and was in 2nd coming to the last. A game performance and decent E/W returns at 20/1.

​​​​​​​MOVEWITHTHETIMES made a bad mistake at the 12th and was immediately pulled up.

Anything to take out of the race?

The winner will be high enough in the handicap so I could only take our selection KINGS SOCKS out of the race. Considering this was only his 2nd start in nearly 2 years he travelled beautifully until the last 2 fences. Sure to come on further for the run and that form behind Footpad as a novice looks better by the day.

Mares Novice Hurdle

Our selection was CAP SOLEIL (Without the favourite Laurina) – WIN

I quite liked this bet coming in at 11/2 without Laurina and it proved to be a smart bet as CAP SOLEIL got up for 2nd by just a head. The favourite Laurina is pretty special and what a performance from her.

Anything to take out of the race?

The winner was very good and is going to be a horse who will be at the top for years to come.

Kim Muir Handicap Chase

Our selections were MISSED APPROACH – E/W and FINAL NUDGE – E/W

Our 2nd winner of the day and what an effort from MISSED APPROACH who showed real guts and determination to hold off Mall Dini. Mall Dini looked the winner from 2 fences out but he just couldn’t get past MISSED APPROACH who was very tough and tenacious. Mall Dini is obviously a good horse by the way he travelled but if you don’t get up that hill then you don’t win the race, no matter how well you travel. A great ride from Amateur McParlan from the front. He didn’t give the others a chance to breath from the front and made full use of the fact MISSED APPROACH could stay extreme distances.

FINAL NUDGE travelled well enough throughout but was surprised he wasn’t ridden more prominently as this has been where he has been at his best this season.

Anything to take out of the race?

MALL DINI obviously travelled well through the race and on better ground will be a better horse but MISSED APPROACH as long as he don’t go up the handicap too much will be a horse to follow in the nationals. As game as they come.

Un De Sceaux



Triumph Hurdle

Our selection was APPLES SHAKIRA – WIN

My nap of the festival and she didn’t even feature. I was so confident going into the race and the market supported her like a loss was out of the question. She just didn’t pick up and finished a tired horse. No excuses really, got it wrong. Again probably be a better horse on better ground but if she was good enough she would’ve won this race getting 7lb from the winner.

Anything to take out of the race?

Not really nothing that I would jump to back next time out in a hurry. All best watched.

County Handicap Hurdle

Our selections were SANDSEND – E/W, BLEU ET ROUGE – E/W and MOON RACER – E/W

​​​​​​​A weird race and thoughts are with all connected to SANDSEND who was fatally injured. He was coming with a lovely looking run but unfortunately broke down before the final hurdle. A sad sight to see as I am sure he would’ve gone close and was tragic to watch a horse break down like that.

BLEU ET ROUGE weight told in my opinion. It was a tough ask off that weight but he has carried big weights well in desperate ground previously. Needs to come down the handicap a few pounds before we see him winning again.

​​​​​​​MOON RACER run a sound race and finished his race well but was never going the pace of the leaders. Should come down the handicap to under 140 now so could still have a big run in him.

Anything to take out of the race?

Not a race you can really read into in those conditions. I think you would find a totally different set of results in better ground that is for sure.

Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle

Our selection was SANTINI – WIN

​​​​​​​SANTINI ran a big race and come from the back of the field between the last 2 hurdles to finish strongly. Will come on loads considering this was only his 3rd run over hurdles and with more experience next season could be a horse to follow over fences.

Anything to take out of the race?

​​​​​​​The winner is not the best horse in the field after getting beat convincingly on his previous start before Cheltenham. A strange race and seeing this horse win confirms actually how bad the ground was and how false some of the results were going to be throughout the day.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Our selection was KILLUTAGH VIC – E/W

​​​​​​​He just never jumped a fence and was last all the way around. I don’t think he was in a bad position letting them do the work upfront but he needed to get closer on the 2nd circuit but could never get going while jumping like that. When he needed a big jump he put down on his jockey and I am afraid you could see after the first circuit he wasn’t going to factor.

Anything to take out of the race?

​​​​​​​NATIVE RIVER and MIGHT BITE were in a different league as simple as that. On better ground I think MIIGHT BITE would beat NATIVE RIVER but I know plenty of people would disagree with so that is only my own opinion. Fair play to Richard Johnson he gave the winner a superb ride from the front. He was very game and just kept finding for his jockey.

Of the rest ROAD TO RESPECT travelled well and he is a horse who needs good ground to be seen at his best. Given better ground he is worth keeping an eye out for in the spring festivals.

Foxhunters Chase

Our selection was WONDERFUL CHARM – E/W

Another selection where looking back I was wrong to put him up. As always I take full responsibility when I get it wrong and will always be honest. I have heard many times he needs better ground to be seen at his best but blindly ignored those comments on the back of his 2nd in the race the year before. Another lesson I will learn from to increase our profits going forward.

Anything to take out of the race?

A funny race but the winner was there to be bet at 25/1. PACHA DU POLDER won the race last year yet was available at 25/1. Missed this one and I could kick myself as the value in that bet was outstanding. Can’t really say it was the true result with the other horses who placed but for a horse who has been and seen it only a year ago, he was huge.

Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle

Our selections were MR BIG SHOT and DIESE DES BIEFFES – E/W

MR BIG SHOT was having his first start of the season here and I thought he had been kept away to protect his handicap mark and still believe that was the case today. Unfortunately I don’t think they expected the ground to be so deep but he will come on lots for the run.

DIESE DES BIEFFES ran a fair race for E/W money but couldn’t get on terms with the winner. Only a 5 year old and this would’ve been a great experience for the horse in testing conditions. We haven’t seen the best of this horse yet.

Anything to take out of the race?

​​​​​​​The winner BLOW BY BLOW really annoyed me and for a different reason. It is not that I missed him it was because he wasn’t supposed to like the ground. It is came up good to soft I was all over him but given the fact he is not supposed to like soft ground and this was very deep, I thought he had no chance carrying top weight. Well he certainly surprised me given how well the horse won. Fair play to the jockey he gave the winner a cracking ride.

Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Our selections were LE PREZIAN and NORTH HILL HARVEY

Before going on about the winner my thoughts are with all who are connected to NORTH HILL HARVEY. A horrible looking fall and he was unfortunately fatally injured. He was travelling sweetly and looked sure to place. Such sad events in the last race of the Cheltenham Festival. Another 2 horses were also fatally injured in Some Plan and Dresden and my thoughts are also with all connected.

We waited all day for a winner and finally LE PREZIAN duly obliged. We tipped him up at 14/1 so he clawed some of our losses back on the final day.

Anything to take out of the race?

THEINVAL is a horse who wants better ground so to run as well as he did to finish 4th was a great effort. Will be keeping an eye out for this one at Aintree.



That is it from us for another year at the Cheltenham Festival and I hoped you enjoyed the service we provided at this years festival.

As you could see from the write ups in every race we put a tremendous amount of effort in.

We came away with 6 winners BLEU BERRY 28/1, LE PREZIAN 14/1, MISSED APPROACH 12/1, RATHVINDEN 7/1, CAP SOLEIL 11/2 (Without Favourite) and PRESENTING PERCY 11/4 and if it wasn’t for a dreadful final day and some of our naps losing, this could’ve been the best festival yet.

The main thing is we came away with profit of around 10 points but I can’t help but think we deserved a bit more. We had a few 2nds at big prices but we also let ourselves down with a few bets.

Onwards and upwards and any feedback is always welcome, good or bad.

​​​​​​​We will only use it improve the service going forward.

Our next festival is the Grand National Meeting and that is available to purchase online. So, if you enjoyed Cheltenham, why not sign up to the Aintree Festival?

To view our results spreadsheet which include the Lucky 15 Bets, CLICK HERE

All the best

JPW Racing Tipster

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