From 8am on New Year’s Day, racing punters now get the money-back concession on all antepost Cheltenham bets with the online firm, including the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, Unibet Champion Hurdle, Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle and, of course, the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which kicks the fantastic four-day meeting off on March 12.
Sky Bet’s PR Racing Manager Michael Shinners said: “I’ve said it before but Cheltenham Festival punters have never had it so good and this year we’re offering a New Year treat by going Non Runner No Bet on all 28 races from January 1.
“With so many plans still very much up in the air, and plenty of high-profile horses yet to even be seen so far this season, the NRNB offer feels more relevant than ever.
“This is arguably the best offer a bookmaker can give for The Festival and we have decided to kick off 2019 with a bang.”
To take advantage of this offer, which ensures jumps fans can bet on all 28 races safe in the knowledge their stake will be returned if the selection fails to line up in the event, head to Sky Bet’s ‘Future Races’ section.
As a New Year celebration, our racing team have been scouring the revised markets to come up with their three best long-range NRNB bets…
Nicky Henderson makes no secret of the fact that he’s got a few novice chasers currently rated 145 and, with that obviously being the ceiling rating for the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Festival, a couple of them could now be kept fresh for March.
One prime example appears to be Jenkins, who won two valuable handicaps for the yard over hurdles last season – those wins coming from marks of 132 and 143. He ended the last campaign in the low 150s over timber so appears to be fairly treated and his chase form this year has been encouraging.
He’s got some good experience over the Cheltenham fences with two solid efforts at the track since his chasing debut success at Stratford in October, and the big one with him is that he might just perk up again when the blinkers are reapplied.
He showed more in cheekpieces when third to Drovers Lane in mid-December last time out, but the blinkers sparked significant improvement last season and it’ll be fascinating if he goes straight to the Festival with the headgear back on.
He’s worth getting on side now as if he does run again and blows his mark above 145 come March, we now know we’ll be kindly refunded. (Ben Linfoot)
Jenkins has some smart hurdles form in handicaps
Road To Respect – Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup: 12/1
Native River broke a long-standing hoodoo when beaten in the Gold Cup before going on to win it the following year and Road To Respect looks capable of following a similar path to glory.
Noel Meade’s chestnut was a five-length fourth in the big one back in March, despite the horrible weather completely going against him on the day, and he’s looked better than ever since returning this season.
He slammed his rivals in the JNwine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal and ran a massive race when third in the Savills Chase over Christmas considering he almost slipped up at a crucial stage.
The way he made up ground late on to pick up a place behind the enterprisingly-ridden Kemboy was seriously impressive and a stronger end-to-end gallop is going to suit him much better come the spring.
He’s a really safe conveyance having never failed to complete in 14 chase starts and we know he loves Cheltenham having won the Plate at the Festival in 2017. He looks nailed on to go well for Gigginstown and Meade. (Richard Mann)
Champagne Platinum – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle: 12/1
Champion trainer Nicky Henderson has a wealth of talent at his disposal in the novice hurdle ranks but the one who still looks to be underestimated is Champagne Platinum.
He’s a three mile point to point winner so will undoubtedly head up in trip at some stage in his career but he looks to ooze class over two miles for the time being and Henderson isn’t one to rush when it comes to stretching them out in terms of distance.
The grey son of Stowaway barely came off the bridle to win the Introductory Hurdle at Newbury and it will be interesting to see how the handicapper reacts as something like the Betfair Hurdle back at the same venue might be interesting en route to the Festival. (Matt Brocklebank)