With 27 races and over 400 horses to punt on during the Festival, many will feel the Cheltenham Festival is a bit of a minefield of odds with the ample of opportunities at their fingertips.
What some shrew punters will look for is a bet which gives them an interest in a big selection of races without having to go through endless form study on each individual race. That bet is to predict the top trainer, which means you’re looking for the person that will train the most winning horses at the Festival.
The usual protagonists head the markets, namely Willie Mullins (5/4), Paul Nicholls (11/4) and Nicky Henderson (9/4), who between them have won the title for the last six seasons.
One of the trio rate as the most likely winner once again due to their imperious strength in their stables but for punters who like a double figure price, backing Alan King at 16/1 wouldn’t be the worst bet of the Festival.
The talented handler has been struggling to find top class horses over the last few seasons and only registered one winner at the Festival last season, but has seemingly got a very powerful stable to go to war with this time around.
“I think they’re the best bunch of young horses we’ve had for a long time,” he said at a media day at his stables last week and confidence is certainly high regarding their chances of registering a few winners.
The juvenile hurdlers department is probably his strongest area, with the likes of Grumeti and Balder Sucess going for the Triumph Hurdle and the apparently, according to King, well-handicapped Vendor, who is likely to go off favourite for the Fred Winter.
Bationnier also holds strong claims in the Neptune Novices Hurdle but it’s the handicaps where King could make that 16/1 look ludicrous come the end of Gold Cup day. Raya Star, Kumbeshwar, Hold On Julio, Bensalem and Walkon all look set to go off near single figure prices in their chosen handicap races.
It’s that strength in depth that makes King a viable value alternative to three market leaders.