Record Entries For Cheltenham Festival National Hunt Chase
February 12 - A record breaking number of horses have been entered into this year's National Hunt Chase. Trainers across the country have entered 89 horses into the race that will be run on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday 15th March. The four mile race is the longest run during the whole festival and gives amateur riders the chance to experience the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival. So who is likely to cross the finish line first?
Well, currently the favourite at Cheltenham bet bookmakers Coral is Black Hercules at 3/1. His odds tumbled once he won the Hampton Novices' Chase in January, impressing many with his slick jumping and his ability to gallop all the way to the line. Whether he can keep up the same speed during the four mile course will be a deciding factor in this race though. Both Black Hercules and second favourite Roi Des Francs have been trained by Willie Mullins who should be highly confident of a win with these two horses dominating the Cheltenham bet market.
Another horse trained by Mullins could also surprise many as Point Alexandre is currently joint fourth favourite at bookmakers Coral at 10/1. The race will definitely be a family affair for Mullins as his son Patrick is set to ride one of the horses during the chase. At the moment it?s likely that he'll choose the favourite Black Hercules to ride but that could change closer to the race.
It's also likely that the race could be won by an Irish trained horse as they make up well over a third of the long list of entries. Trainer Mouse Morris will be hopeful of a victory with his horse Rule the World looking like another legend in the making. In the Cheltenham bet market bookmakers Coral have him at 12/1 to win the race. The horse has never won a race over jumps before but has secured a number of close second places. Rule the World has always shown good pace so the four mile race should suit his strong frame. Even if he doesn?t win, he would be a good value each way bet with bookmakers like Coral who are paying out 1/5 odds for second and third place finishers.
Another horse being talked about a lot in the Cheltenham bet market is Native River, who Coral currently have at 12/1 to win the chase. Despite a disappointing loss at Kempton on Boxing Day he impressed many during the previous month with victories at Exeter and Newbury. Colin Tizzard has made it clear that the focus for the horse is the Cheltenham Gold Cup though, and as the horse struggles to keep pace over long distances this might not be the race for him.
Of course not all of the 89 entries can even start the race, so these odds could all change closer to the big day when the race opens Cheltenham Festival later next month.
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