Free Picks: Cheltenham Festival Horse Betting Odds & Picks

David Schwab

Thursday, March 14, 2013 7:35 PM GMT

One of the biggest horse racing events of the year in the UK got underway this week with the start of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. Let's go over the current odds and decide where we should place our sports picks.

The Festival kicked-off this past Tuesday with the first of 27 races, however with a full slate planned for this Friday it is a perfect time to get in on all the action. 

Let's take a look at some of Friday's races, as well as the betting odds on offer at Bet365.

JCB Triumph Hurdle

The first event on Friday’s schedule is the JCB Triumph Hurdle. This race traditionally has a field of up to 28 entrants but this year’s event has been trimmed down to 17 horses. Bet365 currently has Our Conor as the 3/1 favorite, but this should be a tight race with both Rolling Star and Far West listed as close 7/2 second-favorites. If you are looking for a quality horse with longer betting odds, take a closer look at Kashmir Peak at 14/1 to play the role of spoiler right out of the gate.

Country Handicap Hurdle

The field for the second race of the day, the Country Handicap Hurdle has been set at a full 28 horses and could be one of the most exciting events of the day. Cotton Mill comes in as a 6/1 favorite but there are a number of interesting prospects to choose from. Look for a strong showing from Ted Veale at 12/1 and It’s a Gimme is an interesting choice at 20/1.

Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle

The Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle is the third of seven races on Friday’s schedule. This three mile jaunt features of field of 16 of the best up-and-coming hurdlers in the sport. At Fishers Cross is widely considered the top horse in this group and listed at 11/4 to win. Look for African Gold to put on a good show at 6/1 but this is a good event to stick with the favorite with your sports picks.

Cheltenham Gold Cup 

The premier event of just not the day but the entire festival is Cheltenham Gold Cup which is run on the Cheltenham Racecourse over a distance of three miles, two furlongs. The field for this year’s Cup features 11 of the top chasers including last year’s winner, Bobs Worth, who is favored to repeat at 11/4. His biggest competition for defending his title is Sir Des Champs at 4/1, but Long Run at 5/1 is primed to make some noise in this event. 

Foxhunter Steeplechase 

The fifth race of the day is the Foxhunter Steeplechase. This is one of the oldest hunter chase events in the festival with the first race taking place in 1904. This year’s field consists of 24 horses led by Salsify, who is looking to repeat as champion as an 11/4 favorite. While Cottage Oak could contend at 6/1 and possibly Tricky Trickster at longer 12/1 odds, this is another good race to go chalk.

Conditional Jockey’s Hurdle 

The sixth race of the day is the festival’s newest event, the Conditional Jockey’s Hurdle which is a chance for amateurs to make a name for themselves in the sport. There are 24 entries for this race with Gevrey Chamberlin the 4/1 favorite to win. Edeymi is the 10/1 second choice but keep your eye on Make Your Mark at 14/1 to make his mark by pulling off the upset.

Great Annual Chase 

This year’s Cheltenham Festival closes things out with the running of the Great Annual Chase. This race is contested at a distance of just over two miles so it remains one of the most wide open races on the entire slate. It features a full field of 24 horses with Alderwood listed as the 5/1 favorite on the current board. Given the shorter distance of this chase the list of possible winners runs pretty deep. If you are looking for a play with the best value on the board, consider going with Kid Cassidy at 9/1.

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