Saturday 24 March 2018

Ivan Yates - Beat the bookie: 'Buveur' my first day banker

Double up Henderson's Champion Hurdle charge with Apple's Jade for value return

Champion Hurdle favourite Buveur D’Air, with Barry Geraghty up, demonstrates his slick hurdling technique on the way to victory at Sandown last month. Photo: PA
Champion Hurdle favourite Buveur D’Air, with Barry Geraghty up, demonstrates his slick hurdling technique on the way to victory at Sandown last month. Photo: PA
Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

It's a cliché. But it can't be emphatically repeated often enough. Festival races are of such intense quality, you shouldn't bet in every race. Just relish the thrills.

Bookies love punters who bet in each race, up their stake after big wins, chase losses. Don't be a mug punter.

Buveur D'Air is unopposable in the Champion Hurdle and is my banker of the entire week. He's the top-rated hurdler (171) in training.

Unbeaten in two years, probably still improving, super slick jumper; won last year's title and prefers this softer ground.

Willie fires four darts at him. Sentimental punters may opt for former hero Faugheen, but sadly he's a shadow of his former great self.

Expect Barry Geraghty to take up the lead around the last bend and kick on. Yorkhill is the enigma, Ruby's rejection is significant.

My second best bet of the week runs in the next, OLBG Mares Hurdle.

Apple's Jade (rated 158) may be only six, but she's won seven Grade One races and won this race last year.

I like La Bague Au Roi for the forecast - she's better over three miles.

Expect Jack Kennedy to take up the running on the far side and not be headed up the hill. Irish runners are unbeaten in this over the past decade.

Doubling up Buveur D'Air and Apple's Jade pays around 7/4.

The Racing Post Arkle Novice Chase is all about high-class jumping at maximum pace and only three horses matter for me.

I was at Navan and Leopardstown to witness Footpad's three faultless victories.

He and Petit Mouchoir have regularly duelled. Gigginstown's grey was the superior hurdler, winning two Grade Ones. But since graduating to the larger obstacles, he's too deliberate at his fences.

I'm outrightly opposing him. Daryl Jacob should get Footpad into an even rhythm, so expect Leopardstown form to be upheld.

Soft-ground front-runner Saint Calvados is best of the English, but his Warwick win and former French hurdle ratings represent inferior class.

The curtain-raiser has been dominated by Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins over the past five years (three wins, two seconds).

Their skimpy favourite (6/4) again here is Getabird. His Punchestown win was smart, but was favoured by the weights.

He's never won going left-handed. I remain to be convinced. He may post a career-best run, but he'll need to.

I'll take a chance with Kim Bailey's fast-improving six-year-old First Flow.

Unbeaten in three hurdle runs, he was especially impressive winning a Grade Two at Haydock in the muck.

He's been backed from 25/1 to 10/1.

Off course, bigger bookies now have multiple markets on each race throughout the week.

Instead of just traditional each-way or straight win bets, ask for the fixed odds 'place only' market terms.

I feel First Flow has great prospects of finishing in the first three.

My three tentative 'Hail Mary' each-way shots elsewhere are: Keeper Hill (4.50), Ramses De Teillee (2.50), and Mister Whitaker (5.30).

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