The new year always brings eager anticipation of the Cheltenham Festival, one of the biggest events of the UK and Irish horse racing calendar.

Proving a weekly breakdown of the four day festival’s fixtures, the Racing Post’s Upping the Ante team took a look at the Ballymore Novices Hurdle in the latest edition, a race full of notable names. 

As it stands, the top five runners in the race are Sir Gerhard (5/1), Jonbon (8/1), Kilcruit (12/1), Mighty Potter (12/1) and Dysart Dynamo (12/1).

“It’s very open,” said guest host Richard Forristal, Editor of Racing Post Ireland. “Jonbon I’d imagine goes supreme, I think Constitution Hill – even though he’s trained by Nikki (Henderson) as well – I think the two of them will go there.”

“I probably just have a slight preference for Jonbon, they’re both good horses but Jonbon is due to run this Friday at Ascot so that will tell us more.”

He continued: “Sir Gerhard was very good in the Cheltenham bumper, he got beat down by Kulcruit and we haven’t seen him,” before adding “Journey with Me (16/1) is a very interesting horse – he won the same bumper that Bob won at Gowan Park at the weekend, but again, we haven’t seen him.”

Whilst punters will of course be looking forward to the Cheltenham Festival, last year’s event proved to be a hugely successful business period for bookmakers. 

In the Oddschecker report of betting trends during the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, positive results were revealed for numerous operators with bet365 heading the betslip leaderboard.

The Stoke-on-Trent based online bookmaker accumulated the largest share of betslip clicks on the odds comparison website throughout the four-day festival at 19.4%, whilst Flutter Entertainment’s Paddy Power and Sky Bet finished second and third with 13.1% and 12% respectively.

Meanwhile, Betfair Sportsbook took fourth place, generating 11.4% of betslips, whilst Oddschecker sponsor William Hill came in fifth, having benefited from extensive customer engagement as a result of the partnership.

Upping the Ante: Jonbon ‘supreme’ in Cheltenham Ballymore Novices Hurdle