The Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide - Paul Ferguson

We return this week with the second part of the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide blog series, with this feature focusing on the lead author himself Paul Ferguson. The extremely informative guide has now been sent to print as we head towards next Wednesday’s release date – make sure to pre-order your copy here. Paul again takes the lead on the guide, with every fact, stat and trend covered to help you make the most informed bets throughout the best week of the year.

The main body of the guide is of course the extensive analysis of each and every race at the Cheltenham Festival. Each of the 28 races is covered, pulling together tried and tested trends spanning age, experience, tactics, key races, form, trainers to note and much more; there is no stone unturned! To make it even simpler, there is even positive and negative trends boxes for each race for quick and easy referencing as readers pick their way through the fields.

In 2022, the trends breakdown was full of gems that aided readers in finding the winners of even the most difficult of handicaps. As part of the analysis for the ever-tricky Boodles Juvenile Handicap on the opening day, Paul picked out the Rated Novice Hurdle at Naas as a key race in pointing towards the winner noting that it is clearly a piece of form to take notice of”. That race was won by Brazil in 2022 and so as many listened to the glowing reviews of Gaelic Warrior in the build-up to Festival, readers of the guide were steered towards the chances of the eventual 10/1 winner instead.

Tactics also play a vital role in breaking down the big-field handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival, which often feel like a minefield. However, Paul is on hand to advise how those races are often run and ultimately how they are often won too. A real highlight of this in 2022 was in the Plate Handicap, with Paul noting that the “race seems to suit those who are ridden up with the pace and The Shunter made it three successive winners to have made virtually all, or certainly been right up with speed throughout”. Fan favourite front-runner Coole Cody would lead for much of the contest, as he always does, on his way to a big-priced 22/1 victory to continue the trend once again.

It isn’t just the winner that the guide helps readers focus on though, but also the runner-up too just for good measure. In the Trainers To Note section, readers were encouraged to focus on one trainer in particular for the Cross Country race, that trainer being Gordon Elliott. The section recommended that readers "pay healthy respect to any horse that he (Gordon Elliott) targets at the race” and pointing out that “many of the leading trainers don’t focus on this event, but Elliott clearly does”. This proved to be a valuable piece of advice as Elliott’s two main hopes, Delta Work and Tiger Roll, fought out an intense finish well clear of the rest to finish first and second; the forecast returned at £9.55.

That wasn’t the only forecast the guide pointed towards either, as the Champion Bumper would also prove successful just over an hour later. As readers of Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow will know by now, Paul has an excellent knowledge for young, improving horses and bumper horses especially. It therefore pays to listen intently on his bumper analysis, and pay it did in the 2022 Champion Bumper. In his Bumper Division feature in the 2022 guide, he deducted that “rather like last year, the top two would appear to set a very high standard", with the forecast again landing when Facile Vega defeated American Mike, paying £6.40. The feature also picked out a nice winner away from Cheltenham, highlighting the chances of The Model Kingdom for Aintree or Punchestown and Noel Meade’s mare duly obliged at odds of 9/2 in the Grade 3 Punchestown Bumper.

Perhaps the most successful, and anticipated, feature in the guide though is the Spring Horses To Follow, which has continued to notch up winners in recent years. Very similar to Paul’s annual Jumpers To Follow publication at the beginning of the National Hunt season, this feature picks out a number of horses for readers to track that have a chance of landing a big spring contest; whether that be at the Cheltenham Festival or elsewhere. The 2022 edition couldn’t have worked out any better, picking out six future winners that season including three at the Cheltenham Festival. Edwardstone, L’homme Presse and State Man would all go on to win their respective races on the biggest stage of them all so we can’t wait to see what Paul has in store for us this year.

As you can see across this blog series, The Weatherbys Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide 2023 is packed full of endless knowledge and extremely useful analysis to make for an ultimate guide to the Cheltenham Festival in 2023. Don’t miss out – the guide is available to pre-order here!