- Stayers' Hurdle - Paisley Park - 9/4 Ladbrokes
- Ryanair Chase - Coney Island - 40/1 Bet365
- Cheltenham Gold Cup - Presenting Percy - 3/1 Betway
- David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle - Benie Des Dieux - 2/1 William Hill
- Coral Cup - Uradel - 14/1 BetVictor
With racing in Britain halted by an outbreak of Equine Flu, I've had time to take stock this weekend, and now I want to highlight what I think are the five best bets to place right now for the Cheltenham Festival.
5. The Championship Good Thing
Paisley Park has blown away everything he's touched in the Stayers' Hurdle division this season, with impressive wins in the Grade 1 JLT Hurdle at Ascot and the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.
It's fair to say that since Thistlecrack, long-distance hurdling hasn't produced a superstar, but I don't think we've got to the bottom of Paisley's Park's ability yet and I think he can win the third Championship Race of the Cheltenham Festival.
His biggest danger is defending champion Penhill, who gave us no clues last year when rocking up after a break of almost a year. He is set to bid to repear the feat this year, and is the only horse Paisley Park has to fear.
However, through lateral form, Paisley Park actually beat last year's Stayers' Hurdle field by a mile in the Cleeve Hurdle and he's still only 7-years-old, with Ladbrokes offering a real stand-out 9/4 about him right now.
4. The Over-Priced Definite
The Ryanair Chase usually has less than 10 runners, many initial entries opting instead for the Champion Chase on Tuesday or the Gold Cup on Friday.
Favourite Min could well face Altior again in the Champion Chase, Kemboy and Road To Respect are going to the Gold Cup, and Waiting Patiently seems to do a lot of just that.
It's worth taking a punt on Coney Island (pictured above), who is massive at 40/1 in the Ryanair Chase betting with Bet365. Trainer Eddie Harty confirmed on Saturday that he's a definite runner, and that he would not run again before the 2m5f Grade 1.
He's never run at Cheltenham, but his form in novice chases two seasons ago gives him a great chance; In a Grade 1 over 2m4f, he beat last year's Gold Cup third and fourth, Anibale Fly and Road To Respect, he was also beaten just half-a-length by subsequent Irish Grand National winner Our Duke in a Grade 1 over 3m
Yes, the wheels fell off slightly last year, but the stable were never right. This season he jumped much better at Christmas in the Grade 1 Savill's Chase, which was a red hot affair. If he comes on for that and gets into a rhythm at Cheltenham he wouldn't run like a 40/1 shot.
3. Presenting Percy
He's two from two at the Cheltenham Festival after wins in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle and the RSA Chase, the latter win being one of the best performances at last season's Festival.
It has stuck so strongly in the mind that, despite only running once since, his position at the head of the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting has only grown stronger.
He's got every attribute you would want in a Gold Cup horse. He jumps, he travels, he settles and he stays forever. His campaign last year really solidified his versatility, with wins between 2m4f and 3m5f, over hurdles, in Grade 2s, handicaps and Grade 1s.
No horse could get close to him in the RSA Chase and I don't expect they will get close to his odds in the Gold Cup betting either.
2. The Irish Banker
There will be many Irish bankers at the Cheltenham Festival, but perhaps none stronger than Benie Des Dieux, who is bidding to give trainer Willie Mullins a 10th victory in 13 runnings of the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle on Tuesday.
Mullins is a master at delivering his horses bang-on for the big days, so it's no concern she hasn't run since last April, and she is due to have a prep run at Gowran Park this weekend.
Assuming she wins that, her odds for Cheltenham could hit even-money, and today's 2/1 with William Hill will appear a distant memory.
Benie Des Dieux's biggest dangers according to the odds are stablemate Laurina, and last year's third Apple's Jade, but both are right now heading for the Champion Hurdle.
Laurina is pencilled in for a prep run at Punchestown on Wednesday next week, which could again move this market, depending on what Mullins says, so the advice remains - take the 2/1 about Benie Des Dieux now.
1. The Handicap Plot
Uradel was one of my eyecatchers at the Dublin Racing Festival. He finished fifth in a valuable 2m handicap, finding the distance at Leopardstown too short, and looking every inch a Coral Cup winner.
Jockey Ruby Walsh found himself in a pocket turning in, but he stayed on strongly from the second-last to the line, despite finding that trouble in-running.
The eight-year-old has already proven his stamina in big Flat handicaps and is totally unexposed over hurdles, especially at the Coral Cup distance of 2m5f, which should bring out tonnes of improvement.
There's no doubt that off a revised handicap rating of 133, he's incredibly well-handicapped, when considering his Flat handicap mark is 103. The general rule for comparing the two is to add 40-45lb to the Flat mark to work out the potential jumps mark.
So Uradel technically has the potentially to reach a rating over hurdles of 148. I find it very difficult to ignore his chances at this year's Cheltenham Festival, and thank BetVictor for offering 14/1 in the Coral Cup.