Cheltenham Festival Novice Chase Ante-Post Tips, Odds & Analysis

In the third edition of his 2020 Cheltenham Festival Ante-Post series, Diarmuid Nolan takes a look at the Novice Chases and even offers up a 33/1 shot!

Cheltenham Festival Novice Chase Ante-Post Tips, Odds & Analysis

2020 CHELTENHAM NOVICE CHASE BETTING TIPS:

TipOddsBet with
Cash Back to win the Arkle12/1William Hill
Battleoverdoyen to win the RSA Novices Chase8/1Betfair
First Approach to win the National Hunt Chase33/1Unibet

Bet £10 Get £10Claim Bonus18+. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. First bet only. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. UK customers only. One Free Bet offer per customer, household and IP Address only. T&Cs apply


Sometimes less is more, and the Dublin Racing Festival proves this. There is only two days of racing at this meeting, but we get to enjoy eight Grade One’s!

They haven’t tried to spread these over a week, all of this top class racing is crammed into two excellent days of National Hunt racing and punters are flocking in our droves to attend.

Quality over quantity sells, who knew?

Let’s hope those running Cheltenham might come to this conclusion also so we won’t end up with a five day festival! That’s a blog in itself however, so we’ll move onto trying to find some winners!

After this weekend’s pantheon of top-class racing, Cheltenham Festival markets may shift dramatically, so I thought it was time to take a look at the Novice Chasers!

Arkle A Wide Open Affair

As we discussed on the #racehour podcast this week, the Arkle is not exactly the two horse division it may appear to be.

Notebook has been brilliant thus far, but I'm not sure what value there is in his price of 7/2 generally with the best betting sites. His jumping is sublime, he has deservedly won his three starts to date over fences, but I think there might be at least one better horse lurking in the division than those he has beaten so far!

Fakir D'oudairies has been very good also, he looks a natural over the bigger obstacles, but he wasn't able to beat Notebook last year when he was getting more weight from that rival than he will be receiving at Leopardstown and Cheltenham, so why should he turn that form around now? He was beaten fair and square at Christmas!

Before this, Fakir D'oudairies beat Samcro over further, but that challenger came down when still travelling well and we've no idea what would've happened that day!

My point is that I'm not sure how good Fakir D'oudairies is, I think he may need further, so as a knock on I'm not overly convinced on Notebook's form either.

I think Bapaume is the quintessential hipster horse and I'm not at all sure how good he actually is, Melon will want further and I just can't have the English form in this division at all. This market is screaming out for a bolter and that might come in the form of Cash Back.

He has been brilliant twice at Navan, a track that tends to produce plenty of festival winners and I love his style of racing and jumping. He's low, quick and direct and is perfect for two mile chasing. Like the top two in the market he is a better horse over fences than he was over hurdles.



His form is not proven by any means, but were he win the Irish Arkle, which I think he will, he would obviously be much shorter than the 12/1 available with William Hill!

Notebook could well prove once again that he is the best horse in the 2020 Arkle Chase, but at the odds Cash Back is the logical choice to back Ante-Post ahead of a defining day for the division.


Bet £20, Get £10Claim Bonus18+ New Customers Only. Minimum Deposit and wagering on sport to activate the Free Bet is £20. Customers who deposit using Neteller, Paysafe, Skrill or Skril 1-Tap will not be eligible for any free bet offer.BeGambleaware.org


Battleoverdoyen For RSA Glory

Another horse who could well shorten is Gordon Elliott's Battleoverdoyen who looks well placed to take the Flogas Novices Chase on Sunday.

He has been brilliant so far this season and really hasn't been tested yet. He's the type of horse I really love in that his big and lazy nature means we don't really know how good he is! 8/1 with Betfair to win the RSA Chase looks decent value to me.

Battleoverdoyen is not as slow as some people seem to think he is either - he was quick enough to win twice over two miles when hurdling and he just hasn't had to push himself at all so far in his career over fences. That should all change on Sunday and this shorter trip will show the world that he can mix it over this distance as well!



His Cheltenham record was blotted last year when he flopped in the Ballymore, but I'm willing to forgive that poor showing as he was far from the only Gordon Elliott horse to not run their race at the 2019 Festival.

I actually believe that the reason many are so keen to write him off here is because of that festival flop - punters really take a long time to forgive a horse that doesn't win at Cheltenham.

Champ has a serious engine, but his jumping hasn't been anywhere near good enough and at the odds he is I'm very happy to take him on. Allaho and Minella Indo are fantastic horses, but I'm really not sure about their experience going into this major test.

Slate House, Sam Brown and Pym are all nice horses, but I'm happy to stick with Battleoverdoyen, who will prove he is not as slow as the racing masses seem to think at the weekend in Dublin.

Take The First Approach For The National Hunt Chase

Speaking of the Flogas Chase, another entrant interests me going forward, and that's Noel Meade's First Approach.

I always look for talented novices who are maybe just below the top level when assessing the very tough National Hunt Novices Chase, and this son of Robin Des Champs fits the bill for me.

He was an exceptionally busy novice hurdler, with ten runs in total last season. There was some eye-catching efforts with three wins to his name in total. The really pleasing performances however were three very promising runs in Grade Ones at Naas, Leopardstown and Punchestown respectively.

He should improve a lot for his very good reappearance when showing up very well and only tiring late into 3rd behind Minella Indo and the experienced Captain CJ.

He has now bumped into Minella Indo in his last three starts and has been beaten by that rival on every occasion - surely connections will be looking to avoid him at Prestbury Park? First Approach was only beaten 5 lengths, again by Minella Indo, at the Punchestown Festival and really looked like the further he goes, the better he will be.

I quite like Champagne Classic for this, but he should go off a very similar price at Cheltenham to what he is now and you'll get more value on the day than you will now.

I really cannot understand how Carefully Selected is the price he is. He looks terrified of his fences, hasn't convinced me once that's he in any shape a natural over the bigger obstacles and if he was trained by anyone else he would be 20/1 or bigger. He's favourite for this and I just don't understand it.

First Approach is massively unexposed, has some very smart form to his name and should only improve for more of an emphasis on staying. The main worry you'd hold for him is the lack of chasing experience, but he might well get away with it! He looked to jump really well first time out, is classy and he's a very interesting bet at 33/1 with Unibet for the National Hunt Chase.


This Week's Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips

TipOddsBet with
Cash Back to win the Arkle12/1William Hill
Battleoverdoyen to win the RSA Novices Chase8/1Betfair
First Approach to win the National Hunt Chase33/1Unibet

Previously Tipped


Related Articles


Listen to the #racehour podcast!


Bet £15, Get £10Claim Bonus18+ New Players only. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s. www.begambleaware.org Terms Apply