Cheltenham Festival Friday Betting Tips

Betting.org experts give their bets for three of the supporting races on Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival; Friday, March 15. Sir Erec looks a worthy red-hot favourite to land the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle that gets proceedings underway, so rates the best bet. Ucello Conti has a touch of class and the services of crack amateur Jamie Codd in the saddle, so is therefore our next best punt in the 3m 2f Foxhunter Chase. The Nicky Henderson trained Dickie Diver, meanwhile, is an exciting prospect who looks overpriced and appeals each-way play in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. Find out more about these horses in our in-depth preview with Cheltenham Festival Friday betting tips for March 15.

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Odds
11/10
NAP
Sir Erec
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Odds
5/1
NB
Ucello Conti
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Odds
8/1
E/W
Dickie Diver
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Sir Erec can rise to the occasion and Triumph at Cheltenham

Leading Irish owner JP McManus has seen his famous green and gold hooped carried to victory in two of the last three runnings of the Triumph Hurdle (13:40). His main hope in this year’s renewal of the Grade 1 juvenile contest over 2m which gets proceedings under at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday is Sir Erec and he looks a worthy red-hot favourite to land the spoils.

This Joseph O’Brien trained four-year-old was a high class performer on the level, winning twice and running a cracker to finish third to staying star Stradivarius in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup at Ascot. He has taken to hurdling like a duck to water and is unbeaten in two starts.

In the first of those – a 28-runner affair at Leopardstown – he put in a couple of slow jumps before staying on strongly to assert close home and beat Tiger Tap Tap by three-quarters of a length. The pair pulled eight lengths clear of the third home and it was a performance full of promise.

Smart Flat form and Grade 1 hurdle winner

Connections then wasted no time stepping Sir Erec into Grade 1 company and he couldn’t have been more impressive when landing the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the same venue last month. The son of Derby winner Camelot nade made all and stayed on strongly to readily beat Gardens Of Babylon by six lengths under a hands and heels ride.

Sir Erec was very slick at the obstacles and had clearly learned plenty from his previous outing. That race is a key trial for this and, off 151, he’s the highest rated runner in the line-up. O’Brien, and his rider Mark Walsh, have also already tasted success at the meeting and underfoot conditions come alike for the gelding.

Further improvement also looks assured and Sir Erec is a strong traveller with a turn of foot. Those are the ideal attributes for the test and his claims look glaringly obvious. That’s’ why we had no hesitation in making him the standout bet in these 2019 Cheltenham Festival Friday betting tips.

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Ucello Conti and Codd a potent combination in Foxhunter

Ucello Conti is the highest rated in the line-up and has the services of crack amateur rider Jamie Codd in the saddle, so looks the answer to a wide open renewal of the 3m 2f St James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase (16:10). This Simon Munir and Mr Isaac Souede owned 11-year-old lowered the colours of prolific winner Sydney Paget in a point and is unbeaten in two starts since being switched to hunters.

After scoring by 4 1/2 length at Thurles, the Gordon Elliott trained son of Martiline followed-up in good style at Navan when bearing Coastal Tiep by 3 1/2 lengths. Ucello Conti was slow at the first and made a slight mistake at the 10th, before making smooth headway to take up the running two from home.

He was then ridden to assert approaching the last and responded well to the urgings of Brendan O’Neill to forge clear on the run-in and score by 3 1/2 lengths. The front two pulled nicely clear and the aforementioned Sydney Paget was beaten a total of 27 lengths in fourth.

Class horse in new sphere

That gives the form a solid look. If tidying up his jumping, then Ucello Conti has the potential to do better in this sphere. Codd, who now takes over in the saddle for the first time, looks the ideal partner for him and at the time of writing has already ridden two winners at the meeting courtesy of Le Breuil and Envoi Allen.

He is the jockey everyone wants on their side in this type of event and rides the track better than many of his professional colleagues. So, in a race in which a case can be made for plenty, Ucello Conti looks to have more going for him than most and is therefore the next best bet in these Cheltenham Festival Friday betting tips.

Dickie Diver appeals each-way in Albert Bartlett

In the 3m Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (14:50), champion trainer Nicky Henderson saddles two very exciting prospects in the shape of the JP McManus owned pair Birchdale and Dickie Diver. Preference is for the latter as he appeals as the type to come into his own now stepped up in trip.

This six-year-old joined Henderson after winning his sole start in an Irish point by 27 lengths, and looked unlucky not to make a winning debut for the Seven Barrows handler when a head second of 16 to Lisnagar Oscar at Chepstow. Dickie Diver made a costly error at the last which stopped him in his tracks, but then stayed on strongly and would have prevailed in another couple of strides.

It was hugely promising effort and the winner has since gone on to land a Grade 2 at Haydock, so that gives the form a solid look. Given how the race panned out, and the fact that Lisnagar Oscar was the far more experienced going into the race, Dickie Diver is fully expected to turn the tables with that re-opposing rival.

Dickie Diver then duly showed the benefit of that experience when cruising home by 2 1/4 lengths over 2m 1f at the same venue last month. He clearly has a big engine and this stamina test will undoubtedly play to his strengths.

McManus’ retained jockey Barry Geraghty has turned him down in favour of Birchdale, but Dickie Diver has a more than able deputy in the shape of Aidan Coleman who steered him to victory at Chepstow. He shouldn’t be bigger odds in the betting than Lisnagar Oscar, so looks terrific value and thus features as the each-way punt completes these 2019 Cheltenham Festival Friday betting tips.

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