There were 11 winning favourites at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, with one bookie representative lamenting: “punters are hiring cranes to help them take the cash away”.
But it was a different story this year with just 6 favourites obliging from the 28 races, and two of the three odds-on favourites (Douvan and UnowhatImeanharry) beaten.
Still, it was better than in 2008 when only 2 favourites won at the Festival, including 10/11 Kauto Star being beaten into second by stablemate Denman in the Gold Cup.
Alongside we list all of this year’s favourites, their starting price and how they fared.
2018 Festival Favourites
No sooner had the dust settled on this year’s Festival, than bookies started offering ante-post prices on many of next year’s races and this year’s Gold Cup winner, Sizing John, is 8/1 with Bet365 to retain his crown – behind Thistlecrack at 6/1 with Unibet.
This year’s favourite, Djakadam, who looks like he just doesn’t quite get home over the trip, might be aimed at next year’s Ryanair Chase and Paddy Power offer 10/1.
Elsewhere, the Arkle winner, Altior, is the 2/1 ante-post favourite with Betfred for next year’s Champion Chase, in what could be a classic match-up with Douvan (3/1) – whose defeat at odds of 2/9 in this year’s renewal was the shock of the Festival.
Buveur D’air, is the 5/1 favourite with Bet365 to retain his Champion Hurdle crown next year, ahead of Defi Du Seuil at 8/1 – who justified favouritism for the Triumph Hurdle to take his 100% record over hurdles to six.
Another potential superstar, River Wylde, who was third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle this year, looks an appealing outsider at best odds of 33/1, also with Bet365.
Finally, Nichols Canyon is 8/1 at Bet365 to retain his Stayers’ Hurdle crown next year – ahead of Yanworth at 12/1, who could now be stepped up to this trip following the disappointing performance of this year’s Champion Hurdle favourite. Penhill, winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is also in this market at 14/1 with Bet365.