Megan Nicholls Racing Tips – Cheltenham Ante-Post

BetMGM ambassador Megan Nicholls offers her insight into the world of horse racing as she brings her first-rate knowledge exclusively to our blog every week.

In this entry the former jockey, who rode more than 110 winners before turning her hand to television punditry, casts her eye over some antepost betting ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Festival Racing Tips

Supreme Novices Hurdle

The Irish have a really strong hand - at least according to the antepost and the potential runners heading there.

They are absolutely dominating the market, but I am actually going to side with one of the potential English runners from Nicky Henderson's stable, and that's Jeriko Du Reponet (5/1), who is three from three.

He has won a point-to-point and twice, now, at Newbury and I was impressed with his performance at Newbury last time. Although it was a small field, it was quite a competitive introductory hurdle that day, and he did it pretty much on the bridle. He beat some decent horses in Secret Squirrel and Paradias in second and third, and wasn't really asked a question. The ground was very testing that day - it was described as soft, but it was very hard work - and I don't think that is necessarily to his suiting, so better ground wouldn't go amiss for him.

I just think there is loads more to come - an opening mark of 132 suggests that what he's done has been impressive visually and also by the clock, so I think Jeriko Du Reponet could be a really exciting horse for Nicky Henderson and JP McManus, and I'm hoping the English can kick off the festival as we mean to go on.

Megan’s Tip: Jeriko Du Reponet WIN

Brown Advisory Novices' Chase

I am remaining faithful to Stay Away Fay (11/2).

His form beating Grey Dawning (9/1) continues to look good, and there was another form boost at the weekend with Grey Dawning winning again.

Stay Away Fay has not had his ideal conditions - it's been small fields at a slow pace, and he's had to do the hard work at the front end, which is not ideal as he idles a lot when he's in front. I'm really looking forward to seeing him in a higher grade and in a better run race. I think we will see a better horse once again.

He's obviously a winner at the festival last year, he's a winner at the top level, and he doesn't have an issue with the track, which is a question mark for Gaelic Warrior (12/1), as we know he is much better right-handed.

Stay Away Fay is simple, he stays, he's tough, he's classy, and I just think he could be overlooked. So I am staying loyal to Stay Away Fay.

Megan’s Tip: Stay Away Fay WIN

Champion Chase

This is going to be an absolute thriller.

Everything crossed that we get the El Fabiolo (4/6) and Jonbon (9/4) clash back on.

Due to the BetMGM Clarence House being abandoned, it sounds as if El Fabiolo will stay in Ireland for the Dublin Festival and Jonbon will go wherever the Clarence House is rerouted.

So the rematch is very much back on - I'm staying with El Fabiolo.

I was really keen on his chances last year - he was actually my banker of the meeting. He did me proud.

We know he is prone to the odd mistake, but the engine is huge. I think he will improve for another run - any extra experience and any extra jumping challenge is only going to help him, and I just think he is a hugely talented horse.

Cheltenham is not an issue for him, and as long as he can get into a nice jumping rhythm, he is the quickest horse in the race. To be honest, if there is a good gallop on - which Jonbon apparently needs - I think that will just suit El Fabiolo even more.

**Megan’s Tip: El Fabiolo WIN

Mares Novices Hurdle

Queens Gamble is a fairly big price at 14/1 and an each-way chance.

She is unbeaten over hurdles, and since joining trainer Harry Derham, she was very impressive in a listed race at Taunton last time, beating Casa No Mento. I thought that was fairly solid form.

I also felt that Queens Gamble, once she hit the front, was only doing enough, so there is potentially more to come.

She goes very well at Cheltenham, she goes well fresh, and I think she is overpriced at 14/1.

I wouldn't be surprised if she is a shorter price on the day.

**Megan’s Tip: Queens Gamble EW

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Galopin Des Champs (Evens) looked right back to his best last time over Christmas - he is the worthy favourite. I am really looking forward to him and Fastorslow (7/2) locking horns once again at the Dublin Racing Festival. We should learn a lot more about where Fastorslow really stands with Gallopin du Champ.

I don't think Galopin Des Champs was at his very best at Punchestown when Fastorslow beat him and Bravemansgame (14/1), but Fastorslow is clearly a very talented horse.

I think Galopin Des Champs is the best horse in the field without a shadow of a doubt when he is on his A-game, and he certainly was in the Savills Chase over Christmas.

I am going to throw in a massive price to look at Each Way - Nassalam at 25/1. His romp at Chepstow was just quite incredible, and plenty of horses have gone on from the Welsh National to win the Gold Cup. I am not saying he is going to win, but he is a horse with plenty of ability. He's definitely improved this year and the likes of Native River have managed to do something similar and keep improving, AKA winning a Welsh National before winning a Gold Cup.

I just think Nassalam is going in the right direction, he stays very well, if it is an out-an-out gallop then stamina won't be an issue. I wouldn't be surprised to see him sneak into a place.

But Galopin Des Champs deserves to be the favourite and will be hard to beat at his best.

**Megan’s Tip: Gallopin Des Champs WIN Nassalam EW

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