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5 long shots worth a punt at this year's Cheltenham Festival

Johnny Ward picks a selection to keep an eye on over the week.

LAST YEAR, I tipped five horses in this column. Two of them are still running, two of the others behind them.

The last one did, however, spare my blushes. At these sorts of prices, you don’t need much to go right, and I firmly believe in the fun of a few long shots over the course of Cheltenham.

It’s like that gag in response to those speculative tipsters. “… That means if you put €10 on this outcome, it will return you… nothing.”

You expect defeat with long shots but the rewards are great and William Hill’s each-way terms this year are favourable.

One of the most obvious long-shots of the lot is the 12-1 available about Great Britain having more winners than Ireland, something I wouldn’t back at 100-1. And as such, my long-shots are Irish-trained.

HMS Seahorse 10-1 (Boodles, Tuesday)

leopardstown-races-sunday-11th-april PA PA

Everything bar the favourite seems like a long shot in this race. Gaelic Warrior is obviously fascinating and it would be hard not to put a saver on him, given the blank page that he is for Willie Mullins. It has a traditional Festival feel in the sense of a big field with a favourite that layers should be crying out to oppose but punters cannot but invest in.

HMS Seahorse is nothing like as sexy as the favourite. However, he is by Galileo so is set to appreciate the better ground and he came good on his third hurdle start last time, beating a subsequent winner. When you consider that Lunar Power is 7lbs ahead of his Irish mark and White Pepper 6lbs higher than hers, HMS Seahorse isn’t badly in off 128. He was pacy on the Flat and can still jump better for the trainer who won the first-ever renewal of this race.

Beacon Edge 16-1 (Brown Advisory, Wednesday)

sean-flanagan-on-beacon-edge-on-their-way-to-winning Sean Flanagan on Beacon Edge at Navan in February. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Noel Meade’s Cheltenham recollections Friday on Racing TV made for terrific viewing. It’s fair to say he had his share of bad luck at the Festival. One of his greatest moments was the victory in this race of Nicanor over Denman, who seemed pretty much unbeatable at the time and time proved that he pretty much was.

Beacon Edge seems underrated here for whatever reason. He finished fourth in the stayers’ hurdle last season when just tiring near the wire to finish just behind Paisley Park, who is well-fancied for the race this year. Beacon Edge is running in a novice chase that the key Irish novices (Bob Olinger, Galopin Des Champs) have avoided, yet he is 16-1. He ran a blinder in his trial for this at Navan and makes plenty of appeal.

Plan Of Attack 25-1 (Cross-country, Wednesday)

henry-de-bromhead-after-winning-with-bob-olinger Henry De Bromhead. Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO Lorraine O'Sullivan / INPHO / INPHO

Tiger Roll has been heavily beaten in his last three races and, while he may well bounce back and show his class here, he seems really short to me considering he was 9-2 with a fairly similar prep last year and he’s now 12. Henry de Bromhead brought a horse and a leading rider for a schooling session to an Irish track last week and I presume it was this horse!

De Bromhead has designs on winning this for the first time. He runs two here and Plan Of Attack took really well to this course here in a couple of spins this season. A 7-1 chance in the Kim Muir last season, he was going perfectly well when a late faller.

Grand Paradis 12-1 (Craft Irish Whiskey Co. Plate, Thursday)

fairyhouse-races-november-29th Grand Paradis ridden by Jamie Codd. PA PA

A six-year-old trained by Gordon Elliott who was two from three over hurdles, showing a lot of ability. He’s had five goes chasing and not much has gone right but he travels really strongly in his races and has only one entry at the Festival.

It’s misleading that he ended up pulling up in a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse in November when a lot went against him but he jumped exceptionally well at times. He will be primed for this.

Mighty Blue 20-1 (Mares’ Novices Hurdle, Thursday)

a-general-view-of-mighty-blue-after-winning-the-irish-ebf-supporting-irish-champions-weekend-fillies-handicap Mighty Blue after winning The Irish EBF Supporting Irish Champions Weekend Fillies Handicap. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Remember the last second-season novice who placed in this the year before? Concertista was touched off in this in 2019 and turned up a year later, was hammered in the betting and won by 12 lengths.

I’m not saying Mighty Blue will do that but she travelled like a winner in this last year before flattening out a little in third. She has lots of experience, moves well, loads of class from the Flat and it would be no shock at all were she placed again at an even bigger price 12 months on. She might even win.

Odds above correct at the time of writing. For all the latest prices, visit williamhill.com. 18+, always gamble responsibly. For more information, see gamblingtherapy.org    

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