It’s Cheltenham time again – that midweek in March were everyone is suddenly a horse racing form expert and a tipster to boot.
When the roar is heard on the Gloucestershire track then a whole week’s worth of top class racing, and betting, will be under way.
When it comes to making your big-race selections, there are a whole host of factors that are worth taking into consideration.
Form, pedigree, big race history, course and distance prospects, odds, tips, and anything else can come into play when picking your horse for the sport’s biggest event.
But this week we want to cut through all that froth and give Scottish readers the best chance at making a profit from their patriotism.
These are the Scottish-themed runners and riders that will be making an appearance at this week’s Cheltenham Festival.
Elgin – Tuesday 1.30 (Odds: 28/1)
The opening race has a Scottish interest, although the horse isn’t trained or ridden by anyone based north of the border.
Anyone who follows Scottish football knows that Elgin isn’t exactly a byword for sporting success, but that doesn’t mean this horse can’t come up trumps in a very open contest.
The favourite for this race, the not very poetically named ‘Melon’ is only a general 3/1 so there could be value in backing Elgin each way.
We wouldn’t advice betting the house on a horse with odds this high, but fans of the charming Moray village won’t want to miss a chance to get a well-named win in the opener.
Any Currency – Wednesday 4.10 (Odds: 14/1)
While most of our Scottish-themed horses are based on place names, we couldn’t resist, in this momentous week, throwing in an indyref2 themed runner.
With Nicola Sturgeon firing the starting gun on another vote just yesterday, politics could be in the mind of Scottish punters.
Looking ahead to the campaign, it is once again economics that is going to dominate the debate, and what currency an independent Scotland will be at the forefront of that discussion.
So cover your political and sporting bases with a bet on Any Currency in arduous cross-country chase that takes place tomorrow.
Yorkhill – Thursday 1.30 (Odds: 6/4)
One of the most anticipated runs of the festival this week also sports a Scottish name as Yorkhill leads the betting in the JLT chase on St Patrick’s Thursday.
The Irish raider with the name based on an area of Glasgow is nearly odds-on for the opening race on the third day.
Not without good reason – the horse has one all but one of his seven starts so far, being turned over at odds of 4/9 at the end of last season.
Yorkhill, trained by master trainer and perennial festival winner Willie Mullins, could be as tight as evens before the tape is raised on Thursday.
Bellshill – Thursday 1.30 (Odds: 16/1)
One of Yorkhill’s challengers for that JLT chase is his fellow raider with the Scottish name, as previous challenger Bellshill also goes to post. Bellshill might be long odds to overturn Yorkhill, but the horse has won three of his last four races, with a defeat to French based Disko (who also runs here) the only blemish.
For those Scots who think that their patriotism will take them all the way to the bank, a straight bet on Yorkhill can be offset by an each-way fancy on Bellshill.
Kelvingrove – Thursday 2.10 (Odds: 50/1)
If those bets have you in profit at the start of the week, then why not go big towards the end of the festival with an each-way flutter on this West End runner?
Punters with fond memories of a stroll through the ‘posh part’ of Glasgow or listening to music at the bandstand can take themselves back with a win on the 7-year-old gelding.
The form is not stacked in the horse’s favour.
Kelvingrove has won just four races in a career that spans over 22 appearances, with the last win coming last May at odds of 12/1.
But if you are a West End Weegie with money to burn after a strong week, you could do a lot worse than back Kelvingrove at each-way.