Cheltenham Festival Trading Strategy

This year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup is being billed as a straight match between Kauto Star (best priced 2.6 on Betdaq) and Denman (best priced 3.2 on Betdaq) and punters all around the country are split on who will emerge on top come March.

However, the one really interesting angle from a trading point of view is that I am convinced that Denman will trade as favourite in-running. Admittedly, he didn’t dominate this year’s Hennessy from the front like he did in 2007, but I’m sure he’ll be ridden positively in the Gold Cup as that’s probably the only way he can break Kauto Star’s heart. It would be suicide to sit in behind and be played late at the same time as his stablemate – he will never win the battle of speed.

The other factor to consider is that Kauto has a habit of looking beaten in his races before coming back on the bridle. Imperial Commander sailed past him two out in the Betfair Chase, while he even looked in trouble for a few strides halfway through his record-breaking King George win. When Simon Holt suddenly informs Channel 4 viewers that Ruby Walsh ‘is just beginning to get lower in the saddle’ and that ‘Denman is showing no sign of stopping in front’, the latter has to trade as favourite on the exchanges.

Therefore, on decent ground, I’d be looking to lay Kauto Star before the off and then I’ll be trying to back him in-running, while you could employ the reverse strategy with Denman.

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