Something for the Weekend: Best Racing and Football Bets

Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle

This weekend sees a break for the Premier League due to the latest international fixtures. With England having already comfortably qualified from their Group, and being short-price favourites to see off Malta and North Macedonia, we will stick to the racing, where the action looks far more competitive.

Here, using data presented by, we pick out our best bets from the big Cheltenham handicaps of the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, in addition to the two flat highlights on the Saturday card from Lingfield.

Saturday: Cheltenham 2:20 pm Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase

Always one of the classiest handicaps of the season, the 2023 edition of this 2m4f affair is no exception, with a pair of Grade 1 Cheltenham Festival scorers sitting atop the weights. Brown Advisory Novices Chase winner, The Real Whacker, remains the only horse to have lowered the colours of Gerri Colombe and will likely make a bold bid from the front, but it may take a Denman-like display to shoulder 12st to victory. Turners Novices Chase champ Stage Star has a more realistic 11st7lb, but also likes to get on with things and will almost certainly face competition for the lead. At around 15/2 and 9/2 respectively, there may be better value elsewhere.

Irish raiders Final Orders (16/1) and Authorized Art (25/1) are of interest, but the one we are drawn to is the Nigel Twiston-Davies runner, Torn And Frayed. Sneaking in towards the foot of the weights, this one has a lengthy absence to overcome, but the Twiston-Davies yard has begun the season in flying form, and at 16/1, we are happy to take a chance that this nine-year-old is also going well on the gallops. His most recent start at Cheltenham resulted in a storming six-length success in a Grade 3 handicap off a mark of 131, when he devoured the hill on the run to the line. Getting in here off 136, and with a featherweight of 10st2lb, he can at least hit the frame.

  • Best Bet - Torn And Frayed each way @ 16/1 with BetUK

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Saturday: Lingfield 2:36 pm BetUK Churchill Stakes

Sir Michael Stoute’s Regal Reality heads the ratings and the betting for this Listed class 1m2f event and makes obvious appeal at around 5/2. Five times a winner in Group 3 company, he is clearly up to this level. On the downside, he was narrowly beaten in this grade on his only previous all-weather start and, now eight years of age, he may be vulnerable to the younger legs in the field.

Charlie Appleby’s Blue Trail is rated just 1lb inferior to Regal Reality, yet receives 5lbs from the favourite under these conditions. This son of Teofilo doesn’t score top marks for consistency but is two from four on the all-weather, and his most recent outing over this trip resulted in an 11-length rout in a competitive event out in Meydan when bossing the race from the start. With just the seven set to line up, James Doyle has a good chance of grabbing the lead on the inside and, fresh from a 211-day break, he may prove tough to pass.

  • Best Bet - Blue Trail @ 4/1 with BetUK

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Saturday: Lingfield 3:11 pm BetUK Golden Rose Stakes

Charlie Appleby boasts another strong chance in the second of the Listed class events from Lingfield, with his three-year-old gelding Mischief Magic out on his own at the head of the betting. A perfect two from two on the all-weather, he scored nicely last time out at Kempton and is more open to improvement than most of his rivals. However, his chance certainly hasn’t been missed by the market, and odds of a general 11/10 are a little on the short side for our liking.

There may well be more to come from the William Haggas-trained Pink Crystal, who should go well, but the one to have been overlooked in the betting is the grand old servant, Summerghand. Sent off the 2/1 favourite for this twelve months ago, he duly produced his usual power-packed finish to get on top inside the last 100 yards. 12 months on, and he is available to back at 20/1. That simply looks too big. Whilst below par the last twice, soft ground and being hampered were legitimate excuses. Prior to those outings, he had run a cracker to finish fourth in a red-hot handicap at the Curragh, on the back of a dead heat effort in a competitive event at York. Freshened up by a 35-day break, he looks worth backing to bounce back.

  • Best Bet - Summerghand each way @ 20/1 with BetGoodwin

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Sunday: Cheltenham 3:30 pm Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle

Willie Mullins Irish Raider, Onlyamatteroftime, has crashed into favouritism in the week leading up to this race, which may prove an ominous sign for his rivals. However, that market move appears to be based more on his connections than anything he has achieved at the track, and, at 3/1 in a competitive field, we are happy to look elsewhere.

Neil King holds Lookaway, and talented mare Luccia make the shortlist, but the one to carry our cash is the Nicky Henderson-trained, Iberico Lord. This JP McManus runner showed huge improvement for a wind operation last season, winning at Stratford, before only just failing to reel in stablemate Under Control in a classy event at Sandown. With Under Control now rated 136, Iberico Lord may be well in off 126 here, and his late-charging style should be ideally suited to the Cheltenham hill.

  • Best Bet - Iberico Lord @ 7/1 with LiveScoreBet

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