The Glenfarcas Cross Country Handicap doesn’t float everyone’s boat but as a spectacle, there are no better sights at the Cheltenham Festival. A field of 20 or more horses tackling the cross country horse in the middle of Prestbury Park is a real unique sight and one that the racing fans in attendance really seem to embrace.
The three miles and seven furlongs contest allows the public to congregate in the middle of the track, therefore allowing them to get up close and personal with the horses as they tackle some spectacular cross country-like fences.
They include a combination of man-man obstacles, made out of ditches, hedges and timber rails, along with more natural challenges, such as steep banks and tricky water jumps.
The race itself, however, doesn’t always get punters juices flowing as the form book is very hard to establish with not much form to go on. But for sheer excitement, the race definitely ticks a lot of boxes.
Last year’s renewal was won by Balthazar King, who became the first non-Irish-trained winner of the race and is set to come back this year to try and fend off another huge challenge from the Emerald Isle.
He won the race after being off the track since December because of a broken bone in his cheek but his class shone through on his first try at this type of discipline.
The ground is a real key to his chances; therefore if the ground is on the quick side in March then he will surely be a lot shorter in the betting than the 8/1 with Coral you can currently get.
To see whether he can land another blow for the British-trained horses, catching all the action with William Hill’s online website looks a shrewd move. The William Hill radio service is probably the best horse racing service currently available to punters.
Year-on-year at the Festival they pull together all the best pundits and tipsters to give punters that extra edge when it comes to finding those all-important winners throughout the four day extravaganza.
But along with that they also show live streaming of all the races through their online portal, which can be viewed via laptop, Ipad or mobile.
Access to the streaming couldn’t be easier, and you don’t even need to place a bet to watch your desired race, all you need to do is sign up, free-of-charge, with William Hill and you will be able to access the stream.
As long as your account is funded, or you have placed a bet on the website within the last 24 hours, you will be able to view all available races.
Since its inception in 2005, Ireland, have an exceptional record in the race, and it seems as though despite losing their crown in 2012 courtesy of Balthazar King, they will get it back in 2013. Also, 28 of the 31 placed horses have also landed a blow for the Irish, meaning each-way punters aswell should be looking towards the Irish raiders.
Their leading contender this season looks to be Outlaw Pete, who won at Cheltenham at the end of 2012 and looks a real improve for tackling the cross country course.
He´d made mistakes behind the classy Uncle Junior at the course last time out but his jumping was much more sound this time around and he looks one to follow in the future in these types of races.
He’s bound to be back here in March and his followers will be hopeful that ground will still be on the soft side of good.
At 8/1 with Paddy Power he looks a brilliant each-way bet.