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Horse Racing Tips for Thursday

Our man nailed Wednesday winner Unexpected Party at 16/1 and now looks ahead to the Cheltenham Festival action on Thursday.


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  • Following all Matt’s selections to recommended odds/stakes since taking over the column in June 2020 would have produced over 170pts in profit.

Value Bet Cheltenham tips: Thursday, March 14

1pt win Djelo in 1.30 Cheltenham at 22/1 (General)

1pt win Le Milos in 2.10 Cheltenham at 9/1 (General)

1pt win Arctic Bresil in 4.10 Cheltenham at 14/1 (General)

1pt win Where It All Began in 5.30 Cheltenham at 14/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes) – 12/1 General

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook


Time to take the Grade 1 plunge

The Cheltenham Grade 1s haven’t been particularly interesting from my point of view so far this week but DJELO appeals as being over-priced with conditions to suit in Thursday’s opening Turners Novices’ Chase.

Only a six-year-old, his form has taken off in a big way since being faced with a fence this season – when have we heard that before with one from Venetia Williams’ yard? – and I don’t think he should be judged too harshly on his defeat when tried at the highest level last time.

Keen and held up early on in Sandown’s Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, it was clear soon after halfway that Djelo had a mountain to climb if he was going to catch the aggressively-ridden Nickle Back, who kept up the gallop and measured his fences beautifully from start to finish.

Djelo was forced into some sloppy errors, but he stuck at it in determined fashion on ground plenty fast enough for him (good), and he was comfortably second best on the day, coming 22 lengths clear of Colonel Harry in third.

The selection had earlier been sent off 9/4 favourite to beat some useful rivals in the rescheduled Lightning Novices’ Chase at Lingfield, only be wiped out by an errant Matata at the first obstacle.

I just get the sense Williams is only really scratching the surface with this French import, who is only 1lb behind the likes of Iroko on official figures yet a largely unconsidered 22/1 shot in places.

Final countdown for Milos

The likes of Willie Mullins (Icare Allen), Gordon Elliott (Cleatus Poolaw) and Ted Walsh (Gaoth Chuil) look to have had an eye on the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle from a long way out, but Dan Skelton can plot them up for a Festival handicap as well as anyone and LE MILOS makes plenty of appeal here.

He’s only had half a dozen starts for Skelton after joining from Tim Vaughan’s in 2022 but won his first two, including the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury before finishing 10th in last year’s Grand National – via an agonising defeat in his Aintree prep run at Kelso.

He had a problem in the off-season and reportedly underwent surgery but has had a couple of runs back over hurdles this time around, including over an inadequate trip at Ascot last month, and his earlier third at Market Rasen in November conveniently saw him qualify for this contest.

Those two low-profile runs came when rated 146 and he’s now been dropped to 142, precisely the same mark he defied on debut for the yard at Bangor last season, before following up under a 4lb penalty at Newbury.

Stepping back up in distance looks an obvious move to help spark him back to form here and the testing ground is ideal too as he’s a three-time winner on heavy all told.

Arctic warming up very nicely

I’ve been going round and round in circles with the Ryanair Chase and Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle for ages and just can’t see a bet in either race, but the TrustATrader Plate Handicap Chase is right up my street.

Jonjo O’Neill’s novice Crebilly looks an ideal candidate as he’s gradually got to grips with chasing and wasn’t hard pressed to beat Tahmuras when opening his account at Exeter last month. A 1lb rise for that looks more than fair and he’s obviously feared, though hardly missed in the market.

Henry De Bromhead has his string in great form (he had winners at Naas and Limerick on Sunday prior to landing Tuesday’s Supreme with Slade Steel, while Ballyadam was second in the Coral Cup) and ARCTIC BRESIL’s profile isn’t too dissimilar to that of the favourite.

He was rated 1lb higher than Crebilly as a hurdler and now goes handicapping over fences off a BHA mark of 135 (Crebilly is 5lb higher), and I liked his qualifying run over two miles behind Mister Policeman at Punchestown last month.

Given a very patient ride in that race, his jumping was safe from start to finish and, encouragingly, it seemed to improve the quicker he went late on. He was staying on all the way to the line, strongly suggesting he’ll need to go back over further to be seen at his best, and gets the chance at Cheltenham

His novice hurdle campaign tailed off quite disappointingly last year – he was pulled-up in the Tolworth and well held when fourth at the Punchestown Festival after a break – but the chase campaign has been steadily progressive and that’s to be expected given he’s trained by Henry De Bromhead, who does so well with this type of horse.

De Bromhead ran a novice in this race for the first time 12 months ago, Marvel De Cerisy very well backed (7/1) on the day and a bit unlucky not to finish closer than ninth as he was briefly hampered. That one went on to be (a well-beaten) second behind Jonbon in a Grade 1 at Aintree and it’s not hard to envisage Arctic Bresil competing at the highest level before the end of the season.

O’Neill to claim breakthrough success

The fact that top Irish amateur Barry O’Neill has yet to ride a Festival winner remains something of an anomaly but he was narrowly denied on Discorama in the 2019 National Hunt Chase and looks to have a cracking chance of laying the hoodoo to rest on WHERE IT ALL BEGAN in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.

The addition of cheekpieces have helped this second-season chaser realise his potential and he ended up pulling miles clear of his rivals when winning the 15-runner Grand National Trial at Punchestown last month, the sort of performance it can’t have been easy to put a figure on.

The Irish assessors bumped him from 123 to 135 but the BHA mob have surely taken a big risk in mirroring that mark over here as while he was pulled-up in a novices’ handicap won by Sail Away at Ayr last spring, he’s never run over here on soft ground and is clearly a different animal entirely when the mud is flying.

The eight-year-old seems to have bottomless reserves of stamina and should be perfectly suited to the conditions this week.

Hopefully the door can finally open for multiple champion point-to-point rider O’Neill, despite Cool Survivor looking the Elliott first-string under Harry Swan, who has made a big impression since joining the team at Cullentra House.

Published at 1600 GMT on 13/03/24

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