CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL week is one of the biggest betting events of the entire year.
Around £500 million is staked across the four days, meaning it can be a make-or-break week for the bookies.
No other race meeting has the same sort of lively antepost market like the Festival – some of next year's races will be priced up within minutes of the runners passing this post in a few days time.
We asked the bookies for there biggest liabilities at this year's Festival – and there are a few horses in particular who they all fear.
“With just two weeks to go until Gold Cup day the excitement is growing by the minute and our two biggest ante post liabilities for the Festival currently are Jonbon and Facile Vega.
“Jonbon couldn’t have been more impressive than on his hurdling bow at Newbury last November and the unbeaten six-year-old has really caught punters’ imaginations.
"We first laid Facile Vega after Willie Mullins mentioned him in passing at a dinner and anyone who caught his name over the coffee that day has been rewarded with two impressive wins so far.”
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"There has been a bit of a recent punting jamboree on Jonbon in the Supreme and he’s our most significant loser, currently, on day one of the Festival.
"Our ambassador Paul Nicholls has always said that Bravesmansgame was going to the Brown Advisory and punters latched on to him early doors.
"With the likelihood that both Galopin Des Champs and Bob Olinger will race in the Turners he is a big loser in the book and could go off very short indeed."
“As far as bankers go, Allaho seems to be everyone’s idea of the Ryanair Chase winner, and he’s been all the rage to repeat last year’s victory.
"In the Bumper, American Mike was backed at odds of 14-1 last Autumn, although his backers didn’t have to contend with Facile Vega at that point!
“A number of punters will be hoping Galopin Des Champs does line up against Bob Olinger in the Turners rather than the Brown Advisory, as he was backed at bigger odds for the former.
"Winter Fog has emerged as favourite for the Pertemps Final, his shrewd connections are always to be respected and clearly a big run is expected.
"Finally, Chacun Pour Soi is the one we’ve seen support for against hot favourite Shishkin in the Champion Chase, at this stage we’ll be cheering on Nicky Henderson’s star!”
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“Business has been pretty steady in the lead-up to Cheltenham and there are several horses who we’re keen to see beaten.
"We laid 25/1 about Jonbon for the Supreme and a victory for him in the opening race of day one would be a very bad start.
“Bob Olinger in the Turners (4/1 into Evens) and Bravemansgame in the Brown Advisory (10/1 into 7/4) are the two in the novice chases we’re most fearful of, while Wonderwall in the Ballymore and Bardenstown Lad in the Albert Bartlett have also been very well backed.
"The former was available at 50/1 but has been steadily supported into 14/1, with Bardenstown Lad a 10/1 chance for the three-mile contest having been a 50/1 chance a couple of months ago.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly the most popular ante-post accumulator is Honeysuckle, Shishkin, Facile Vega and Allaho. If all four those obliged, it would be very costly indeed.”
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