BetVictor were first bookie to launch a significant Cheltenham Festival market concession with their Non Runner - Free Bet offer and Betfred have become the second bookmaker to make a move by going Non-Runner no bet on the Gold Cup. Betfred sponsor Friday's feature race.
At the time of writing the Betfred were offering these prices :
Bobs Worth 3/1 favourite: The Gold Cup is a definite target for the Hennessy and RSA winner but the concession provides insurance against injury in the interim
Sir Des Champs 5/1: While the Gold Cup looks like the obvious target for Willie Mullin's two time festival winner Eddie O'Leary, manager for owners Gigginstown House Stud, did say this before the Lexus :
"It's a fantastic race and we are trying to beat a very good horses in Flemenstar. It's a level playing field tomorrow. Sir Des Champs has had a run now and it's three miles on a more galloping track, which should suit. Sir Des Champs has to show up well tomorrow, really.If Flemenstar beats us again, he is the better horse and we'll have to go somewhere else. If he beats us again, Flemenstar will be Ireland's Gold Cup horse for this season."
All will be clearer after the Irish Hennessy but if you are fancy Sir Des Champs for the Gold Cup there may be some value in having a bit of insurance that he doesnt get redirected to the Ryanair.
The same comments also apply to the other horses who fought out that classic Lexus Chase - in the absence of soft ground the winner Tidal Bay is probably more likely to go to the World Hurdle. Runner up First Lieutenant could be redirected to the Ryanair and Peter Casey's stable star Flemenstar could end up in any of the three feature chases. Flemenstar was also Pricewise antepost Gold Cup pick this morning so the 9/1 NRNB with Betfred may not last !