Cheltenham Festival 2022 - Day One - Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham Festival 2022 - Day One - Cheltenham Racecourse. Pic: Getty Images.

Cheltenham Is Coming . . . Get Ready For The Ride Of The Racing Year

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DragonBet on-course bookmaker James Lovell gives the inside track on Welsh sport – what’s hot, what’s not, and who’s the talk of the betting ring.

If last week was about recovery, this week was about getting prepped for attack! I was pleased – although you may not be – that we managed to win a few quid on the site.

Nothing ground-shaking and that penthouse villa in Barbados is still a very, very long way off, sadly. But as the saying goes, little acorns make big trees.

Last week’s lay – Paint the Dream – was comfortably beaten at Newbury and we proudly sponsored the “Proud to be Welsh Day” at Ffos Las.

We were really pleased that so many of you could join us and despite there being quite a few bookie-friendly results, I hope you found a winner or two.

It was a great day showcasing all that is good in Welsh racing and even better to see Welsh jockeys pick up three of the races.

Two of them were by our sponsored jockey, Alan Johns. At prices of 20/1 and 9/1 you’d have thought I might have backed them . . . did I, heck!

Let me tell you about the life of a bookmaker in the week before Cheltenham.

Sleep doesn’t come easy, there are big decisions to be made and a feeling of rising excitement is constantly building.

Which horses to take on? How brave to be? And when is the best time to do so?

On paper, this year’s festival may be lacking a few superstars – Constitution Hill, exempted. But you can be sure by about this time next week new ones will have been forged.

Galopin des Champs could be absolutely anything and I suggest keeping an eye on the site for the daily DragonBoosts which will really tell you the horses I want to take on.

Alongside the excitement comes the fear, though. It’s our first Cheltenham online and I know from my days on track that the liabilities will eclipse everything else we do several times over.

The missus has already ordered me away from the house for the week because she can’t stand my fretting.

But this is why we’re in the game. The tension, the risk versus reward, the chance to back our opinion, celebrate when we’re right and dust ourselves off when we’re wrong. I can’t wait!!

Before that, though, I’ll be pitching up at Hereford on Saturday and we’ve got our Cheltenham Preview night on Friday, so I’m hoping that our star guest, Harry Findlay, doesn’t lead me too far astray the night before.

I’ve said it before, but my winning record at Hereford is pretty awful, so I’ll do my best not to get too carried away.

If you are having a bet at Hereford, and you like backing favourites, here’s a tip for you. Back the favs in the handicap hurdles.

They seem to show a profit every year and I know because I’m usually on the wrong end of them.

There’s three to be run on Saturday at 3.05, 4.15 and 4.50.

So that’s it this week. I hope it’s a good one for you and I hope Cheltenham is everything we all wish it to be.

Let’s battle!

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