Sometimes the best indicator for when a bet should be placed is when you know that the bookmakers don´t want you to place it. When the bookies are running scared from a particular horse, or from a particular market, there´s generally only one reason for it – they don´t think they can WIN!
One such market where all bar one bookmaker is running scared at the moment is the Top Jockey market at the Cheltenham Festival. In recent years most of the bookies have been offering each-way betting on this market, but with Ruby Walsh appearing to have such a stranglehold on the title again this year, the bookies are clearly reluctant to accommodate the each-way thieves and lay anything for a place.
I don´t particularly blame them because it does look ripe for the picking, but if someone is mug enough to offer up prices on a market that the others are running from, who am I to refuse their generosity!
The mug in question is SportingBet and they’re the only ones offering 1/5 the odds 1-2-3!
Of course, with the book of rides Ruby has for the Festival he deserves to be the hot favourite, but Cheltenham has a habit of coming up with the unexpected and it will only take a couple of mishaps, or a horse running below form, for the market to be turned on its head. On top of that, even if everything did happen to go to plan, someone has to finish in 2nd and 3rd place behind Walsh.
So an each-way play on one his competitors is definitely the route to take here, but finding the right one to oppose him with perhaps won´t prove to be quite as easy.
Barry Geraghty is the obvious alternative, but SportingBet are ducking him by only offering 10/3 when others are as high as 4/1. Tony McCoy is 3rd favourite at 6/1 and that´s the best price you´ll find with any of the bookmakers. Robert Thornton is a contender too, but again he´s short with SportingBet. The rest are much of a muchness with 33/1+ available on all of them in places.
If you fancy one of the longer priced jockeys I certainly wouldn´t attempt to put you off, especially as you´re practically guaranteed 6/1+ a place and 33/1 the win, but at the current odds I´m going to plump for the safer option and take Tony McCoy as my each-way play at 6/1. He´s got a nice book of rides and was uncharacteristically upbeat about his chance at the Festival when I saw him interviewed the other day, so he´s my sporting choice for this year´s top jockey.