Yates Expectations | 

Ivan Yates set to kick-off Cheltenham shows on Virgin Media and here are his tips

We sat down with racing fanatic Yates to get his verdict on the big contenders and he picked out a couple of outsiders to look out for.

Ivan Yates

Kevin Palmer

Ivan Yates is set to return to the Virgin Media Two with a week of special Cheltenham Festival shows and he has told sundayworld.com that this year's racing jamboree may be the best of all-time.

After the Covid pandemic ensured the stands were empty for the 2021 edition of the Festival, the famous Cheltenham roar will be heard once again as fans return this week.

We sat down with racing fanatic Yates to get his verdict on the big contenders and he picked out a couple of outsiders to look out for.

Yet while picking the outsiders for success at Cheltenham is a tricky task, one horse rises to the top as the banker for this week, with Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle an unbeatable combination.

"She is 14 out of 14 and the things that makes her unbeatable is that it's going to be softer ground on the Tuesday," Yates told us. "I don't see anything getting close to her.

"If you digest the only dark horse in the race that she hasn't beaten is Appreciate It and the two Grade 1's he ran beat horses that haven't gone on to do anything in Ballyadam and For Pleasure.

"I don't think Appreciate It has the entitlement to win the race so I think she (Honeysuckle) is an absolute banker."

Yates has backed Honeysuckle, Shishkin and Allaho as his bankers for Cheltenham, with Tornado Flyer is outsider to watch in the Gold Cup on Friday.

"If you look back at the Ryanair last year, he was staying on at the end," he says of the horse that is currently 12/1 for the Gold Cup with Paddy Power.

"At 10/1 or 12/1, you are taking a risk on it, but I think he's very fresh. He wouldn't be running him in this race unless he has a chance.

"Another one I'm looking forward to is Facile Vega (5/4) in the Champion Bumper as well. I really think the world of this young horse, but looking for each way bets at Cheltenham is tough because it's the best against the very best.

"If you are not the best and looking for excuses, you can be very disappointed at Cheltenham."

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Watch ‘The Green Room Cheltenham Special’ Monday 14th to Friday 18th March at 11pm On Virgin Media Two.

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