Racing fans up and down the country will be sweeping through the Cheltenham entries picking out their fancies for the Festival, not just for their Placepot but for the Tote’s brand new Ten To Follow Mini Game.
The premise is simple - pick 10 horses to score you the most points during the four fantastic days in Gloucestershire, and battle it out for a share of the cash pool.
The paid competition is just £5 to play, providing you with plenty of opportunities to cheer your charges home.
Here are our top five tips to get the best of our Ten To Follow Cheltenham Mini Game...
Focus on the Bonus Races
You don’t necessarily need to restrict your stable to horses running in our eight Bonus Races, but failure to win at least three or four of them is unlikely to be enough to win the overall competition.
There are at least 50 points up for grabs in seven contests, while the County Hurdle’s 40 point starting position is likely to be boosted by a bigger winning dividend.
If the competition had been run last season all eight horses would have made it into the ultimate Cheltenham Ten To Follow stable. The likes of Envoi Allen, Concertista and Monkfish may look like 25 easy points, but just remember that figure will be no more than half of the returns of the Champion Hurdle, Gold Cup or Stayers’ Hurdle.
Don’t be frightened to double-up
On a similar thought, although it may seem a waste to include two horses in the same race, picking two horses to run for you in a bonus race isn’t the worst tactic.
Can’t split Shishkin and Energumene in the opening bonus contest of the week? Don’t feel like you have to - should they come home first and second as many punters expect, there’ll be a minimum of 62 points heading your way thanks to the 12 bonus points going to the runner-up.
Having an extra runner in one or two of the races, preferably the bonus races isn’t unwise, just don’t spread your stable too thinly.
You don’t have to be too different
Of course winning the competition will be all about the fine margins; it could be one horse that the winner has chosen that those in the chasing pack have neglected, or an inspired handicap choice. However, there’s no need to go too far out there with your picks.
For example in the overall competition, Honeysuckle is the fourth most popular horse in the game, featuring in nearly 19,000 stables. One might think it’s worth going against the grain and using that slot for another runner, but for all she’s popular, she’s the top scoring horse in the game.
Anyone that has tried to be clever with their picks are currently worse off than those who went with the grain. It’ll be the same for the Cheltenham competition - don’t miss out on easy points for the sake of being clever.
But do think about those tight calls
If you’re of the opinion that you don’t want to double up in some races, a hard decision is likely to be thrust upon your shoulders.
Do you side with Shishkin or Energumene? Honeysuckle or Epatante? Paisley Park or Thyme Hill? If you believe the two are too close to call, it might be ‘value’ to side with the horse you think will be picked less.
While his rise to the top has been rapid, Energumene only represents 44 stables in the overall competition, and although he’ll undoubtedly be more popular in the Festival Mini Game, he’s likely to have less fans than Shishkin - picked by 55% of season-long stables.
Of the other aforementioned tight calls, Epatante is in 22% more stables than Honeysuckle, while Paisley Park was picked by 25% more players than Thyme Hill at the start of the season.
Remember your free game entry
Our cash prize will be the big draw to many Ten To Follow stables, but remember as well as the £5 game, every player is entitled to one stable in our free competition.
We’ve got four fantastic prizes for the competition, from annual Cheltenham memberships to hospitality at Leopardstown, so it’s well worth taking your chance in the free to play game.
In the event of a dead heat, the winner will be the stable that is entered soonest. Not got your line-up set yet? Fear not, you can make as many changes as you like up until the closing date of 10pm on Monday 15th March.
Have you created your Tote Ten To Follow Cheltenham Mini Game stable?
Take part in our cash competition for £5 or play the free game for a chance to land some special prizes.
Entries are open now, with players able to make changes to their stables up until 10pm on Monday 15th March. Remember, in the event of a dead heat the stable entered earliest will be declared the winner.