THERE are very few sports events in the world where people invest an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to predict their outcomes many months in advance. But that’s the Cheltenham Festival for you.

It’s difficult to pick winners at the most competitive racing festival in the world when you actually know which race your horse will run in, the state of the going on the day, the full field in the race and the most recent form of each of the runners. So longterm bets really are the ultimate shot in the dark.