Cheltenham Festival

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15 Mar 24 22:11
Date Joined: 16 Feb 03
| Topic/replies: 6,781 | Blogger: unclepuncle's blog
Another festival done and dusted with plenty of fallout regarding competition, crowd sizes etc.
The racing itself was OK with a few great performances, some underwhelming Grade 1's and the usual fiendishly difficult handicaps

The rain that has affected the whole season continued to fall and soft/heavy going was the order of the day, especially so on Tuesday and Friday.


Galopin Des Champs won a second Gold Cup with relative ease - a loose horse being his main worry. Perhaps not as impressive as last year but the going meant that was always going to be difficult.
Gerri Colombe got his ground and finished much closer than he had at Leopardstown, but hard to see him ever winning a Gold Cup.
Fastorslow unseated the jockey before we found out if he would stay in the ground while L'homme Presse patently didn't stay.
Corach Rambler was ridden to pick up the pieces which he did nicely and he should have a blinding chance of winning back to back Grand Nationals.

The Ryanair looked very competitive beforehand and Protektorat ran out a good winner, finding more than Envoi Allen after the last. With Conflated coming 3rd this was a race for the old established chasers. The 2 1/2m division looks ripe for an upcoming novice to take it by storm but the lure of the Gold Cup may mean it will be a similar story next year.

The Champion Chase looked weak even before Jonbon was a late withdrawal. Should have been a penalty kick for El Fabiolo but he managed to mess it up with some shocking jumping. The QM does seem to be a race where hot favourites bomb out - Kauto Star and Shishkin for example. Hopefully Gaelic Warrior is aimed at it but with Energumene to come back and El Fabiolo the usual Mullins mind games with running plans will no doubt make it impossible to have an ante post bet.Cry

Novice Chasers

Gaelic Warrior was an impressive winner of the Arkle though whether he stays at 2m or steps up will be anyones guess. The worry about going right handed was massively overplayed and if he hadn't run at the DRF he'd surely have been an odds on shot.

Fact To File won the Brown Advisory as expected though not sure he fully lived up to some of the pre-race hype. It wasn't a strong looking race and with Stay Away Fay bombing out it was hardly as thrilling as the French horse who won on King George day.
I've put Giovinco in my notebook with a view to next years Hennessy, though I expect he may run at Aintree or Ayr later this season.

Grey Dawning was a worthy winner of the Turners and may be able to compete at the top table, though the rest of the field look like handicappers.

Two impressive performances in the National Hunt and Kim Muir by Corbetts Cross and Inothewayurthinkin respectively - wonder how much JP had on the double??


With Constitution Hill ruled out the Champion Hurdle was a damb squib. Statesman won as expected but imo didn't even run as well as last year. A top form CH would have won by 10L+ on the snaff.
Irish Point ran well but with the owner/trainer having Teahupoo maybe they will go chasing with him next season.

Teahupoo was punted off the boards for the Stayers in the last 48 hours and won well enough. Presumably he'll follow the same path, one run and then put away, next year and will be hard to beat.

Lossiemouth was super impressive in the Mares and imo would have won the CH. She should be aimed at it next year, and given Stateman is likely to run in all the same Irish Grade 1's as he has for the last two years maybe she will come over here, especially if Constitution Hill doesn't return.

Novice Hurdlers

Slade Steel was switched to the Supreme to avoid Ballyburn and the rain came to help him as he outstayed Mystical Power after getting headed at the last. He travelled and jumped well and is clearly effective at 2m but not sure he's up to Champion Hurdle class.
He's already won a point so chasing presumably beckons next season - though Arkle or Turners?
Mystical Power is bred in the purple and I assume he'll definitely stay over the smaller obstacles, though maybe he'll be seen on the flat this summer?

Ballyburn won the Gallagher as he liked and is clearly the best novice around. Having said that it was a very weak race with a 66/1 shot in second. His main rival Ile Atlantique was behind Readin Tommy Wrong last time and he bombed out in the Albert Bartlett so that form looks very weak.
While he clearly has the world at his feet the same was being said last year about Impaire Et Passe who don't forget thrashed Gaelic Warrior.

The Albert Bartlett did it's usual thing of throwing up a big price winner - not that it was a shock to me.Laugh As I pointed out on last years thread being a 3m point winner was a key stat.
Sure there will be plenty of nice chasers of the future among the beaten horses and can certainly see the second horse The Jukebox Man being one of the top UK novice chasers next year.

The Mares novice hurdle was made a two horse race between Mullins and Elliot but instead it was the UK trained Golden Ace who won - and one has to wonder how Dysart Enos would have got on but for a last minute injury, given she had thrashed the winner in the Aintree bumper last year. Not sure the winner will have the stamina for the extra half mile of the Mares next year.


In a sign of the times the first seven home were trained by Mullins (4) and Elliot (3) and it was 5l back to the 8th.
The winner Jasmin De Vaux is tiny but has won a point so should train on.
While I'm sure plenty of winners will come out of the race it's interesting to note that the last three Supreme and last two Gallagher winners did not run in the Festival Bumper.
The race was missing the antepost favourite Jeroboam Machin who won the DRF bumper - though the form of that win was let down by those that did run from that race.

I'll look at the ante post betting for next year over the next few days and see if I think there is any value. The novice races in particular are getting nigh on impossible to bet in due to the multitude of options.Cry

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Replies: 25
When: 15 Mar 24 22:35
Very interesting uncle, not entirely in agreement but so what ? hope you are healthy and well.
When: 15 Mar 24 23:04
Nice work Uncle, a fitting postscript to the last and opening salvo to the next. At a quick glance the first price that I took a second look at and of course with lots and lots of things having to fall the right way was Sir Gino at 33/1 for the CH.

The impression he made still stands with his non participation this week, on trials day he and Lossiemouth were equally impressive, you have to take anything that Henderson says with a pinch, well no, a bucket of salt but I heard him say something along the lines of Sir Gino still having a lot of hurdling ahead of him, I don't know, the 33.s just suggests that he's guaranteed to go chasing and I don't know if that is decided yet, the disparity between him and Lossies price is just so big IMO.

I've had a speculative £20 at 33/1, first bet for next season.Happy
When: 16 Mar 24 08:04
No problem with people disagreeing with me Irishone, I do get it wrong occasionally.Laugh and it takes two opinions to make a market.
Health is currently good thanks for asking.Happy

Good luck with your Sir Gino bet duffy - will all hinge on whether Constitution Hill comes back as good as ever. I did say on the 2024 thread that Sir Gino looked a great Arkle prospect for next year.
The Sawyer
When: 16 Mar 24 09:38
Nice write up uncle.

Looking forward to your early antepost thoughts again.

As Irishone said, hope you are healthy and well.
When: 16 Mar 24 11:08
As we saw this year backing antepost in the novice races is a minefield.

I thought Romeo Coolio might be the one to take from the bumper but a best price 14/1 for the Gallagher is pathetic.
I’ll also keep an eye on The Yellow Clay who is at least 50/1 for the Supreme.
When: 16 Mar 24 11:30
Great write up as always Uncle, thank you. I'm struggling to see an antepost bet at this stage, mostly for the reasons you set out. However, I haven't had a winner from a bet I placed before Christmas in the last two years, so maybe that's no bad thing (despite plenty of shorteners).

One place I would disagree with you (though only a little) is Ballyburn. While the Gallaghers itself looks weak, his DRF formline stacks up extremely well - there, he easily beat the Supreme winner Slade Steel, who was well clear of the third (County Hurdle winner in fourth). Earlier in the season, Slade Steel beat the Albert Bartlett winner and the Martin Pipe winner. So it's possible to take a very favourable view of Ballyburn.

The problem re an antepost bet is that I imagine both he and Slade Steel will go novice chasing, and SS will run in the novice chase that B doesn't....
When: 16 Mar 24 14:20
Yeah, we're still guessing a fortnight before the festival let alone with 52 weeks to go.Laugh
When: 16 Mar 24 23:32
The best antepost is the novice winners to the full graded races,at least some form to assess
When: 17 Mar 24 18:26
Thanks Uncle. I like this thread each year.

Also good to hear that you're keeping well at the moment.
When: 18 Mar 24 01:04
does anyone have the access to this article and care to share?

When: 18 Mar 24 12:15
Well done Uncle. Very good write up again. Next year could be a stellar year if horses go where they are expected.

Just back from another 4 days in Cheltenham. This year was by far the best experience I’ve ever had going as we tweaked getting mini buses and taxis to the course…..thank god Crazy

I really strongly recommend attending if your circumstances allow you to. I’ve seen crazy prices in the media and I’m sure the figures are correct. We do it 5* for a fraction if you know what your doing and how to do it.
We stay in a house 15mins from Cheltenham and arrange taxi to Railway Station to catch direct bus for £6 return. We start queuing at 10am and get table in the members area which include best seats opposite winning line. We then get bus back to Railway station and get collected by taxi 6.45 back to house or pub/restaurant. I do 4 days for just over £1,100 and we had 8 guys do 2 days each for £600.
No carparks, no walking, easy transportation. Drink and food is little high but that depends on how much you want.
PM me if anyone wants more information as I think we have it cracked after 10 years Cool
When: 20 Mar 24 04:01
Well done.
When: 20 Mar 24 19:17
I've backed Majborough for the RSA. Only bet so far.
When: 20 Mar 24 19:41
So your username is a smokescreen then.  Laugh
Good luck.
When: 20 Mar 24 21:36
Ha ha
When: 13 Apr 24 08:22
Given what Gerri did in the Bowl and the lack-lustre performance of Shishkin I think 3/1 for Galopin Des Champ could be value personified - show of no-show at Punchestown - assuming he shows up next March here.
When: 29 Apr 24 10:07
Well Aintree went pretty much according to script with most of the Grade 1's being won by the favourites and the Cheltenham form holding up exceptionally well.

Perhaps the most impressive individual winner was Brighterdaysahead who beat the boys and clearly relished the step back up to 2 1/2m. An obvious contender for the Mares Hurdle (5/1 best price) if she stays over the smaller obstacles but she may go chasing.

Punchestown starts tomorrow and the going is currently good to yielding but there is a fair bit of rain forecast on Tuesday morning and then showers later in the week.

There is a cracking race for the 2m Novice hurdle with the first four from the Supreme all engaged. Mystical Power and Firefox have run in the interim at Aintree where the Cheltenham form was confirmed, though only narrowly.
While Firefox has been a little disappointing since beating the mighty Ballyburn he does seem to prefer going right handed and at 7/1 or bigger he might be worth a small bet to reverse the placings with Slade Steel (will need the rain to come) and Mystical Power (who won't want too much rain).

The Champion Chase looks a damp squib but the 3m Novice Chase sees Montys Pass take on Spillanes Tower which should be informative, for the future paths of those horses and as a barometer to the form of  Fact To File.

On Wednesday the Gold Cup should see Galloping Des Champs take on Fastorslow again and I will not be surprised if we get the same result as last year.
Sadly Shishkin won't be there after the dreadful news yesterday.Sad
When: 29 Apr 24 15:26
I'm interested to see how Ballyburn gets on later in the week - the Gallaghers is one race where the Cheltenham form was made to look poor at Aintree, albeit horses that BB beat easily.

Meanwhile, the Grade 1 3 mile novice chase looks a poor race, as did the equivalent at Aintree - that division could be exceptionally weak this year. I re-watched the Brown Advisory the other day, and Fact to File was not impressive. Quotes of 4/1 for the Gold Cup are highway robbery - there are at least three, maybe four, McManus owned horses that I would prefer at this stage. The 2025 Gold Cup is reminding me a little of Best Mate's third - an aging champion still good enough to beat a bunch of uninspiring challengers.
When: 01 May 24 07:17
Well an interesting day at Punchestown with the Supreme form being franked, yet turned around at the same time.
For a horse who supposedly wants further Slade Steel travelled like a dream and was seemingly outstayed - he may also be better going left handed. Firefox ran much better going right handed and while he has the scope to make a lovely chaser I couldn't be backing him for Cheltenham. In fact I'd say Slade Steel at 12/1 may be a better Arkle bet.
Mystical Power is a strange one - clearly loves Punchestown and has a terrific finishing burst but he also races a bit lazily and jumps sketchily, he won't get away with that in a Champion against better horses.

The Champion Chase threw up a thrilling finish but those horses aren't fit to be mentioned in the same breath as Sprinter Sacre, Moscow Flyer etc.

The 3m Novice Chase delivered the expected close contest between Spillanes Tower and Montys Star with the former always going the better and winning fairly decisively. Montys Star ran a perfectly good race in second and I don't see it as a negative to the form of the RSA/Brown Advisory. having said that the third horse that day Giovinco was booked for second at best when sadly falling fatally at Aintree behind Inothewayyurthinkin so Fact To File does seem a bit hyped when you compare the Gold Cup prices.

The Bumper looks a strong renewal and I will look to take on Jasmin De Veux on better ground - he has an incredibly round action and is also very small so lacks the scope of some of these.
I'll throw some small change on The Yellow Clay at 25/1 and You Oughta Know at 40/1.
When: 02 May 24 07:17
As expected Fastorslow won at Punchestown again, though GDC ran another fine race so come Cheltenham he'll be fancied to reverse the form again. He's clearly not as happy at Punchestown and fails to get into a good jumping rhythm. Fastorslow won very well and at no point did he look like getting beat.
He clearly prefers going right handed and I just hope they aim at the King George though I doubt they will travel until Cheltenham
Would also be good if Mullins forgot about running GDC in the John Durkan again and instead came over for the Betfair Chase - again not going to happen.Sad

Also good to see my bumper analysis work out. - the favourite was the first beat. Was very pleased with the run of The Yellow Clay and having mentioned him up thread as my early fancy for the Supreme I've backed him at 55 on here (still some available).
I expect Gordon Elliott is already plotting a route to the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse.Excited

Nothing much of interest today - Gaelic Warrior and Teauphoo should win the Grade 1's and the rest of the card looks pretty poor. The bumper has a few nice prospects in it and Samyr in particular was very eye-catching on debut.
When: 03 May 24 07:23
A comfortable win for Teahupoo despite the ground being faster than he would like. Will only be 8 next year so should be improving, so unless the French horse Theleme is something special, and actually turns up, then he looks nailed on to win another Stayers (a good race for repeat winners) and the 3/1 looks way too big so have played accordingly to max stakes.

Gaelic Warrior was disappointing though the winner is a cracking little horse. Though where this leaves the 2025 Champion Chase is anyones guess.
After Aintree it looked for all the world that Jonbon would be stepping up in trip, maybe even targeting a King George (especially with the sad death of Shiskin) but after winning at Sandown and Gaelic Warrior fluffing his lines he is now favourite. Il Etait Temps doesn't seem quick enough for 2m on the Old Course.
Captain Guinness is 30 on here which seems generous - will be 10 next year which is a bit off-putting but at least you know this is his aim.
When: 04 May 24 19:41
Well the last two days of Punchestown were the usual Mullins / Townshend fest though neither Stateman or Ballyburn were desperately impressive. Lossiemouth won easily but didn’t have to be near her best.
Kargese got a deserved win the juvenile hurdle and like Il Etait Temps is a splendid animal.

If you read my 2024 thread you’ll know I put up Chapeau Du Soleil as an interesting one - although not up to winning, or even running, in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham I’m glad to say I didn’t desert him dropped into his first handicap,Cool
When: 05 May 24 21:47
Do you think Ballyburn will go novice chasing now? Did not look a champion hurdle type this week. I can see Il Etait Temps going to the Ryanair, but he seems to not like Cheltenham particularly. Hopefully that means he'll continue to be overpriced when he runs elsewhere.
When: 08 May 24 16:45
I expect he will go chasing.
Very similar novice credentials to Impaire Et Passé who was also unimpressive at Punchestown after looking a machine at Cheltenham.
They tried to make him a Champion hurdler and that didn’t work out.
When: 25 Jun 24 10:13
Renewed memberships and bought seats all 4 days of Festival. Might be June but getting excited Laugh
Still backing Brighterdaysahead every week at 5/1 for small stakes now 10/1 is well and truly gone.

Discounted tickets at moment if anyone is definitely going.
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