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Who to Watch For at 2024 Cheltenham Festival Races

Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival is a four-day racing event held in March every year and is seen as the premier jumps racing meet in the UK. The festival dates back to 1860 and has hosted many champion jumpers over its rich history. This year’s festival runs from March 12 to 15. Last Word on Sports brings you all you need to know about the 2024 edition.

What Are The Major Races

The festival has recently increased the number of races to 28 over the four-day period, with 14 of them being grade 1 standard. But each day has its feature race. The first feature is the Unibet Champion Hurdle, a two-mile grade 1 race. Wednesday hosts another two-mile race, the Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase. The penultimate day plays host to two features, RyanAir Steeple Chase and the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle. 

The final day is highlighted by the premier race of the festival, The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup. A three-mile and two-furlong race that has its 100th running in 2024.

Who To Keep An Eye On

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Unlike many other festivals in the UK, Cheltenham does not attract many international ‘raiders’ apart from those crossing the Irish Sea. Due to the number of Irish trainers bringing their horses over a rivalry has begun, now formalised in the form of the Prestbury Cup. It is awarded to the nation with the most winners throughout the festival. The 2023 edition saw Ireland take it home with an emphatic 18-10 victory over Great Britain. The British have not been able to take home the cup since 2015 and are heavy underdogs for this year’s edition.

Willie Mullins has been the top trainer at Cheltenham for the past decade. He has been the leading trainer for eight of the last ten years. The Irishman has 94 wins over his career at this festival and will be looking to break the century in 2024. He also has three of the last five Gold Cup victories and has Galopin Des Champs in the feature this year, a 5/4 ($2.25 / +125) favourite. Some important Cheltenham day 3 tips will help punters make good on their wager.

Champion jockey Paul Townsend is the man everyone wants riding their horse. The Irishman has been the top jockey for three of the last four years and has been at the top of all of Mullins Gold Cup victories. He is the go-to jockey for the stable, the dynamic duo could again be the top performers this year.

Key Horses In The Festival

Cheltenham Festival shows off the premier jumps horses in the UK and Ireland. The aforementioned Galopin Des Champs goes up against rival Fastorslow in the Gold Cup. The horses have faced off three times over the last year with the latter coming out on top twice. The Martin Brassle-trained bay gelding is currently 5/1 ($6 / +500) and is tipped by many to stop a second straight Gold Cup victory for Galopin Des Champs.

The first feature race of the festival, the Unibet Champions Hurdle, is headlined by State Man. Currently a 4/11 ($1.36 / -275) favourite, the seven-year-old gelding is a part of the  Mullins/Townsend combo and could have no match in this race. It will look to win a race that has had five favourites win over the last decade.

The duo of Mullins and Townsend are also favoured in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase as they look to win it for the third year in a row. El Fabiolo has won in all of its six steeple chase races and punters have backed it as such. It is another seven-year-old gelding from the Irish stable and is priced at 8/15 ( $1.53 / -188). The horse is also currently favoured in the RyanAir Chase at 6/4 ( $2.5 / +150).

The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle is an 18-horse race headlined by a duo from Irish trainer Gordon Elliot. Teahupoo, priced at 2/1 ($3 / +200), and Irish Point, 9/2 ($5.50 / +450), lead the field in a race that has seen a 33-1 and 50-1 winner over the last five years. This race is relatively wide open and could be one to back a roughie.


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