The Cheltenham Festival brings together the best horses from around Europe. Although we do see French raiders on occasion, the Festival tends to be a fight between the British and Irish contingent. This year more than ever, it looks as though Ireland has a significant upper-hand.
With the likes of Monkfish, Envoi Allen and Al Boum Photo spearheading the Irish charge, the Prestbury Cup looks set to be a formality. Although the likes of Willie Mullins and Henry De Bromhead bring across strong teams, don’t forget the “smaller” yards too.
There are several horses flying in under the radar for this year’s Festival and they shouldn’t be overlooked, find them below! At the time of writing, the Lucky 15 pays £21,700 to a 50p each-way stake with William Hill.
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You Raised Me Up
Martin Brassil has his string in superb recent form and his biggest Cheltenham Festival hope arrives on a hat-trick. He made a winning return over two miles at Listowel in September, relishing a step up to 2m 3f at Naas last time in a novice event.
That form has worked out well since and stretching out to 2m 5f could bring out further improvement from this lightly-raced eight-year-old. He’s already proved he stays 2m 4f and his high cruising speed will see him in the perfect position in this big-field handicap. He sits on an exploitable mark and with conditions set to suit, he is potentially overpriced.
Chatham Street Lad
Tipped by our own Adrian Wall in his Cheltenham antepost series, this Mick Winters’ trained nine-year-old has been seriously overlooked in the market. Granted, he has to go up against Envoi Allen, but his best form puts him right in the frame.
He’ll arrive to Cheltenham having won two of his last three starts, impressively taking the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over course and distance for the latter success. He disappointed at Fairyhouse last time, but that was over 2m 1f and he’ll be much happier back up in trip. He evidently loves Cheltenham and back at the scene of his greatest triumph, a big run is surely on the cards.
It’s been a story of rapid progression this season for Gavin Cromwell’s charge. Starting the season rated just 131, he suffered defeat on seasonal return at Gowran Park, but he’s exploded into life since. Winning a Grade B event at Navan before Christmas in empathic style, he proved it was no fluke by making all in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle three weeks later.
He’s a horse with limitless potential and seemingly never-ending reserves of stamina. Making all in a Stayers’ Hurdle will be tough, but he’s an unexposed commodity and the sky really could be the limit.
This really would be the feel good story of the Festival if John Joseph Hanlon’s mare landed the Dawn Run. She was bought for just £600 at the 2019 Ascot Sales and has been a revelation since joining these connections. She’s won four of her eight starts over timber, including recent wins at both Grade 3 and Listed level.
On ratings, she doesn’t have much to find with her rivals and her profile is massively progressive. Further progress should be on the cards and at tempting each-way odds, there is plenty to like about her chances.