Cheltenham Festival 2024 The Best of the Home Team

Cheltenham Festival 2024: The Best of the Home Team

It’s almost that time of year again, with the 2024 Cheltenham Festival now hurtling towards punters like an express train. Four days of the finest National Hunt action known to man is enough to whet the appetites of racing lovers and set the betting juices flowing. With the action kicking off on 12 March, betting plans are well underway as fans flock to the best Racing Betting Sites to assess the latest odds and the top blogs for the list tips and previews.

Whatever unfolds at Cheltenham 2024, most accept that the overwhelming squadron of Irish raiders will depart clutching a significant chunk of the prize money, with many predicting that a Willie Mullins team led by Galopin Des Champs could be in for a record-breaking year. However, it isn’t all about the Irish – the meeting does take place in England, after all, and here we present a quintet of challengers who look well placed to ensure that Ireland doesn’t steal all the glory.

Constitution Hill – Unibet Champion Hurdle

If the home team claim the top spot in one of the four Championship level events, it will surely happen in the opening day highlight of the Champion Hurdle. Five of the first seven in the betting hail from the Emerald Isle, but Nicky Henderson is responsible for the overwhelming favourite in the shape of the freak of nature that is Constitution Hill.

Unbeaten in eight starts under rules – including seven wins in Grade 1 company – he was nine lengths too good for his main market rival, State Man, in the 2023 edition of this and looked to retain all of his sparkle when slamming the field in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.  

Sir Gino – JCB Triumph Hurdle

Sticking with the two-mile contests and runners from the yard of Nicky Henderson, the Seven Barrows maestro may also have this Day 4 event for the four-year-olds at his mercy.

The Likes of Kargese, Salver, and Burdett Road have all impressed this season, but few juveniles have dazzled quite like Sir Gino. Impressing when landing a Listed event in France, this Mrs J Donnelly-owned runner has proven that win was no fluke with back-to-back successes at Kempton at Cheltenham. The latter of those – a Grade 2 Trial for this race – had looked competitive on paper, only for Sir Gino to turn it into a 10-length procession. Henderson already has seven Triumph wins to his name – by the end of this year’s meeting, that number may stand at eight.

Ginny’s Destiny – Turners’ Novices’ Chase

Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls may not be quite the force of Nicky Henderson or Willie Mullins at racing’s flagship feature – at least not in recent years – but has 48 Festival wins and will have an eye on reaching 50 this year.

Twice in the winner’s enclosure in 2023, courtesy of Stay Away Fay in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and Stage Star in the Turners’ Novices’ Chase, it is once again those two events where Nicholls looks to boast the strongest claims. Captain Teague is not to be dismissed in the Albert Bartlett, but Turners’ hope, Ginny’s Destiny, arrives as the yard’s best chance on paper. Already a three-time winner over course and distance, this son of star flat performer Yeats goes about his business in much the same way as the front-running Stage Star and may be up to defending his stablemate’s crown.

Dysart Enos – Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

With no fewer than 19 last-time-out winners amongst the current entries, this Day 3 event for the mares is building up to be a firecracker. Amongst those arriving on the back of a success, the unbeaten duo of Brighterdaysahead and Jade De Grugy – hailing from the yards of Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins – have predictably made their way to the head of the market.

Sitting just behind the Irish duo is Fergal O’Brien’s Dysart Enos. A perfect six from six under rules, this daughter of Malinas announced herself as a star when scorching to a nine-length win in a Grade 2 at the 2023 Grand National Meeting. Fast forward to this season, and she has added three lower key wins – by a combined 17¼l to her CV – including a course and distance success in December. Significantly, unlike the first two in the market, she avoids a 5lb penalty and rates a major threat to all.

Crambo – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle

Unlike Henderson and Nicholls, Fergal O’Brien is yet to taste Cheltenham Festival success, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Gloucestershire handler will boost that tally to two in 2024.

O’Brien’s first big chance comes just over an hour before Dysart Enos sets off, as Crambo goes for glory in the Day 3 highlight. Long held in the highest regard by his trainer, Crambo claimed the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle last time out and arrives as one of the most upwardly mobile contenders in a field containing old favourites Paisley Park, Noble Yeats, Flooring Porter, Sire Du Berlais, Dashel Drasher and Champ.

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