Cheltenham 2024 Bankers or Bust – Which Favourites Should be Taken on?

Cheltenham Gold Cup tips

We asked our Cheltenham tipster Adam O’Brien to run through the short priced favourites for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival and tell us whether they should be backed, or taken on.

With the shock news that Constitution Hill will not run in the Champion Hurdle, we still have a short priced favourite in the race with State Man around 1/3 and he forms part of our Cheltenham bankers or bust tips below.

Cheltenham always provides some shocks and short priced favourites beaten, but who are the ones to avoid this year?


Stateman – Champion Hurdle

Even now with Constitution Hill out, I think the Champion Hurdle still has the same predictability about it with State Man now holding the odds on and certainty tag. I believe the gap between State Man and his rivals is similar to the gap the reigning champion had over the whole division and even with a couple of new contenders to take him on (Iberico Lord supplemented and Irish Point now likely to come here), State Man is just a far superior horse and the perfect Champion Hurdle candidate now we won’t see Constitution Hill line up. State Man has an incredible 8 grade 1s and will add a 9th to that on the biggest stage possible by winning the Champion Hurdle

Verdict: Banker


Lossiemouth – Mares Hurdle

As things stand (unless a late and unexpected defection happens) Lossiemouth is bound for the Mares Hurdle and looks banker material. She’s the classiest horse in the race and even though only 5 years old, she looks to be ahead of these other mares. The winner of last year’s triumph will be stepping up to 2m4 for the first time and there are plenty out there willing to take her on due to reservations on the trip. I too had doubts about her and the trip in the early part of the season, but she blew me away on trials day in January. That was over 2m1 and she wasn’t stopping at the line, in fact she was pulling further away. So, a trip only 3f further wouldn’t worry me at all based on that performance. Apart from Ashroe Diamond, I can’t see who beats her. Gala Marceau disappointed last time and only strengthened the favourites chances. I can’t see how she doesn’t win

Verdict: Banker

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Fact to File – Brown Advisory

The toughest one to decide on was Fact to File. Sent straight over fences from a bumper campaign he has been all the rage at preview evenings on both sides of the sea over the last couple of weeks. Everyone at Closutton adores him and thinks he’s a star and it’s hard to ignore those vibes. But on all known form and price, I’m happy to take him on. He was impressive when beating (and breaking) Gaelic Warrior in a match over 2m5 at the DRF. Despite coming home alone, he set the time gurus alight but the figure he showed. That race pushed him to the top of the Brown Advisory and Turners betting and he’s only shortened since. I believe the right trip for him (currently) would be the 2 ½ miles of the Turners so I’m happy to take him on at Cheltenham (where he hung slightly right in last year’s bumper) over a trip over 3m on what looks like being soft ground. It might be that only 6-8 runners go to post here but he does have good opposition to beat. Broadway Boy taking his chance will mean we will get a truly run race and it might be that others are staying on up the hill better than him. It’s a tough one but he’s one I’m not 100% convinced on.

Verdict: Take on


El Fabiolo – Champion Chase

Like Lossiemouth, the more time has gone on, the more I think El Fabiolo is a certainty. He put Jonbon in his place in last year’s Arkle and the gap between them has seemed to grow throughout the season. We didn’t get to see them clash in the Clarence House in January, but I believe that saved Jonbon from another demolition from his rival. Jonbon disappointed in the rearranged race at Cheltenham where he couldn’t get the better of Elixir De Nutz. His jumping was awful that day and a recent video of him schooling at home on Social Media wouldn’t fill you with any confidence of him turning around last year’s defeat. Edwardstone came back to form at Newbury last time out and adds another dimension to the race. He could play a part in this and if he front runs again like he did in the Game Spirit then he could really ask questions of El Fabiolo. I think any questions asked will be batted away though and he would prefer a strong pace. He is a machine and if he gets round, he will take all the beating.

Verdict: Banker


Teahupoo – Stayers Hurdle

With the likely defect of owner/stablemate Irish Point to the Champion Hurdle, Teahupoo’s chances have improved in the stayers and he’s the most likely winner of the race at this point. 3rd in the race last year, he returns as a 7-year-old and better & stronger than last year. He’s been off since November and with his record being impeccable on the back of 50 days off or more, he’s difficult to take on. But taking him on is what I am going to do. The ground is still a question mark for this horse, and I don’t want to take a short price for a horse that is quite ground-dependent. I like the chances of Noble Yeats following his win in the Cleeve hurdle on trials day and I also think Home by the Lee will run a better race this year than last. Crambo is the up-and-coming horse and comes here fresh, on the back of the grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle win. I think there’s enough there to take him on and he might even go off shorter than he currently is which makes taking him on even more appealing.

Verdict: Take on

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Brighterdaysahead – Mares Novice Hurdle

Everyone from Cullentra thinks the world of this mare and she could in fact be a superstar but I’ll be happy to take her on, on the day. She’s been backed over the last couple of weeks like we will be watching the reply of this race next Thursday and not the live version. Confidence is clearly high from all connections and everything she has shown on the course has been good. However, I think she’s got 2 very good mares to take on and try to get the better of and I’m surprised how short she is currently. Jade De Grugy also has her own fanbase and she’s been impressive on her only 2 starts this season. I’m sure there is still improvement to come from her and I fancy her to get the better of the (current) favourite. Dysart Enos shouldn’t be forgotten about either and if Jade De Grugy disappoints then Brighterdaysahead will still have another good one to get by to win this. I’ll be happy to take the fav on with 2 good mares running for me.

Verdict: Take on


Sir Gino – Triumph Hurdle

I absolutely loved Sir Gino’s 2 winning performances this season and he is the right favourite for the Triumph. He was very impressive on trials day when easily despatching Burdett Road and charging up the hill. There could be even further improvement to come and it could be that he’s a star and far better than all the Irish form has to offer but I’m going to take him on. He’s very short and based on current prices, I’m happy to lay him. 4-year-olds are difficult to get a hold of and often you see vast improvements in many from race to race. For that reason, I think there’s a good chance 3/4 of the Irish horses will come on from the main trial for the race, the spring juvenile at the DRF. I will have lots of horses running for me here and it’s possible that 1 or 2 have the same star potential as Sir Gino. Obviously, trainer form is also a worry with the Henderson stable on the back foot with Constitution Hill out of Cheltenham and many horses being pulled up over the last 10 days

Verdict: Take on


Galopin Des Champs – Gold Cup

Galopin Des Champs is some horse and I fully expect him to win this and give Paul Townend his 4th win in the race (Read my in-depth look at the Cheltenham Gold Cup here). A Gold Cup isn’t easy to win and there are several good horses he has to get the better of to defend his crown, but I believe he is way ahead of them and if he turns up and runs his race then it will take something special for him to get beaten. He ticks every box, has a great mix of speed and stamina and can be versatile during his races. It’s not easy to be very bullish in a Gold Cup filled with good horses but that’s how highly I rate him and I think he wins this by blowing them all away.

Verdict: Banker


Dinoblue – Mares Chase

Last seen chasing home El Fabiolo at the DRF, Dinoblue will be returning to Mares only company for the first time in 13 months having raced 6 times against the boys in handicaps and graded races. She has improved throughout the last 12 months and looks certain to go off odds on here. She’s the classy and improver in the field and although she’s been running over 2 miles for the majority of her career, I see no worries with the step up in trip to 2m4. There will be the same question marks on her stamina like there are on Lossiemouth’s, but I expect her to handle the further distance and come home in front. There are horses taking her on who will give her something to think about and can’t be dismissed too quickly but I think Dinoblue is just better than them and will be too good for them.

Verdict: Banker

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