Cheltenham Festival 2023 Review & 2024 Pointers and 77/1 Ante-post Betting Tips

Cheltenham accumulator tips

Performance of the week – Galopin Des Champs

The Cheltenham Festival never fails to deliver exceptional performances, high-class racing and some incredible finishes. The 2023 Festival will surely go down as one of the greats in modern times. The opening day was quite simply magical.

Marine Nationale powered past Facile Vega in the first, before El Fabiolo kicked aside Jonbon in a fantastic renewal of the Arkle. Cheers of relief and delight went round Prestbury Park as Dysart Dynamo took to his feet after a tumble at the last, moments before the whole of Cheltenham held their breath. Constitution Hill stormed clear up the hill before that jump at the last. Whiskers away from jeopardy, he was over by a hair. He may be the new Champion Hurdler but last years winner would arguably steal the limelight. Honeysuckle did what Honeysuckle does best, win at the Cheltenham Festival. A perfect 4/4 and a fitting way to end an exceptional career. One of the golden hours in National Hunt Racing and scenes many punters will never forget.

Impaire Et Passe exploded onto the scene in the Ballymore, whilst Energumene and Delta Work successfully defending their crowns. Envoi Allen became the first horse ever to win the Champion Bumper, a graded hurdle and graded chase at the Cheltenham Festival with success in the Ryanair. Sire Du Berlais rolled back the years in the Stayers, whilst Lossiemouth confirmed she is the best juvenile hurdler of her generation in the Triumph. So many exceptional horses and fantastic performances, but none, in my opinion, came close to the blue-ribboned events itself.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the race in National Hunt Racing and this year’s renewal was a glorious one with a brilliant winner, Galopin Des Champs. Run at a frenetic gallop, Paul Townend gave Gallopin Des Champs an absolute peach. His jumping was far from fluent, but Townend kept him popping away off the pace before making a menacing move coming down the hill and turning for home. To come there cruising at the last and eyeball the current King George champ, Bravemansgame, was an incredible sight to behold. Two top class horses attacking and pinging the last, all set to do battle up the famous Cheltenham run in. That battle didn’t quite materialise as Galopin Des Champs incredibly extended away and was running away from Bravemansgame at the line. I thought it was an astonishing performance and one that puts him close to the likes of Kauto Star and Denman when it comes to exceptional Gold Cup winners.

WATCH: Galopin Des Champs wins the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup



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Ultima Handicap Chase – Oscar Elite

Corrach Rambler successfully defended his crown under another classy ride from Derek Fox. To my surprise he had the perfect trip round once again and was able to slice through the field late on. On the contrary, I don’t believe things went according to plan for Oscar Elite. Third in the race last year, Oscar Elite was ridden prominently and looked the winner turning for home. He was dropped in this time around, but I don’t believe it was the plan to be wide and all but last through most of the first circuit. Harry Cobden nursed his mount into contention, and he made up a huge about of ground to be right in contention turning for home. He ultimately faded late on, but he remains well treated off a mark of 139 and is surely capable of landing a valuable staying chase later this season or at some point next season.


Coral Cup – Bold Endeavour

This year’s Coral Cup went the way of team Skelton with the well-plotted Langer Dan. Camprond went down as an unlucky loser in most people’s books and there’s a fair chance Aiden Coleman went for home too soon. He remains a well-handicapped horse and is one to look out for at Aintree or Punchestown. Bold Endeavour finished fifth for De Boinville and Henderson and really caught my eye staying on strongly up the hill. Approaching the last Nico was far from busy in the saddle and Bold Endeavour was ultimately given a little too much to do. He was likely outpaced and the step up to three miles will certainly suit. He remains on a mark of 139 and looks well treated on chase form (rated 144). A flat three miles at Aintree could really suit and I will be keeping an eye out for him in the Grade 3 handicap on Grand National day.


Cross Country – Lieutenant Rocco

Delta Work successfully defeated stablemate Galvin in a thrilling finish to the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase. The pair pulled miles clear, but Syd Hosie’s Lieutenant Rocco caught my eye for a large part of the race before getting tired late on. Officially rated at least 30lbs inferior to both Galvin and Delta Work, I thought Lieutenant Rocco ran a huge race on his first try over the cross-country banks. He remains very well treated over the conventional fences, back down in trip, but he would also interest me in the handicaps over the cross-country course throughout next season. Previously rated as high as 143, Syd Hosie appears to of rejuvenated him and I think Lieutenant Rocco can win plenty of races going forward.


Grand Annual – Call Me Lyreen

My favourite handicap of the week didn’t disappoint with another thrilling renewal. Dinoblue deserves credit for absolutely clattering through the final two flights before plugging on gamely up the hill. She’s a talented mare and I suspect the best is yet to come. Beaten 25 lengths, Call Me Lyreen caught my eye finishing strongly up the Cheltenham run in. Its not often a horse finishes that far beaten but supposedly still full of running. To my eye he appears to get badly outpaced and will certainly appreciate the step back up in trip. He’s one ill be keeping an eye on should he appear over the intermediate trip over fences or hurdles.


Stayers Hurdle – Home By The Lee

I don’t believe this years Stayers Hurdle was a vintage renewal, but I do think Home By The Lee is the one to side with going forward. He made a huge mistake at the sixth and did well to stay in the race. He lost ground and will no doubt have completely ruined his rhythm. Subsequently beaten just under four lengths, he’s not far from being an unlucky loser. Underrated throughout the season, he will likely continue to be overpriced in the market and I think he may continue to offer excellent each way value in these staying grade 1 hurdles going forward.

WATCH: Sire Du Berlais pounces late in the 2023 Stayers Hurdle


Cheltenham Festival 2024 Pointers

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Novice Hurdlers for next season

A Dream To Share looks an exciting prospect for novice hurdlers next season but my initial thought after the race was to take on the Champion Bumper form going forward. Plenty of horses were extremely keen throughout and yet somehow lots of them were still there with a furlong to go. Followers of my twitter will know I enjoy a long rang dart and two horses I have already highlighted are Barry The Butcher and Ballyburn. The latter seriously impressed me in both his point to point and debut under rules, powerfully galloping away from some smart rivals despite being keen throughout. Ballyburn clearly possesses a huge engine and I get the feeling they rate him highly at Closutton. Barry The Butcher has been subject to plenty of hype this season, but he has yet to hit the track. His point-to-point form looks strong, and I loved the way he put the race to bed. We may see him in a Punchestown bumper, and I hope both him and Ballyburn could be very smart novice hurdlers next season.


Novice Chasers for next season

Marine Nationale sprinted away from Facile Vega in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, and he looks a very fast horse. Trainer Barry Connell has already confirmed chasing is the plan but like many novice hurdlers, his route next season could be determined by Constitution Hill remaining in the hurdle division or not. Facile Vega had no excuses, he was simply beaten by the better horse. He demonstrated enough speed to suggest 2 miles could be his trip next season but on breeding he’s entitled to improve for a step up in trip. The turners could be the long-term aim and he certainly has a chasing physique. It will be interesting to see if Willie keeps him at two miles for Punchestown or opts to go out in trip, with the option to bring Impaire Et Passe back down.

Willie Mullins awesome winner of the Ballymore will surely embark on a Champion Hurdle campaign should Constitution Hill go chasing. He demonstrated a frightening turn of foot, and his jumping is electric. Should connections send him chasing, he’s the one to beat in both the Arkle and Turners. Gaelic Warrior shaped as though a step up to three miles could suit. Willie has hinted chasing could be his game, but I was slightly concerned that Patrick mentioned on a few occasions that he believes he’ll be so much better right-handed. Good Land looked a picture in the pre parade ring, and I would expect him to go novice chasing. The Turners would appear the logical long-term target and connections will be hoping for better spring ground this time next year.

Stay Away Fay heads the market for next year’s Brown Advisory and will surely be a force to be reckoned with over fences. Nicholls is notoriously patient with his novice hurdlers, and I think he’ll have left plenty to work on for his novice chase campaign. He looks a nice price, given he would likely be half the odds if trained by Mr Mullins. Sandor Clegane will likely go over the larger obstacles and he’s the other horse I would have in the for front of my mind for next years Brown Advisory. He had a torrid time in the Albert Bartlett and was still able to stay on strongly up the hill. Corbetts Cross was subject to a big gamble and came there swinging turning for home. I think he was emptying when crashing through the wings at the last and he would interest me in the Turners market. He absolutely tanked through the race and travels with plenty of exuberance. It will be interesting to see if connections run him again this season, and over what trip.


Novice Chasers stepping into open company

El Fabiolo was a brilliant winner of this years Arkle and he’s certainly a huge threat to stablemate and dual Champion Chaser, Energumene. His jumping remains a slight concern and despite being clever with his feet, I just wonder if he will be able to bundle through fences in open company. Fingers crossed he can improve with experience as there’s no doubting his incredible engine. Jonbon didn’t appear to be at his best in the Arkle and connections have already suggested he will step up in trip at Aintree. Next years Ryanair could be his long-term target and an impressive performance at Aintree will no doubt see his odds significantly shorten. If you do like Jonbon for next year’s Ryanair, it could be worth getting on now.

Stage Star is another who will have next years Ryanair on his agenda having jumped beautifully to win the Turners. Mighty Potter and Appreciate It seriously disappointed but Stage Star confirmed himself as a dangerous horse when left alone on the front end. I wonder if he will get such an easy time of things in front in open company and he wouldn’t be one for me going forward.

This years Brown Advisory produced a cracking finish and both the winner, The Real Whacker, and runner up, Gerri Colombe, are interesting horses going forward. The Real Whacker is a magnificent jumper and connections have already earmarked next years Gold Cup as his long-term target. Despite winning a Brown Advisory, I’m not totally convinced he’s a three miler and he’s actually one that really interests me for next year’s Ryanair. I could see him getting outstayed in some of the top three-mile chases next winter and as a result his price will go out for Cheltenham targets. He could be one to watch out for at a big price, if his season goes how I think it will. On the contrary, Gerri Colombe looks as though he is crying out for the Gold Cup trip. The Real Whacker got away from him coming down the hill and Gerri Colombe was definitely outpaced. The Gold cup trip will play to his strengths, but I would worry he’ll be outpaced again. He needs to improve to compete against the likes of Bravemnasgame and Galopin Des Champs next season.


What next for Constitution Hill?

Nicky Henderson is no stranger to training superstars and in particular Champion Hurdlers. That being said, he has likely never had a horse like Constitution Hill. Still only a six-year-old, connections could opt to dominate the hurdling division for years to come and possibly win a record four Champion Hurdlers. Owner Michael Buckley seems keen to go chasing with ambitions of emulating the great Dawn Run by trying to win the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. Henderson is usually quite cautious with his horses, but I do sense a feeling of adventure when it comes to Constitution Hill. Connections know they have a chance of making history and given his age, if it doesn’t work out, they can always revert to hurdling.

Should Constitution Hill embark on a chasing campaign and take to fences as well as he has taken to hurdles, I see no reason why he would run in a novice chase at next years festival. He has experience of running at Championship pace over hurdles so if his jumping is good, I don’t see why connections would target a novice chase for half the amount of prize money and wait another year before a crack at a more prestigious Championship contest. Constitution Hill could be in an unbelievably unique position whereby he could realistically have a chance of winning the big three. He’s won the Champion Hurdle, he clearly has the pace and ability to win a Champion Chase then he could step up in trip as a slightly older horse before attempting to win a Gold Cup. If he were mine, I think I would start him in a novice chase and see how he jumps. If he jumps well, It would be straight into Graded open company. Let him pick up experience and get some runs under his belt before a crack at next years Champion Chase. He would then have chasing experience, but also a seriously prestigious prize in the bag before going on to attempt the unthinkable the season after.


Cheltenham 2024 Ante-post Tip: 77/1 double can prove extremely good value

My gut feeling is Constitution Hill will go chasing which will surely mean emphatic Ballymore winner Impaire Et Passe, embarks on a Champion Hurdle campaign. He looks a nice price at around the 6/1 mark and Ballymore winners have a good record coming back for the following seasons champion hurdle. A certain stablemate Faugheen, achieved the feet alongside fellow legends of the game, Hardy Eustace and Istabraq.

Impaire Et Passe to win the 2024 Champion Hurdle and Constitution Hill to win the 2024 Champion Chase currently pays out 77/1 with William Hill. That looks excellent value to me and could be an extremely exciting slip to have should connections of both horses confirm their routes for next season.

  • IMPAIRE ET PASSE – Champion Hurdle 2024
  • CONSTITUTION HILL – Champion Chase 2024

ODDS – 77/1 with William Hill.


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