I hope you all enjoyed successful Cheltenham Festival. I felt it was one of the most compelling and certainly one of the most emotional for many years.
My social media feed this week served as a reminder that the joy of finding a Cheltenham winner is amplified if you’re able to add the words “I backed them ante-post”.
Personally, it’s not an opinion I hold but in the interest of a bit of fun I thought if you can’t beat them, then why not join them. So here is my speculative Lucky15 for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.
Race: Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Odds: a general 8-1
A hugely impressive winner of the Champion Bumper last week for breeders the Gleeson family (who also provided the ice-cold winning jockey), J P McManus and 85-year-old John Kiely, who in his post -race interview with Lydia Hislop spoke with utter class.
I felt the softer ground would blunt the speed possessed by this son of champion sprinter Muhaarar but that was certainly not the case. He travelled like the class horse in the race and stayed on powerfully. Marine Nationale showed that the Supreme winner isn’t always housed at Closutton with his stylish win this year.
If A Dream to Share was in the care of Willie Mullins, you can be sure he’d be half his current odds.
Race: Arkle Chase. Odds: 4-1 with Coral
The most impressive winner of the week, despite a heart stopping moment at the last.
I’m confident that his adventurous owner has designs on an attempt at the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup double.
His trainer, Nicky Henderson, is almost certainly not going to pitch him into open company as a novice and therefore the Arkle seems his most likely destination.
That leap at the last in the Champion Hurdle certainly demonstrated he has ample scope!
Race: Brown Advisory Chase. Odds: a general 16-1
We all have “if only” moments at the Cheltenham Festival and he was mine, as he crashed out through the wing at the last hurdle in the Albert Bartlett.
He jumped superbly and looks to have the stamp of a chaser, although trying to second-guess what his trainer Emmet Mullins might do is arguably more complex than predicting what Uncle Willie might decide on.
The Stayers Hurdle division does look light and connections might aim for that. But I’ll follow my gut, which tells me he’s a Gold Cup horse in the making.
Race: Cheltenham Gold Cup. Odds: a general 6-4
A brilliant winner of a Gold Cup run at an unrelenting gallop. It’s hard to see how the opposition can beat him given he stays best off a strong pace and would be the fastest horse in the finish if the pace was dropped.
Barring injury, he looks as close to a certainty for next year’s Festival as you will find.
As with this season, this is the last mention of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival you’ll get from me until after Christmas. I’m going to focus on the here and now, starting with Monday’s action at Taunton and Southwell. Click here for my selections for those meetings.
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