The Cheltenham Festival is the leading National Hunt meeting in the world as it attracts the best horses in each respective division, and fans of the sport travel thousands of miles to the Gloucestershire-based racecourse in their numbers. The four-day meeting is a huge betting week with 28 races scheduled to take place. Here is an early look at three horses who look destined for success at the Festival in March and could prove to be a great bet.
Tiger Roll – Cross Country Chase
Arguably the biggest name in National Hunt racing right now is Tiger Roll. Not only has Gordon Elliott’s runner won the last two runnings of the Grand National, but he has also prevailed in the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Cross Country Chase.
Tiger Roll is expected to once again feature at the biggest meeting of the year where he at +200 in the Cheltenham betting for the unique race. He is likely to reappear in the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle a month before the Festival, while as long as he stays fit, he is sure to have a shot at a hat-trick of wins in the world’s most famous steeplechase in April.
Cyrname – Ryanair Chase
Cyrname enhanced his reputation as one of the most exciting chasers in the sport when he won the Christy 1965 Chase last month, beating Altior in the process and ending the Champions Chase winner’s unbeaten record over fences. The big question over Cyrname is which race his connections will target at the Festival. Their options include the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup. The most likely of those three races is the Ryanair Chase as the distance is two miles and four furlongs. Paul Nicholls’ runner remains open to progressions so he is going to take some beating in whichever race he lines up in. The bookmakers make him +800 for the Ryanair Chase and those odds are sure to shorten if his team confirms that is his target.
Paisley Park – Stayers’ Hurdle
Paisley Park has won his last six races over hurdles, including the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival back in March. His latest victory came on his seasonal reappearance in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury where he justified going off as the odds-on favorite, beating Thistlecrack by a length.
Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old seems to be getting better with every performance on the track so he is going to take some beating once again when he returns to Cheltenham where he is +175 to defend his crown in the Stayers’ Hurdle. Only four horses in history have retained their crown in the Stayers’ Hurdle, with the great Big Buck’s the latest one to do so. Given his age and how dominant he is proving to be in this division, his connections may already have an eye on Big Buck’s record of four wins in the three-mile contest. The Cheltenham Festival is scheduled to take place on March 10-13 in 2020, with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle the annual curtain-raiser for the meeting.