Cheltenham Festival 2024: 6 Ante-Post Bets for Irish Punters
The 2024 Cheltenham Festival is still nine months away, but odds are already available on all the top races at the prestigious four-day meeting.
Irish trainers dominated proceedings again this year, winning 18 of the 28 races to leave their British counterparts firmly in the shade.
It will likely be a similar story next time around with Irish runners prominent in all of the Cheltenham Festival ante-post markets.
Picking winners this far in advance is no easy task, but we have identified six horses who could be worth following at next year’s meeting.
Impaire Et Passe – Arkle Novices’ Chase
Impaire Et Passe was a standout performer for top trainer Willie Mullins last season, recording four successive wins including Grade 1s at Cheltenham and Punchestown.
However, Mullins was unimpressed with the horse’s performance in the latter event, and questioned whether the horse would be aimed at the Champion Hurdle next season.
Switching to the novice chase ranks could be the way to go, setting up the possibility of a tilt at the Arkle Novices’ Chase.
Mullins has won the race on nine previous occasions and Impaire Et Passe undoubtedly has the scope to add to his impressive tally.
Marine Nationale – Champion Hurdle
Constitution Hill was a hugely impressive winner of the 2023 Champion Hurdle and will be a short price if he turns up to defend his crown.
Trainer Nicky Henderson has not ruled out sending the horse over larger obstacles – a decision that would please the trainers of many other talented hurdlers.
They include Barry Connell, whose Marine Nationale claimed an impressive victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at this year’s Festival.
While the son of French Navy has plenty of options next season, he would be a thrilling proposition if Connell decides to keep him over hurdles.
Inthepocket – Turners’ Novices’ Chase
Jockey Rachael Blackmore often celebrates her Cheltenham victories with a night out in Kilkenny and she will hope to have the chance to do the same next March.
Blackmore could be back in the winner’s circle in the 2024 Turners’ Novices’ Chase, with Inthepocket likely to be targeted at the race.
The horse finished fourth behind Marine Nationale in the Supreme, before claiming a first Grade 1 success in the Poundland Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.
Inthepocket will have been bought by owner JP McManus with a chasing career in mind and he looks well worth following next season.
Corbetts Cross – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
Corbetts Cross was backed as if defeat was out of the question in the 2023 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and he looked to set to deliver the goods approaching the final flight.
However, all of the leading Ireland betting sites breathed a huge sigh of relief as the striking chestnut crashed through the wing of the hurdle to unseat jockey Mark Walsh.
A novice chasing campaign beckons next term, and the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase looks to be his main target of the season.
Corbetts Cross looked a natural over fences when he ran in point-to-points and is fancied to gain compensation at next year’s Festival.
El Fabiolo – Ryanair Chase
Arkle Chase winner El Fabiolo ended last season with an effortless victory at the Punchestown Festival – his third Grade 1 success in a row.
The natural route for the horse is a tilt at the two-mile Champion Chase, but it would be no surprise to see him aimed at the Ryanair Chase.
Mullins has already admitted he is contemplating stepping El Fabiolo up in distance, which immediately puts him in the Ryanair frame.
Given he already has reigning champion Energumene at his disposal, switching El Fabiolo to the Ryanair makes perfect sense.
Teahupoo – Stayers’ Hurdle
The Gordon Elliott-trained Teahupoo was strongly fancied to win the 2023 Stayers’ Hurdle, but was narrowly denied in a messy finish up the Cheltenham hill.
Teahupoo subsequently ran another fine race in defeat at Punchestown to establish himself as one of the best three-mile hurdlers around.
The six-year-old still has plenty of improvement to come and will likely be tough to beat in long-distance hurdles next season.
Trainer Gordon Elliott is adept at maximising the potential of this type of horse and Teahupoo is fancied to be a strong contender in next year’s Stayers’ Hurdle.