• Ten Leading Irish Contenders for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival

  • Sir Erec

    Sir Erec - JCB Triumph Hurdle

    Joseph O’Brien has enjoyed a fantastic campaign with his juveniles this season, but the pick of the bunch is likely to be the JP McManus-owned Sir Erec. Twice successful for Aidan O’Brien on the flat, Sir Erec is unbeaten over hurdles and recorded a bloodless victory at the Dublin Racing Festival, winning by six lengths. Although Joseph is credited for Ivanovich Gorbatov’s victory in this race in 2016, he will be keen to get his first official Cheltenham Festival winner and this is sure to be one of his key chances across the week.

     

    WATCH Click for page: Sir Erec - JCB Triumph Hurdle

  • Apple’s Jade – Unibet Champion Hurdle

    Apple’s Jade had a disappointing second-half of last year’s campaign but has been flawless so far this season winning all four starts, beginning in the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle at Navan before Grade 1 victories at Fairyhouse and twice at Leoaprdstown. Her Christmas Festival victory at the Dublin venue was marred by Faugheen’s fall two out, but she demolished her high-class opposition at the Dublin Racing Festival, which included last season’s Champion Hurdle second Melon. Owner Michael O’Leary gave her a “75% chance” of running in the Champion Hurdle and it would be fascinating to see how she fares against the two-time winner, Buveur D’Air.

     

     

    WATCH Click for page: Apple’s Jade – Unibet Champion Hurdle

    Apple's Jade
  • Honeysuckle

    Honeysuckle – Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

    Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore have been in scintillating form this season and Honeysuckle gives Blackmore a great chance of a first Cheltenham Festival success in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on day three of the Festival. The five-year-old mare has won all three starts under rules this season, having changed hands for €110,000 after her point-to-point success last season. The form of her Thurles win in December has worked out well with second-placed Sassy Diva winning subsequently at the Dublin Racing Festival and she’s well placed to continue the Irish dominance in this race.

     

    WATCH Click for page: Honeysuckle – Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

  • Laurina – OLBG Mares’ Hurdle

    Unbeaten in the UK and Ireland, Laurina was one of the stars of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival with her wide-margin success in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. She’s raced just once in open company in what was a facile victory in a two-runner race at Sandown, so it’s still hard to know just how good Willie Mullins’ charge is. Although she may go for the Champion Hurdle, if she were to pitch up the Mares’ Hurdle, she’s likely to be a short favorite to record a second Cheltenham Festival success.

     

     

    Laurina
  • Le Richebourg

    Le Richebourg – Racing Post Arkle Chase

    Comprehensively beaten in last year’s County Hurdle, Le Richebourg has improved drastically for his switch to fences, winning four of his five starts. The falls of both Voix Du Reve and Knocknanuss aided his chances at the Dublin Racing Festival, but he was impressive when stretching away from stablemate Us And Them on the run-in. The Racing Post Arkle Chase will be the target and he will take plenty of beating.

     

    WATCH Click for page: Le Richebourg – Racing Post Arkle Chase

  • Presenting Percy - Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup

    Successful at the past two Cheltenham Festivals, Presenting Percy is likely to be one of the Irish bankers of the week as he aims for the biggest prize of all in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Pat Kelly’s eight-year-old has enjoyed a quiet campaign this season, returning at Gowran Park with a victory in the Galmoy Hurdle in late January having been off since last year’s Festival. His biggest danger likely lies in last year’s winner Native River, but Kelly’s charge is a justified favorite. 

     

    Presenting Percy
  • Min

    Min - Ryanair Chase

    Twice beaten at Cheltenham by the superstar Altior, Willie Mullins’ Min is likely to avoid that challenge this time around and pitch up in the Ryanair Chase on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Beaten last year at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown Festivals, Min has returned in top-class form this season winning twice at Grade 1 level. The absence of any significant challenge meant he was sent off 4-9 favorite for his Dublin Racing Festival success, but he was impressive in that victory and all looks on-song for a shot at a first Cheltenham Festival success.

     

     

    WATCH Click for page: Min - Ryanair Chase

  • Off You Go – Coral Cup

    Charles Byrnes’ Off You Go enhanced his Cheltenham claims with a second successive Ladbrokes Hurdle victory at the Dublin Racing Festival in impressive fashion. Mark Walsh timed his ride to perfection, only getting up in the final strides to head a JP McManus 1-2-3. Byrnes’ last Cheltenham Festival success came in the 2013 Ladbrokes World Hurdle with his stable-star Solwhit and the Coral Cup looks the target for the six-year-old.

     

    WATCH Click for page: Off You Go – Coral Cup

    Off You Go
  • Ballyward

    Ballyward – National Hunt Chase

    Patrick Mullins recorded Cheltenham Festival success with Rathvinden in this race 12-months ago and Ballyward looks the choice of the top-amateur bidding for successive victories in the race. Ballyward finished fourth in last year’s Albert Bartlett, so clearly handles the track, and recorded an impressive 11-length success at Naas at the end of January over three miles. The stamina test is sure to suit Mullins’ charge and may give Patrick his fifth Cheltenham Festival success.

     

     

    WATCH Click for page: Ballyward – National Hunt Chase

  • Tiger Roll – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase

    Aintree Grand National winner Tiger Roll looks for his fourth Cheltenham Festival success in the Cross Country Chase on day two of the Festival, a race he won in 2018, before his Aintree success. Gordon Elliot’s charge has been incredibly versatile since his 2014 Triumph Hurdle success and has taken to fences very well. He’s enjoyed a quiet campaign this season, running just once at Cheltenham in November, so is sure to be primed for another tilt at Cheltenham Festival success. 

     

    Tiger Roll
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