• 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

  • Benie Des Dieux – OLBG Mares’ Hurdle

    A shock-winner of the OLBG Mares' Hurdle in 2018, Willie Mullins' Benie Des Dieux will be looking to repeat the feat this year but will have to overcome quite a long lay-off to do so. The eight-year-old mare has not been seen since following up that Cheltenham success with a win at the Punchestown Festival, but she beat Champion Hurdle hope Apple's Jade on both of those occasions. One of Mullins' leading lights for the Festival, Benie Des Dieux will prove extremely hard to beat once again.

    Benie Des Dieux
  • Battleoverdoyen

    Battleoverdoyen - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle

    A £235,000 purchase following his point-to-point win in April of 2017, Battleoverdoyen had a year off before returning an impressive bumper winner at Punchestown in November. Since then, he's made the switch to hurdles seamlessly, winning by 13-lengths at Navan in December before winning the Grade 1 Lawlor's of Naas Novice Hurdle in early January. The Gordon Elliott trained six-year-old will be looking to repeat success for Elliott in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle which he won with Samcro last year.

    WATCH Click for page: Battleoverdoyen - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle

  • 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

  • Delta Work - RSA Novices' Chase

    Successful in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last year, Delta Work is three wins from as many starts over fences this season and is Ireland’s big hope for the Grade 1 RSA Novices’ Chase on Wednesday. It difficult to pick holes in his form, he went close to adding to his Festival success when finishing runner-up in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at the Punchestown festival but was a winner again on his first run over fences at Down Royal last November. He beat the highly-regarded Le Richebourg to win the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse at the beginning of December before scoring a clear-cut win in the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. It’s no surprise that he’s a short-priced favourite to record another Cheltenham win this year. 

    DeltaWork1
  • 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 Elliott’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 at Cheltenham in November before a shock win over hurdles at Navan in February, so is sure to be primed for another tilt at Cheltenham Festival success. 

     

    Tiger Roll
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