Road to the Cheltenham Festival 2024 – 4 weeks to go


It’s that time of year again, where we look ahead to the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival in March and with two months before the feature race, here is our second post of the year!

For those who haven’t followed Severn Sport during the run up to and the Festival itself, our coverage includes posts at 8, 4 2 and 1 week to go markers, as well as a Tipster League during Festival week – where figures from football in Gloucestershire compete to be crowned our King Tipster.

In January, Severn Sport’s Ryan Butler was joined by Tipster League veteran, Damon Highet, and Slimbridge Co-Manager, Tom Deakin, for our first preview post, where the boys looked at their Best and Worst Priced Favourites and Longshots.

At the 4 weeks to go mark, the bookies are now “non-runner no bet” for the most part and horses are being scratched off the entries list. So Butler, Deakin, Highet and Tuffley Rovers defender, Joel White, will be looking at Two Horses & One Race to watch at this stage.

As always, Severn Sport encourages everyone to bet responsibly and the prices below are taken from Oddschecker at the time of writing, so are subject to change.

Let’s start with Slimbridge Co-Manager, Tom Deakin:

TD: If Paul Nicholls is saying Ginny’s Destiny is his best chance of a winner, then Grey Dawning has to have a better chance.

Beat Ginny’s Destiny over hurdles and would have won in December, if not for a bad mistake two out. Also, Grey Dawning was giving 3lb to the winner that day, losing by three parts of a length.

I’m not sure he can beat the Irish horses in either the Turners or the Brown Advisory, but is the best English contender, for me.

Best Price – Brown Advisory Novices Chase – 9/2 (betway, bet365, Boyle Sports);
Turners Novices Chase – 9/1 (Betfair)

TD: Similar to Grey Dawning, Nurburgring may get beaten, but his form in the juvenile races is of a top level. He was beaten a nose behind Kargese, who won at the DRF next time out, but he has previously won at Fairyhouse, when giving weight.

Sir Gino is going to be the one to beat in the Triumph, but at 16/1 for both the Triumph and the Boodles, Nurburgring is a horse to be on the ride side of and he seems to be forgotten about.

Best Price – Triumph Hurdle – 16/1 (betway, Betfair, Boyle Sports)
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – 16/1 (Betfair)

TD: The race to watch has to be the Gold Cup, for me. Galopin Des Champs is expected to go into the race, but there is a lot to figure out from the talk of the other trainers.

Which Shishkin will turn up? Fastorslow is winning 2-1 and is proven at Cheltenham, with two Festival places. Bravemansgame has only found 2nd place this season, but pushed the favourite all the way last year.

Further back in the field, Corach Rambler is one who, again, has proven course form, Hewick has the stamina to cause an upset and both Gentlemansgame and Gerri Colombe could have potential to spoil the party.

It’s a great race on paper, but I’ll be hoping Galopin Des Champs shows his class once again.

Best Price (selected) – Cheltenham Gold Cup – Galopin Des Champs (Evens William Hill), Fastorslow (5/1 Betfair), Shiskin (9/1 bet365), Gerri Colombe (9/1 bet365, SkyBet, Betfair), L’Homme Presse (10/1 Betfair, Boyle Sports), Hewick (16/1 Betfair), Gentlemansgame (20/1 Betfair), Corach Rambler (20/1 BetVictor, Betfair, William Hill), Bravemansgame (20/1 bet365, betway, SkyBet)

Next up is Damon Highet’s selections:

DH: The first horse I am looking at is Captain Teague in the Albert Bartlett. Paul Nicholls seems to have laid this out for owner, Johnny De La Hey. He has been lightly raced in Class 1 company and for me, looks to have gone massively under the radar and is worth an each-way dig at a good price!

Best Price – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle – 14/1 (Betfair)

DH: My next horse to watch is Riviere D’etel in the Mares Chase. The rule of thumb in those races is it’s Willie Mullins vs Gordon Elliott.

Horses that win this race don’t need to be top, top racehorses, just need to be consistent and for me, Riviere D’etel is a perfect selection at a very good price. Gordon Elliott trained, 2nd and 1sts throughout the form book, yeah, let’s have it!

Best Price – Mares Chase – 16/1 (Betfair)

DH: The race to watch is the Mares Hurdle, it has to be! Opening day, short priced favourite trained by Mullins in Lossiemouth, where it’s so obviously going to win that it is not going to win at all!

It basically leaves an absolute minefield for who could go on to win. Big prices everywhere in the field, including Echoes in Rain, Maries Rock, You Wear It Well and a Mare I know Butler follows, Magical Zoe – so as a seasoned Cheltenham festival enjoyer, I love to watch these races.

Best Price (selected) – Mares Hurdle – Lossiemouth (4/6 Boyle Sports), Ashroe Diamond (4/1 betway, Betfair, bet365), Gala Marceau (8/1 betway, BetVictor), Echoes in Rain (14/1 Betfiar), Maries Rock (16/1 Betfair), Magical Zoe (20/1 Betfair), You Wear it Well (25/1 Betfair), Telmesomethinggirl (25/1 William Hill)

Visit for your financial planning needs

Joel White has his say:

JW: I like Stay Away Fay for the Brown Advisory. I have fancied him all season for this and his last run, in open company is a great piece of form, really. You know that he will stay up the hill all day, as well!

Best Price – Brown Advisory Novices Chase – 10/3 (Betfair)

JW: My current longshot is Theatre Man in the Ultima. He is a cracking each-way bet here. His latest 2nd behind Ginny’s Destiny – who is fancied for the Turners, at Cheltenham is great form and I think he will win a handicap sooner rather than later!

Best Price – Ultima Handicap Chase – 14/1 (SkyBet)

JW: The race to watch is the Arkle. Mainly because of market leader, Marine Nationale.

MN is up there with Paisley Park as my favourite horse in training. I will forgive his last run in the DRF, which came after a faultless chase debut and I think he will be back to his best and romp home in the Arkle.

With that being said, there is plenty of competition and value elsewhere in the field. Il Etait Temps comes into the race highly rated, with Found a Fifty and Facile Vega still popular among punters.

There is also talk of Inthepocket returning from what was set to be a season ending injury, early, and could be supplemented in the race. Whilst I still think Marine Nationale wins, it will add to the quality of the overall field.

Best Price (selected) – Arkle ChaseMarine Nationale (5/2 betway, BetVictor, bet365), Il Etait Temps (9/2 betway, Boyle Sports, William Hill), Found a Fifty (6/1 William Hill), Inthepocket (7/1 William Hill), Facile Vega (10/1 Boyle Sports), Quilixios (10/1 betway, SkyBet, Boyle Sports), JPR One (11/1 betway, bet365, SkyBet)

To finish, Butler gives us his horses and race to look out for:

RB: My first horse to watch is Monkfish. Winner of the Brown Advisory in 2021 before a long lay-off and a switch to hurdles. Won himself back in the Winners Enclosure in January and now sits on entries in both the Gold Cup and Stayers Hurdle.

The Stayers seems to be a trip Monkfish has enjoyed throughout his career, where as the Gold Cup would be unchartered territory. Will be very interesting to see where he ends up!

Best Price – Stayers Hurdle – 16/1 (Betfair);
Gold Cup – 66/1 (Betfair)

RB: The second horse to look out for is Appreciate It. Another one of Willie Mullins’ monsters from the 2021 festival, where he romped home in the Supreme by 24 lengths!

Maybe he hasn’t hit those heights since, but he has shown flashes of ability and whilst Willie, himself, admitted there was a feeling of disappointment with this horse, there is appreciation for Appreciate It’s ability!

The Ryanair is the likely destination for Appreciate It, although he still holds an entry in the Champion Chase.

Best Price – Ryanair Chase – 16/1 (William Hill);
Queen Mother Champion’s Chase – 50/1 (bet365)

RB: My race to watch is the Ryanair Chase (Thursday). There are plenty of races that are competitive throughout the week, but none as wide open as this, for me.

The current market leader is Banbridge, and it is clear to see why. But in such a tightly group set of market leaders, you can make a case for a number of them.

Other than Appreciate It, I like the look of Ash Tree Meadow, Fil Dor & Hitman at bigger prices in an entries list full of quality.

The punters will be drawn to Banbridge though, and rightly so!

Best Price (selected) – Ryanair Chase – Banbridge (11/4 Betfair), Envoi Allen (4/1 betway, bet365, Betfair), Stage Star (9/2 Betfair, SkyBet), Conflated (9/1 Betfair), Fil Dor (12/1 William Hill), Appreciate It (16/1 William Hill), Hitman (20/1 BetVictor, bet365), Ash Tree Meadow (25/1 BetVictor, bet365)

We will be back with another preview post for the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival in two weeks time, before we find out who is in the 2024 Severn Sport Tipster League!

Cover photo copyright Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *