Festival Fans
March 12, 2024

Given the among of rain that has fallen overnight we could be in for some surprises on the opening day of the Festival.

Stamina and an ability to handle the ground will be key attributes, and the prevailing conditions are likely to further play to the strengths of the Irish raiders.


Before the rain came, the likes of Slade Steel and Firefox looked likely to be lacking for speed in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, but these strong stayers must now be respected given underfoot conditions.

Preference, though, is for MYSTICAL POWER, who looks to have the perfect mixture of speed and stamina. Those attributes have been inherited from his regal parents – Annie Power and Galileo – and he looks open to most improvement.

Of those at bigger prices, ASIAN MASTER makes most appeal, as he is another for whom stamina is assured.


The market for the Arkle Chase is headed by Gaelic Warrior, but he looks like a lay to us as this doesn’t look to be his optimum trip and he has a tendency to hang to his right – which will be exaggereated even more on the Old Course.

QUILIXIOS has also jumped out to his right on occasions this season, but unlike the favourite has proven he can win here, having taken the 2022 Triumph Hurdle

He really seemed to relish the drop back to two miles last time out, but has proven form over further.

Provided his jumping holds up, his key rival could prove to be HUNTERS YARN

He should be two from two over fences and despite some good form over hurdles he has always looked to be a chaser in the making.


The Ultima Handicap Chase is likely to turn into a real slog and there may not be many finishers.

Hopefully, last year’s fourth, THE GOFFER, will be able to see out the trip better this time around. He looked the winner coming to the last in 2023 and will hopefully be played later this afternoon.

He won a race for stable staff recently, to put him spot on for this and has clearly been laid out for the race.

Two to consider at monster prices are LORD DU MESNIL and CHAMBARD, who are both proven on the ground and have stamina in abundance. The latter also already has a Festival win under his belt in the 2022 Kim Muir Chase.

Highland Hunter, Minella Crooner and Eklat De Rire are others to consider – the latter pair, in particular, look very well treated if able to bounce back to form.


State Man is understandably all the rage in the market for the Champion Hurdle, but he makes little appeal for ordinary punters at his current price. 

There is a question mark over the form of the Henderson team coming into the Festival, but we would suggest taking a chance on IBERICO LORD, who has some top class handicap form under his belt this season (including at this track) and who will relish the conditions.

We still have faith in our ante post tip – Nemean Lion – and given that the ground has come in his favour we think it is worth backing Irish Point to cover our stakes on the other two bets


Lossiemouth is another short price favourite to take on in the Mares Hurdle. There was a stamina doubt over last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner even before ground conditions deteriorated overnight.

The proven stayers in the race are Love Envoi and Marie’s Rock, and both look to have decent chances, but we can’t desert YOU WEAR IT WELL at 25/1, who won the mares’ novice race for us last season. 

That proves she can handle the occasion and the track, and we think she will come into her own over this trip on soft ground. She is less exposed than many of her rivals.

At an even bigger price, a chance is taken on HISPANIC MOON

She’s won two of her last three races, and there were excuses for her when she disappointed in between. She seemed to beat Gala Marceau fair and square last time out and yet is a much bigger price.

She also has plenty of form on soft/heavy ground.


There's already been oodles of rain at Cheltenham today, which should play to the strengths of MILAN TINO in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle

He has two solid course efforts to his name already and his French form is just about the strongest on offer.

This race has thrown up plenty of shocks in the past, and two to consider at bigger prices are BRIGHT LEGEND and PALAMON

The trainer of the latter has particularly good record in the race.


It could be a case of last horse standing in the National Hunt Chase that ends day one of the Festival and for that reason it must be worth taking on the two market leaders. 

The angle could be as simple as laying the pair and having the rest of the field running for you, but for those wanting to try to find the winner we would suggest MR VANGO, who is the only one to have really proved he stays this sort of trip. 

It would certainly provide a fairytale ending to proceedings, given the recent passing of Mark Bradstock.

Betting should always be considered a form of entertainment, never as a way to make long-term profit. Only bet with money that you can afford, and are willing, to lose. Any Festival tips posted on this website are our opinions only - please always gamble responsibly.