Festival Fans
March 15, 2024

Day 3 of the Festival felt like Festivals of old. Big fields, an even battle between the British and Irish runners and top class, competitive championship races. 

We also managed to tip the winner of five of the seven races, including 8/1, 12/1 and 25/1 shots.

Let’s hope for more of the same on day 4, where the showpiece event is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which celebrates its 100th anniversary


Before that there are three high quality contests to get stuck into, starting with the Triumph Hurdle

Sadly, the ongoing issues affected Nicky Henderson’s yard mean that the hot ante-post favourite, Sir Gino, no longer runs. That has opened the door for Willie Mullins to get back to winning ways after a rare, unsuccessful day yesterday.

Majborough definitely looks the best long term prospect among his seven runners, but preference is for BUNTING, who finished sixth in the Grade 1 contest at Leopardstown six weeks ago in which six of the Mullins horses ran. 

We thought he looked the one likely to take the biggest step forward from that race.

Away from the Mullins runners the two others to consider are Mighty Bandit and NURBURGRING

The former beat the latter’s stablemate, Lark In The Mornin on debut and that horse won the Fred Winter here on Tuesday to frank the form. 

Slight preference, though, is for the more experienced Nurburgring and hopefully the fact that he runs here instead of taking his chance earlier in the week means his yard rate him more highly than Lark In The Mornin.


Next up is one of the week’s biggest betting heats – the County Hurdle

The British handicap hurdle form this season has looked particularly strong and L’EAU DU SUD surely sets the standard here. 

He was second behind Iberico Lord in the Betfair Hurdle, travelling like the winner for much of the race, and that form was franked on Saturday when Go Dante and Faivoir finished first and second in the Imperial Cup. 

L’Eau Du Sud will relish the ground, and his yard, which has farmed races like this in recent seasons, couldn’t be having a better Festival.

There are plenty of Irish raiders to fear including King Of Kingsfield, Absurde and Bialystok, but MAGICAL ZOE looks to have the strongest claim of all of them. 

She was runner up over course and distance in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle last season, has form on very soft ground and was a good third on her handicap debut last time out.

Of the outsiders, PETIT TONNERRE makes plenty of appeal, with various bookmakers offering 6 places for each-way bets.

He has seventh last year, but is 4lbs lower today and wears the first time visor. He didn’t enjoy his spell over fences and could be rejuvenated by the return to smaller obstacles here.


GIDLEIGH PARK looks to have the most appealing profile for the day’s third race, the Albert Bartlett.

He has already won on the New Course here and has winning form at both Chepstow and Exeter in soft ground to suggest he is all about stamina.

One horse who has already proved he stays this trip is CHIGORIN, who runs for a yard that knows how to win this race. Being by Shantou there should be little doubt about him handling the ground.

Captain Teague and Johnnywho are also respected.


This year’s Gold Cup looks to be a race fitting for the occasion, with every one of the runners having some top class form under their belt and some sort of chance this afternoon.

Given that, last year’s winner, Galopin Des Champs, makes little appeal from a punting perspective, despite being the best horse in the race.

The recent rain may have tilted the balance away from the likes of Fastorslow (stamina to prove) and Bravemansgame, and in favour of L’Homme Presse and Gentlemansgame.

Venetia Williams is as good a trainer of staying chasers as there has been over the last decade and her horses are invariably at their best when conditions are at their worst. 

She deserves a Gold Cup winner and L’HOMME PRESSE might just deliver one today.

GENTLEMANSGAME has to take another step up in class here, but the ground has come in his favour and he also trained by an extremely shrewd operator, who wouldn’t be running a horse in a race like this just for the sake of it. 

Monkfish is a another fascinating runner who can’t be ignored, whilst we wouldn’t put anyone off our ante post selection, The Real Whacker.


It is the amateur riders’ turn next with their Gold Cup due off at 4.10pm. 

Again, a very strong stayer will be needed to cope with this trip on heavy ground and there may only be a few finishers in the Festival Hunters' Chase.

That could lead to an upset, and two against the field at bigger prices are QUINTIN’S MAN and the evergreen mudlark, SHANTOU FLYER, who was third in the race last year.

Pick of those towards the head of the market could be last year’s winner, PREMIER MAGIC, who did us a massive favour when winning the 2023 renewal at 66-1. 

We can’t desert him after that, so are going to back him again today, even if only to cover our stakes on the two bigger priced selections.


Conditions could be extremely tough for the mares by the time we get to their big race at 4.50pm, the Mares' Chase

The overnight rain won’t have been welcomed by supporters of the warm favourite Dinoblue. She is definitely the best horse in the race, but she also definitely still needs to prove she stays this far.

There are no question marks in that regard when it comes to LIMERICK LACE and she looks a value bet against the Mullins hotpot.

At a bigger price, CAROLE’S PASS is also worth an interest as she really seems to be peaking at the right time. 

She travelled like a classy performer when winning a listed contest over 3 miles at Exeter last time out, and the drop in trip here shouldn’t inconvenience her on this ground.


As is now the tradition, the Martin Pipe Hurdle will bring down the curtain on the 2024 Festival.

There are plenty of Irish runners towards the head of the market, and a key form line could prove to be a handicap hurdle run at Leopardstown at the start of December where Waterford Whispers and ANSWER TO KAYF finished first and second respectively. 

There may not be much between them again today and at the prices we are going to take a chance on Answer To Kayf reversing that form.

The other Irish horse to back is BETTER DAYS AHEAD, who has good form earlier in the season with the likes of Slade Steel and Asian Master (first and fourth in the Supreme on Tuesday).

For those looking for one last big price winner, two to consider are BINGOO and Shared

Slight preference is for the former as he’ll love the ground and should be charging up the hill at the death.

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.