Festival Fans
March 3, 2024

With just over a week to go until the 2024 Festival gets underway, it is worth revisiting the five big championship races to see if there is any value left in any of the markets, particularly given that most bookmakers are now going 'non-runner, no bet'.


Galopin Des Champs is rightfully a warm favourite for the Gold Cup, as he undoubtedly has the best form on paper. 

However, a consequence of his price being so short is that there is likely to be each way value elsewhere and, as regular Festival goers will know, winning back-to-back Gold Cup is no easy feat.

There is a Henderson vs Mullins theme that is likely to run across many of the big races at the meeting and the same could be true here, as Shishkin looks to have developed into Galopin Des Champs main rival.

He faces plenty of criticism for his running style (which wasn’t helped by his refusal to start in the 1965 Chase at Ascot), but the quality of his performances are in the book for all to see and he may improve again for the step up in trip. 

The best stayers often hit a flat spot during a race, as he does, and it is not hard to see him coming back on the bridle coming to the last. His willpower will then be tested like never before. 

He looks a solid each way option and L’Homme Presse is another to consider at a bigger price as to our eyes he has done nothing wrong since returning from injury, including last time out when he was beaten over an inadequate trip.

Corach Rambler is interesting, given his love of the track and the fact that he peaks in the spring.  He has a similar style to Synchronised who won this race in 2012. 

At the prices, though, the one that stands out most has to be THE REAL WHACKER.

Whilst we’ve highlighted the fact that bookmakers are going non runner no bet, Bet365 are offering a massive 66/1 about The Real Whacker in their normal market. 

Given this horse only has the Gold Cup as a target, there doesn’t seem to be a need to back him NRNB.

This horse’s profile suggests he is peaking at the right time as he has improved from race to race, this season. He has also finished his races strongly, to suggest he will relish the extra stamina test here. 

Don’t forget he is a Festival winner already and in winning last season’s Brown Advisory he beat Gerri Columbe fair and square, yet that rival is only a single figure price with many bookmakers.


The market for the Champion Hurdle was thrown into chaos by Constitution Hill’s health scare. 

The market will be dominated by him and/or State Man whatever happens over the coming days, so there could be some juicy each way value elsewhere. 

The one that stands out to us as a potential improver is NEMEAN LION

He looks a certain runner and can currently be backed at 20/1 NRNB, with a generous 3 places. 

There will probably only be 6 or 7 runners on the day, at the most, so grabbing an extra place now is a bonus.

This horse has been carrying big weights respectably in decent handicaps all season (including lumping 12st when 5th in the Greatwood), before winning the Kingwell, in style, last time out. 

He is a strong stayer at 2m, so wouldn’t be inconvenienced by soft ground and can be ridden to stay on into a place late on.

Luccia is also interesting, but would need the ground to be no worse than good to soft to be at her best, which seems unlikely.

If we are denied the England v Ireland, Henderson v Mullins showdown in the Champion Hurdle, we look set to get it in the Champion Chase, as all currently seems to be well with Jonbon and El Fabiolo

We strongly believe El Fabiolo will confirm the form of his Arkle success over Jonbon at last season’s Festival, and it is currently had to find a betting angle among the rest of the field, although Edwardstone was very impressive last time out and could be an each way bet to nothing, if ridden the same way here.

We are also going to leave the Stayers' Hurdle alone for now, but the Ryanair Chase is worth a second look. 


At this stage, it appears to be a much more interesting race for punters, with the ground likely to pay a key part. 

Banbridge, for example, needs decent underfoot conditions to be at his best, so there is no point in backing him now, given his price. 

There are also plenty of other soild contenders towards the head of the market including Stage Star and Envoi Allen.

We are convinced this trip would suit Conflated, but he looks likely to go for the Cross Country Chase over a distance that will surely test his stamina to the limits.

Another ground dependent horse is FUGITIF, but he is a much bigger price than Banbridge and more likely to get the going he wants. 

All of his best form has been with give underfoot, but he loves Cheltenham and took the step up to Grade 1 company last time out in his stride, despite that contest being over a trip way short of his best. 

20/1 NRNB makes plenty of appeal.

Last year we tipped 10 winners at the Festival, including You Wear It Well (16/1), Maskada (22/1) and Premier Magic (66/1). Check back for our daily free Cheltenham tips and previews each morning this year.
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.