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Ginger Joe - 2024 Cheltenham Festival – Day 3 & 4 Preview

Publish Date: 10/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • Cheltenham Festival Preview Part 2
  • An overview of the notable races for Day 3 and 4
  • A brand new Cheltenham free bet offer from BetMGM

Two days to go and counting…

We’re almost ready to hear the roar now, as the 2024 Cheltenham Festival will kick off in just two days – can you actually believe it? Anyway, the time is right for me to add my final Cheltenham preview, which covers Days 3 and 4 of the Festival.

Just in case you missed it, my Day 1 and 2 Cheltenham preview is already live here at Betting.co.uk, and it’s well worth a read. I’ll be adding a video here in due course, where I introduce some very special guests, alongside my usual sidekicks, Jaime and Scotty.

But without further ado, let’s go take a closer look at some of the most notable races coming up on the second two days of the greatest show on turf.

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Day 3 – 13:30 The Turners Novices’ Chase 2m 4f

The Turners is a race I’m really looking forward to despite the lack of depth for this year’s renewal. Beyond the top four in the market, which I’ll be looking at here, there is a vast gap and it really is anyone’s guess who might pick up a place.

Ginny's Destiny is marginally the current favourite. You will struggle to find many horses that jump better than him and he brings good course form into the race as well. He beat Grey Dawning in November, but that one made plenty of mistakes and still got within a length of Ginny’s Destiny. This leads me to think that perhaps Ginny’s Destiny is not quite as good as he looks on paper.

Grey Dawning definitely didn’t act well on that day back in November, but he had definitely got his jumping together when next seen at Warwick in January. next time out and I think he has taken a big step forward since the pair met in November. I would be disappointed if that form wasn’t turned around next week.

Facile Vega may turn up here but he is really hard to figure out. Largely he has been disappointing and you can’t really back him with much confidence based on what we have seen so far. That said, he is trained by the master that is Willie Mullins, so who knows what might happen.

The only other contender, according to the market anyway, is Iroko. This one hasn’t had a run since his debut at Warwick, where he picked up an injury. I’ve really no idea why he has had so much support with nothing to back it up to be honest, and I won’t be going near him. Enough said.

Day 3 – 14:50 The Ryanair Chase 2m 5f

Banbridge heads the betting for the Ryanair, but as we know he is a very ground dependent sort and the predicted softer surface won't be to his liking. He has a lot of class and with better going he would hold all the aces, but I know for a fact that this will be a big issue for him – one that reduces his chance of winning dramatically.

Envoi Allen is also in here and he is the reigning champion. I feel that he’s a horse that doesn’t get the credit he deserves. After all, he’s a multiple Grade 1 winner and looks to be the one to beat in this field. However, there are some younger horses running here that could be worth siding with too.

Fil D’Or is one of them. He is the only six-year-old in this field, and at a double figure price, he is clearly being overlooked because of that. He ran a massive race behind El Fabiolo last time out, and only has a few lengths to find with Dinoblue. So, based on that level of form, he has to be of some interest from the each way angle.

The winner for me though is Stage Star, who won last year's Turners Novices’ Chase and has been brilliant all season, bar his last run. I can forgive him for that one though, he was carrying tons of weight. I think he is the best jumper of a fence in the race and firmly believe that he has a big chance of winning another Grade 1 Chase here.

Day 3 – 15:30 The Stayers’ Hurdle 3m

One of the best bets of the festival comes in the Stayers’ Hurdle, where I think Teahupoo holds all the aces. He was third in this race last year, where everything was going smoothly until he hit the second last and it really put him off his rhythm. Despite that, he stayed on really well up the hill, and despite having his path blocked at a vital stage, managed to get within a length of the winner. Add to that the fact that he went on to win the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and he has to set the standard here.

He is priced very short for this year's renewal, but a lot of the runners behind him in the market don't have time on their side. Take Sire De Berlais (who is now 12 years of age) as an example. He can’t entirely be ruled out after last year's heroics, but surely this is one year too many for him now? Paisley Park is another 12-year-old who cannot be overlooked, as he has already clocked up three decent second places in Grade 1s this season.

Which brings us to Crambo, who is the wild card in the pack here. He managed to get the better of Paisley Park at Ascot in December, and as a seven-year-old, Crambo may just have a few more gears. He is running for local trainer Fergal O’Brien, who will be looking for his first Festival victory and Crambo would be a hugely popular winner if he can pull it off.

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Day 4 – 13:30 The JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f

The Triumph Hurdle is always a great watch and we have a cracking line up for this year's renewal. Nicky Henderson brings the current market favourite, Sir Gino, who was a mightily impressive winner on his stable debut at Kempton. He then followed up by winning at Cheltenham on Trials Day beating Triumph Hurdle favourite, Burdett Road, and he did so very easily too. He has a real turn of foot, and heads to Cheltenham as one of the hotpots - it will definitely take another good one to beat him here.

Behind him is a wall of Willie Mullins runners, and they are all open to plenty of improvement still. One of the most intriguing has to be Salvator Mundi who will be making his stable debut when he lines up for the Triumph Hurdle. He is owned by the Donnellys, who also own Sir Gino, and the two horses were purchased together after finishing within a short distance of each other on their only start in France.

The fundamental difference between them, is that Sir Gino has already had two runs in the UK, whereas Salvator Mundi hasn’t had a run for his connections as yet. There has been a lot of money for Salvator Mundi in the last couple of days, and he’s a very interesting runner for sure, but you need to take it on trust that he is up to this level on his first start.

Kargese is next in line and she is a cracking filly. She won the Spring Juvenile at the Dublin Racing Festival, where she really put the geldings in their place, and I think she is certain to run a big race at Cheltenham. I rather like her chances, particularly from an each way perspective.

Majborough is another one of the Willie Mullins runners here. You won’t find a better looking Juvenile and he is just huge. He was making his debut in DRF Spring Juvenile and came second to Kargese that day, but you would have to assume that has come on plenty for that and I’d imagine he will be very popular on the day.

I can’t see too many others that hold chances, but Nurburgring for Joseph O’Brien could have the potential to outrun his odds. He has some good form in the book and has posted the best time figures out of the whole field. So, if he is up there turning for home, he isn’t without a shout. Ultimately though, Sir Gino will be hard to beat here.

Day 4 – 14:50 The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 3m

This three-mile Novice Hurdle is always ultra-competitive and we never fail to see a really good battle all the way to the line. Once again, Willie Mullins is holding a lot of aces, and current favourite, Readin Tommy Wrong, seems to be the most popular of the Closutton team.

He is two for two over Hurdles and was a very gutsy winner of the Lawlors Of Naas in January, where he went off at 16/1. He has since found his way into many notebooks, but he will need to prove that it was no fluke of course.

Dancing City is another Mullins runner with a big chance here. He also comes into this race with Grade 1 form, having won the Nathaniel Lacy at Leopardstown. Oddly, he wasn’t fancied at all that day, but he put in a really good performance on the deep ground and could well have improve again for that experience. I just have a question mark about exactly how good that last piece of form is though, and I’m willing to take him on despite his strong credentials on paper.

High Class Hero is the one I like the most from the Mullins team. He has a similar profile to The Nice Guy, who has won this race previously, and I think High Class Hero will do well here for running in a better race. Of the outsiders in the field, Croke Park could be one that’s capable of picking up some place money, and I’m happy to put a line through his last performance.

Day 4 – 15:30 The Cheltenham Gold Cup 3m 2f

The main event of the week is the Gold Cup and Galopin Des Champs is back to try and win the race for a second time. I often take on short-priced favourites, but there’s no getting away from the fact that he is clearly the best horse in the race. Although it may seem improbable, I actually think he has improved again this season.

If you go back and look at his Gold Cup win from last year, he overcame mid-race adversity and really powered up the hill and to storm clear of the field. Since then he has gone on to win the Irish Gold Cup, in what looked to be a career best, so he really has moved the goal posts again this season. Short of a fall, I genuinely find it hard to see him getting beaten this year.

Fastorslow is one of the main contenders here, as he has actually beaten Galopin Des Champs on two previous occasions. But when it comes right down to it, Fastorslow is untried over the 3m 2f trip and will need to improve on hell of a lot to take the crown this year.

Gerri Colombe has been largely disappointing this season and I worry about his seeming lack of ability to finish. However, the other Robcour-owned runner, Gentlemansgame, interests me quite a lot. He has beaten Bravemansgame this season, he has been kept fresh for this race, and is most certainly still unexposed over fences, I would say he is a really good each way bet at a decent price.

Bravemansgame and Shishkin represent the best chances for the home team, but they will both need to show more and I’m not sure either of them can at this late stage of their careers.

Day 4 – 16:50 The Mares Chase 2m 4f

When it comes to the Mares Chase, I have a bit of a quandary. Dinoblue has had a lot of market support and she is now favourite, at a very short price. However, I have big concerns about her staying the extra half mile here. She looks all speed to me and to back up that theory, she was easily outstayed by Maskada in last year’s Grand Annual.

She may have improved a little since then, but it’s something that I can’t get out of my head, so I’m looking to take Dinoblue on here. Limerick Lace is a nice horse, and she’s very reliable. Although the fact that she couldn’t get the better of Coko Beach when she was weighted to win leads me to think that she doesn’t quite have the class to win this.

Allegorie De Vassy was second in this race last year and has a decent shout again, but the one I fancy the most here is Brides Hill for Gavin Cromwell. She is definitely on an upward curve at the minute, and there’s no telling where the ceiling of her ability is, but I think she has more than a fair chance. We know she stays, she has improved with every run, and she ticks a lot of boxes in this race.

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