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Ginger Joe - Cheltenham 2024 - My Festival Handicap Lucky 15

Publish Date: 05/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • Marine Nationale and Constitution Hill both out of Cheltenham!
  • My Festival Handicap Lucky 15 revealed
  • More Cheltenham goodies coming up very soon

Breaking news

We have had nothing but bad news in the last few days, mainly concerning the injuries sustained by Constitution Hill and Marine Nationale, both of whom are a huge loss to the Festival and have most likely wiped out a considerable number of ante post bets along the way too.

Hopefully, both will make a full recovery and we will see them back on the track in due course. But meanwhile the Cheltenham show goes on, and so must we.

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Time for the Cheltenham Festival Handicaps!

On a more positive note, I have put together an each way Lucky 15 for the Cheltenham Festival, which focuses on four big Handicaps. We are literally a week away from the Festival now, but I think my four selections still offer tremendous value for next week’s showcase meeting.

Day 1 – The Boodles Juvenile Hurdle - Cossack Chach @ 16/1

My first Lucky 15 selection is the Joseph O’Brien-trained Cossack Chach. He is a son of Churchill, who improved plenty from his debut to win a Maiden Hurdle at the second time of asking back in June last year. I really liked the way he went that day, travelling like a good horse.

But it was the performance he put on when he made his seasonal debut at Down Royal that made me think he could be a Boodles horse. Although he finished second that day, it was to an unbeaten mare of Gordon Elliott’s called Wodhooh. He was only beaten by a neck and if Cossack Chach hadn’t made an error at the second last Hurdle, then I think the result would have been different. Although Wodhooh is also likely to turn up here, Cossack Chach is the one that appeals to me more. I think he is being underestimated off a mark of 128 and he is also on the market at a very generous price.

Day 2 – The Grand Annual – Madara @ 9/1

Madara is my next selection for the Lucky 15. He’s a cracking gelding who is definitely going places. He is only a five-year-old, so he may seem chucked in at the deep end for a Handicap like this, what he lacks age, he gains with experience, having had nine Chase starts to date. He joined Sophie Leech as a four-year-old at the beginning of this season and he had already won two out of five Chase starts by that point.

After joining Sophie’s team he was beaten twice at Cheltenham, but came back in December and ran a cracker to open his account for new connections. He next went to the DRF, where James Reevley flew all the way from France for just the one ride, which turned out to be a tip in itself. Madara won with plenty in hand and for a five-year-old horse, his progression has just been staggering, which gives him an outstanding chance in this year’s Grand Annual.

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Day 3 – The Festival Plate – Letsbeclearaboutit @ 11/1

I really fancy Gavin Cromwell’s Letsbeclearabout it for the Plate. He won a Grade 3, then went on to the Royal Drinmore, a prestigious Grade 1 in Ireland. He ran a very good race that day, finishing in third behind I Am Maximus and Found A Fifty – form which is far stronger than anything else in this field.

He stepped up to three miles for his next start, and found it a little bit of a stretch, so the drop back to this intermediate trip for The Plate will suit him to a tee. He should make a real impact here with that Graded form in his resume, and I think he is the ideal sort for this race.

Day 4 – The Martin Pipe - No Ordinary Joe @ 10/1

The final race of the entire Festival also makes up the final leg of my Lucky 15. No Ordinary Joe was a massive eye-catcher on his last start at Kempton, and I think that sets him up perfectly for the Martin Pipe. He finished second in the race last year, behind Iroko, off a mark of 139 and this year he comes in just 1lb higher, so he has to have some respect in this field.

What was really notable about his run at Kempton last time out, was the way he moved through the race so smoothly, but it’s fair to say that had a lot to do with some superb riding by Kevin Brogan. He brings course and distance form into the race again this year and looks to be coming good just at the right time for Cheltenham, so I think he has to finish in the frame.

My Festival Handicaps Lucky 15 (EW)

  • Boodles Juvenile Hurdle (Day 1) - Cossack Chach @ 16/1
  • Grand Annual Chase (Day 2) – Madara @ 8/1
  • The Festival Plate (Day 3) - Letsbeclearaboutit @ 11/1
  • Martin Pipe (Day 4) - No Ordinary Joe @ 10/1

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