Join Steve Mullington for his Cheltenham Festival ante-post tips in the build up to the 2024 meeting...
Full List Antepost Cheltenham Festival Tips:
Tip 1: Galopin Des Champs to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup (06/11)
Tip 2: Jonbon to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase (13/11)
Tip 3: Brighterdaysahead to win the Mares Novice Hurdle (20/11)
Tip 4: Burdett Road to win the Triumph Hurdle (27/11)
Cheltenham 2024 Antepost Tip 4
All roads now lead to the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March for Burdett Road, who was snipped from 20/1 to a general 6/1 in our horse racing odds, after landing the Triumph Hurdle Trial Juvenile Hurdle on Saturday 18th November at Cheltenham’s November Meeting.
There hasn’t been a British-trained winner of the Triumph Hurdle since 2019 but there is now great optimism around Burdett Road breaking that Irish stranglehold in 2024.
After making a winning debut over hurdles at Huntingdon, the James Owen-trained gelding, who was victorious in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot when trained by Michael Bell, looked real classy individual when comprehensively slamming his rivals in the Grade Two warm-up.
The Gredley Family-owned three-year-old is certainly an exciting prospect and very much reminds me of Tritonic a few season ago. A Royal Ascot winner from the Flat with the cruising speed to handle a strongly-run race is always going to have a fantastic chance in the Triumph Hurdle.
Speak after the Trial, James Owen said: “A lot of the hurdles he hasn’t seen, but he has learnt a lot. On good ground he is going to be exciting come March.
“I’m in a privileged position to have these horses, but I’m delighted it is going well. We had to do one of two things, either make it or drop him in, and we have done the right thing.
“He was a bit more amenable today as he settled and jumped better. He has got some engine. He is tough. For a Flat horse he has got plenty of guts about him. I knew he would keep coming. Harry (Cobden) is a lot cooler than me as I’ve been so nervous, but I love it.
“This is massive. We have brought a few hunter chasers here in the past and you always go home thinking it is so hard to win here, but to get the job done is brilliant. This is a Triumph Hurdle trial and that is now the aim. On good ground he will be exciting.”
Who can challenge Burdett Road in the Triumph Hurdle?
Gordon Elliott’s Kala Conti was an effortless winner at Navan on her Irish debut and could prove to be a formidable opponent at Cheltenham should she line up in the Triumph.
The French-bred filly won her sole start at home (Compiegne) by 10 lengths in May before changing hands and coming to Elliott’s yard.
Owned by Robcour, Kala Conti can exude in the juvenile division this term and she is not the daftest 25/1 shot in the Cheltenham betting odds, that you could back on in the antepost market for the Triumph hurdle.
Cheltenham 2024 Antepost Tip 3
Also featuring in my Jumps Horses To Follow 2023/24 article and also my Gordon Elliott Stable tour, Brighterdaysahead has now become the 4/1 favourite for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle in our Cheltenham races betting odds and I believe she will land it next March.
Brighterdaysahead confirmed her lofty reputation and remained unbeaten after winning the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Feathard Lady Mares Novice Hurdle at Down Royal on November 10th.
Stepping up into Grade 3 company after winning easily at Thurles, the four-year-old filly was taking on horses with a lot more experience than herself.
Jack Kennedy gave her plenty of room at her hurdles and bar a couple of minor mistakes, she jumped much more fluently than she did at Thurles.
Drawing up alongside Banntown Girl at the second last, she was driven out to win by four and three-quarter lengths and will have come on plenty for the outing.
Speaking after the race, Gordon Elliott said: "No (need to go beyond two miles), but I’d say she will be better when she goes (further). I’d say she is a mare that could definitely step up in trip. She hasn’t put a foot wrong so far, so she is exciting.
"She is in the Royal Bond and obviously I will talk to Michael and Eddie (O’Leary of Gigginstown House Stud) and see. She has got the pace for two miles. I think we will keep her in her own category (mares) at the moment."
Early entries show Brighterdaysahead entered up for the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on December 2nd, so you may want to have your antepost interest on her before that race takes place.
Who can beat Brighterdaysahead at the Cheltenham Festival?
Trainer Fergal O'Brien has never quite managed to train a Cheltenham Festival winner but really believes this season he has a live chance with his mare Dysart Enos.
Unbeaten in three bumpers including one at Grade 2 level at Aintree, the five-year-old did everything right on her hurdles debut at Huntingdon, rocking up by an impressive 7½ lengths.
Justifying her 1-7 odds, O’Brien said after the race: "It's obviously relief more than anything when they go off at that price but she'd been flying at home and we are thrilled with that.
Unlike last year when she had a clear run, she picked up a few bugs early on but it was always the plan to come here and then go for the Listed race at Newbury on December 2.
"You have to keep a lid on her and it took an age for Paddy Brennan to pull her up, which is a good sign. All being well, I would say one hundred percent that she could be our best chance yet of a festival winner, but that's a long way off."
If you think O’Brien’s Dysart Enos is the mare to side with rather than Elliott’s Brighterdaysahead then her current price is 7/1 in our horse racing odds.
That price may disappear in a flash however after her Dec 2nd race.
Cheltenham 2024 Antepost Tip 2
Jonbon was the hot favourite to win the Arkle Novices' Chase at last season’s Festival but had to play second fiddle to Willie Mullins’ El Fabiolo. A year later and probably a much stronger horse, I believe he can land this year’s Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
Currently trading in our horse racing betting as a 7/1 shot, Jonbon has always held a lofty reputation and he won his point-to-point in November 2020 and was snapped up afterwards by leading owner JP McManus for £570,000.
Furthermore, he is a brother to the legendary Douvan too which gave him some notoriety straight away.
A winner of 10 of his 12 starts to date, Jonbon is without a doubt going to be one of the leading lights of the Nicky Henderson stable this season.
If all the Hendo chit-chat on the social media platforms isn’t primarily focussed around Constitution Hill, then in the second instance it will be all about his top chaser Jonbon.
The four-time Grade 1 winner is expected to make his seasonal reappearance in the Shloer Chase on the final day of Cheltenham's November meeting.
The Arkle runner-up could take on last year's Arkle winner Edwardstone and Nube Negra, who has won the race for the last two years in what will be a hot renewal of the Grade 2 contest.
If he comes out of the race with a glowing report then it will be all systems go for a Cheltenham tilt of some description next March.
In a recent open day at Henderson’s Seven Barrows, the Ryanair was touted as a possible target, but Henderson wouldn't be sure on his stamina in the short term.
He told reporters: "I was considering stepping up to two and a half miles, but Sandown probably told us to stay at two miles for now.
"He has developed both physically and mentally and let’s hope he has a very bright future."
Can anyone stop Jonbon winning the Champion Chase?
With dual Champion Chase winner Energumene currently out of the picture, El Fabiolo could well fill that void for Willie Mullins in the two-mile chase division.
The first port of call for last year's Arkle winner will be the Hilly Way Chase before a course is plotted to the Champion Chase in March. If El Fabiolo fails to win at Cork then I can see Jonbon’s price taking an immediate tumble so place your ante-post bets early.
Those of you looking for a big priced outsider in the Champion Chase may want to give Captain Guinness the once over.
Second in last year’s renewal and the runner-up to Jonbon in the Celebration Chase, Henry de Bromhead’s eight-year-old has to be considered each-way at 25/1 in our Cheltenham betting odds.
Cheltenham 2024 Antepost Tip 1
It may sound highly unoriginal but I cannot see any reason why Galopin Des Champs (NAP) shouldn’t go back-to-back in the Cheltenham Gold Cup of 2024. He is currently priced at 2/1 in our 888sport Cheltenham races betting odds.
Galopin Des Champs' supremacy in the staying chase division last season was there for all to see and providing last year’s Gold Cup hasn’t left its mark on him he’s sure to be a dominant force once again this term.
Former jockey Ruby Walsh is slightly concerned about him repeating the feat, saying in a recent podcast “If I have a doubt or a worry for him, it’s bouncing back to win a Gold Cup.
“When you run in a race like the one he ran in at Cheltenham, to me it was a proper Gold Cup, a proper gallop, end to end, with the lesser horses dropping out as the cream rose to the top and you were left with the right two going to the second last.”
I personally think Walsh has got his wellbeing ideas wrong and that a super fit Galopin Des Champion will return and be far superior to any other horse in the staying division this season.
Galopin Des Champs, trained by Willie Mullins for owner Audrey Turley, won a thrilling edition of the Cheltenham Festival showpiece, which saw him jump the final fence together with Bravemansgame before powering clear up the hill to win by seven lengths.
To be fair to him he did it with consummate ease. Understandably he was crowned the leading Jumps horse of the 2022/23 season in the Anglo-Irish Jumps Classifications with a rating of 179.
That Gold Cup victory followed comfortable wins in the John Durkan at Punchestown and the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown and put the seven-year-old 4lbs clear of his nearest rivals at the top of the standings.
Can any other horse stop Galopin De Champ winning the Gold Cup?
Looking through the early antepost betting for next March’s Cheltenham Gold Cup I am not overly enamoured with many of the other contenders to be honest. The only other horse I am giving some sort of a squeak to is the Nicky Henderson-trained Shishkin (14/1 in our horse racing betting).
Henderson believes Shishkin can challenge Galopin De Champ for supremacy in the staying division this season and ultimately to have his measure in the biggest prize of them all – the Gold Cup.
A reinvigorated Shishkin stayed on strongly to capture the Aintree Bowl Chase in April and gave connections plenty of indicators that he could be a force to be reckoned in races over three miles going forward.
A tilt at the King George will be on the Henderson itinerary with the Cheltenham Gold Cup surely a possible target next March.
With Bravemansgame looking like a slow burner, it may simply come down to potential super star Gerri Colombe and class act Shishkin being the only conceivable dangers to Galopin De Champs retaining his crown.
When is the Cheltenham Festival?
The Cheltenham Festival 2024 will take place between Tuesday 12th and Friday 15th March.
This year Cheltenham Racecourse will celebrate 100 years of the Gold Cup, the pinnacle event of the National Hunt calendar.
This is the one race they all long to win and every horse, jockey, trainer, breeder, owner and racing fan will have their sights set on the Cotswolds.
Four breathtaking days of top class action will see a total of 28 races contested and numerous champions crowned.
There will be plenty of interest in the horse racing betting too that week. So, what can we expect each day at the Cheltenham Festival?
DAY 1 – Champion Day (12th March)
The Grade 1 Supreme Hurdle raises the curtain to the Cheltenham Festival with a famous roar. Last year we saw Marine National land the spoils for trainer Irish trainer Barry Connell.
The feature race of the day is the Champion Hurdle and last year Constitution Hill came home in emphatic style under Nico de Boinville for Nicky Henderson and owner Michael Buckley.
Jumping with speed, precision and accuracy, the hurdling superstar landed Nicky Henderson his ninth Champion Hurdle winner spanning the years 1985 to 2023.
DAY 2 – Festival Wednesday (13th March)
Energumene has won the last two renewals of the Queen Mother Champion Chase but he was ruled out of contention for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival after suffering a setback in the autumn.
The Real Whacker took the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase by a short head from Gordon Elliott’s Gerri Colombe.
It was trainer Patrick Neville’s biggest victory to date and they will be targeting the Cheltenham Gold Cup with him. He will prove to be a popular pick in the Cheltenham betting odds.
DAY 3 – St Patrick’s Thursday (14th March)
The Cheltenham Festival is a second home to the Irish and St Patrick’s Thursday reflects this both on and off the track. The day itself features the Ryanair Chase and the Stayers Hurdle.
Envoi Allen gave trainer Henry de Bromhead an emotional victory at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase, while the Stayers Hurdle went to the ever tough and consistent Sire Du Berlais for the Cheltenham Festival’s most successful of owner all time - JP McManus.
DAY 4 – Gold Cup Day (15th March)
The day features the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the blue riband race of jumping. The pre-race tension, the exhilaration of the race and the jubilations afterwards make it a truly remarkable day.
The 2023 renewal was won by the Willie Mullins-trained Galopin Des Champs. Mullins has now won three of the last five renewals of the race, with fellow Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead winning the other two.
There is every chance that Galopin Des Champs can repeat the feat of his former stable mate Al Boum Photo and win back-to-back Cheltenham Gold Cups in what is the centenary year. What an achievement that would be.
How do you get to the Cheltenham Festival?
By Road: Cheltenham Racecourse, Evesham Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 4SH
By Rail: The nearest train station is Cheltenham Spa. There is a dedicated Races bus service for the Cheltenham Festival from Cheltenham Spa Railway Station.
*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*
*Prices correct at the time of writing*