Cheltenham tips: 5 long-range fancies for the 2024 Festival
An early look at Cheltenham tips for the 2024 Festival
The 2024 Festival may be a long way off but it is never too early to be having a look at Cheltenham tips for ante-post punters to consider.
We’ve picked out five long-range fancies that could storm up the Prestbury Park hill next March, so fingers crossed everything goes to plan over the winter.
Was bought for big money by legendary owner JP McManus after winning his first three bumpers for the Gleeson family and that proved a shrewd investment.
A Dream To Share went on to be a fast-finishing scorer from Fact To File in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham before securing an emphatic success over Tullyhill at the Punchestown Festival.
Veteran trainer John Kiely beamed: “JP was a great man to go out and buy him, but he bought a nice horse. He’s a great battler, he battles well and that’s a big plus. From here on now I’d say he’ll learn to jump. This horse is worth getting up for in the morning.”
Following the announcement that Champion Hurdle hotpot Constitution Hill will stay over the smaller obstacles, it makes sense for Willie Mullins to target this race for his 2023 Triumph Hurdle star.
Stepping up in trip shouldn’t be a problem for Lossiemouth, who galloped on strongly all the way up the hill when beating Gala Marceau here last season, before following up in fine style at Punchestown.
“You think you are buying nice horses all the time but this filly looks to be a cut above,” said Mullins. “I’m looking forward to maybe the Mares’ Hurdle next year. Normally, those juveniles work into staying hurdlers…she has huge reserves and she’s sound as a pound.”
Mullins has Energumene eyeing a hat-trick of wins in this race, a feat only achieved once before by Badsworth Boy from 1983 to 1985, but the nine-year-old may have to make way for the new kid on the block.
Stablemate El Fabiolo was sensational when storming clear of Jonbon in what looked a high-class renewal of the Arkle last term and backed that up with an easy victory at Punchestown to extend his unbeaten record over fences to four.
“He looks all over a two-miler,” declared the trainer. “He’s improving all the time and he can go up in trip, I’d have no problem going two and a half as he’s nice and relaxed, but the way he does things over two miles, he may stay at that.”
Nicky Henderson’s charge bounced back from that loss to El Fabiolo by claiming a Grade One double in the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree and the Celebration Chase at Sandown, when venturing into open company.
The brother of Douvan has yet to be tried beyond two miles under Rules but showed plenty of stamina when staying on strongly at the Esher track and has a three-mile point-to-point win in Ireland on his CV, so stepping up in distance to avoid El Fabiolo looks the way to go.
Mullins and Rich Ricci have another exciting prospect to look forward to in this fellow French import, who enjoyed a lucrative campaign over hurdles last term and will hopefully be kept back from going over fences.
He landed an €80,000 Leopardstown handicap carrying 11st 12lb before chasing home stablemate Impaire Et Passe in the Ballymore at Cheltenham and then romping home by 10 lengths in the three-mile Grade One novice at Punchestown.
“He has the option of going chasing, but we’d have to have a good look at keeping him over hurdles,” commented Mullins. “We’ll get home and think about it but what I saw there, the way he improved going that extra trip, he looks to have the Stayers’ Hurdle written all over him.”
All odds and market correct at date of publication