Prestbury Cup odds: Britain v Ireland Cheltenham Festival betting
The annual showdown between British and Irish trainers at the Cheltenham Festival has been a one-sided affair in recent years and that trend is expected to continue.
Having recorded a whopping 23 victories in 2021, Ireland emerged victorious 12 months ago by a margin of 18-10.
That was a closer contest than the final scoreline suggested, though, with Britain just one down heading into day four, before drawing a Friday blank.
What happens in 2023?
Irish handler Willie Mullins again dominates the Cheltenham Festival top trainer odds, with Nicky Henderson second favourite for GB and Gordon Elliott rated the only other realistic contender.
Henderson is the sole British handler to average more than two winners at the last five renewals of this four-day spectacular and will be looking to strike early with Champion Hurdle hotpot Constitution Hill.
For the home team to turn things around, though, Paul Nicholls must rekindle his old glory days, when the likes of Kauto Star and Denman shone so brightly.
The Ditcheat handler has incredibly drawn a blank for the past two years but could hit back with Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle hope Hermes Allen and King George hero Bravemansgame in the Gold Cup.
Rising star Dan Skelton bagged a double in 2019 but needs to transfer his fine form across the rest of the season to Prestbury Park.
Day one could set the tone, with Ireland possessing the superior strength in depth, but Britain boasting a few key contenders.
The aforementioned Constitution Hill is backed up by Seven Barrows stablemates Jonbon in the Arkle and Maries Rock, who bids to defend her Mares’ Hurdle crown.
Anything less than a decent lead heading into day four would make things difficult, though, as Friday looks set to prove another Irish benefit.
Handicaps could prove crucial
The UK handicapper has the tough job of evaluating form on both sides of the Irish Sea and British trainers will be hoping he comes down hard on the raiding party.
However, past seasons have seen shrewd operators like County Meath handler Elliott keep one step ahead by leaving a bit left in the tank for some unexposed types.
Having trained 34 Cheltenham Festival winners already, he will be keen to enjoy some belated birthday celebrations after turning 45 at the start of the month.
“We’ve got a nice bunch, with a few going under the radar I think, so it’s exciting and I can’t wait to get over,” declared Elliott.
“We’ve probably started the season as easy as we’ve ever been to our horses. A lot needed the run first time out, but we’re getting there now.
“We’ve a good bunch of horses and it is exciting times. We’ve got some nice bumper horses, as well as novice hurdlers and chasers as well.”
Mullins remains the man the British fear most, though, with the County Carlow maestro having sent over a record 88 Festival winners, including 10 last season!
The 66-year-old said: “Getting winners at Cheltenham is a relief. We are just aiming to get on the board if we can and hopefully some of the right ones will win.
“They say we have 14 favourites for Cheltenham and around half the favourites win every year, so I think so that’s not a bad number to have.
“Every inch of ground is fought for at Cheltenham from start to finish and everyone thinks they have a chance.
“It is just immense compared to normal day-to-day racing. Nothing is given but that is what makes it special and what makes it hard to win there.”
Prestbury Cup odds
9/1 Great Britain
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All odds and market correct at date of publication