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Katie Walsh: My horses to watch for every day of Cheltenham

09 Mar | news | BY Katie Walsh | MIN READ TIME |
Katie Walsh: My horses to watch for every day of Cheltenham

The Betway ambassador previews the 2024 Festival with her thoughts on each of the feature races as well as her other fancies on the rest of the card.

TUESDAY

MYSTICAL POWER / is the one for me in the Supreme (13:30), now that Ballyburn is going to the Gallagher on Wednesday. It wasn’t the deepest race that Mystical Power won last time, but they’ll go a good gallop here as they’ll all be mad excited, and that will suit him. There’s more to come and he’s improving which is why he’s difficult to oppose.

The Champion Hurdle (15:30) is for STATE MAN / to lose. It should be straightforward for Paul: buck out and go from the front as you’re on the best horse and you shouldn’t get caught. He’s not a chancy jumper at all, he’s just not the most lightening quick, but that’s OK. He’s a stone better than these horses and he should be winning this as he likes.

I’d go as so far as saying that LOSSIEMOUTH / is a bigger certainty than State Man on day one in the Mares’ Hurdle (16:10). If she ran in the Champion Hurdle, we’d all be saying that she could put it up to State Man, so she should be winning this as she likes. People will expect her to win at the Festival almost as easily as she did on Trials Day back in January.

CORBETTS CROSS / is the best horse in the National Hunt Chase (17:30) and should win, but he’s a very quirky horse as we saw last year when he ran out as he was coming to win the Albert Bartlett. Although I think he’ll win, I’d rather ride Embassy Gardens who is a much safer horse to be on the back of. Either way, it will be a good race.

WEDNESDAY

This could be a really tough day for the bookmakers with a host of horses who should win as they like: BALLYBURN / in the Gallagher (13:30), FACT TO FILE / in the Brown Advisory (14:10) and EL FABIOLO / in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (15:30).

Ballyburn is simply the best novice we’ve seen this year. Fact To File is in a different league in that division and El Fabiolo is the best two-mile chaser whose jumping will get better the faster they go. They’ll be hoping that Edwardstone goes forward and makes it a real test.

Previous Gold Cup and Albert Bartlett winner MINELLA INDO / is another favourite in the Cross Country (16:10). He’s a class act and I’d love to ride him around there. He didn’t run badly on his hunt around the banks at Cheltenham on his previous start and he’s the one they all have to beat.

THURSDAY

If ZANAHIYR / runs in the Turners (13:30) then he could be a massive price. He’s been around a while – so doesn’t feel like a novice chaser – but finished second to Fact To File and then won as he wanted last time. He’s a smart horse who has placed in a Champion Hurdle before and could be a big price in a weak race.

Dad [Ted Walsh] runs GAOTH CHUIL / in the Pertemps (14:10). This has been her target since she won the qualifier at Christmas. She was unlucky and ran really well when second at the Dublin Racing Festival last month and, personally, I wouldn’t swap her for anything else.

I’m a big ENVOI ALLEN / fan. He just loves Cheltenham – every time he turns up, he runs a cracker. He did a good piece of work at home a week or so ago and he’ll be fit and fresh in what is not the deepest of races. I think he’ll win the Ryanair again (14:50).

TEAHUPOO / was a tad unlucky in last year’s Stayers’ (15:30) but has been campaigned differently this year. He’s had just the one run, beating Impaire Et Passe, and he’ll be primed to run the race of his life. Some of the old guard won’t be improving, this fella will be, and I’d love to be on his back.

FRIDAY

SIR GINO / is the rightful favourite in the Triumph (13:30) based on what he’s shown so far. He’s been very good on his two runs to date and you can’t knock him. There’s a slight question around the form of Nicky Henderson’s yard, but you’ll know by Friday how the others have run. If the yard is not firing at all, then you’d have to be looking at Majborough. He ran a corker on his first run for Willie [Mullins] at the Dublin Racing Festival. He’s the best of the rest.

I’d be siding with LECKY WATSON / if he ends up in the Albert Bartlett (14:50). To be honest, I thought he’d win the Gallagher if Ballyburn wasn’t going there. I’d assume he’ll go up in trip to this race now and that wouldn’t put me off. He was a good third in the Lawlor’s of Naas and went into my notebook after that.  

You just can’t look past GALOPIN DES CHAMPS / in the Gold Cup (15:30). He’s looked as good as ever this year and, if he’s on song, he should be capping off another good week for Willie and Paul. Gentlemansgame might have a big run in him, but he lacks the experience at the top level.

Two others I like on Friday are IT’S ON THE LINE / in the Hunters Chase (16:10) and DINOBLUE / in the Mares (16:50). The former has been bought by JP McManus and was unlucky in the race last year, while the latter would have had place prospects in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Visit Betway’s horse racing betting page.

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Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh

Successful former jump jockey who, until 2021, boasted the best ever Grand National finishing position by a female jockey.

Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh

Successful former jump jockey who, until 2021, boasted the best ever Grand National finishing position by a female jockey.