The countdown to the 2020 Cheltenham Festival is underway. This year’s Festival is running from 10th -13th March, the event features several grade one races including the Cheltenham Gold Cup which is the highlight of the Festival as well as being the most prestigious race of the entire jump season.
With less than thirty days to go, we have a good idea of horses form and race entries so here are our ones to watch in detail for the 4-day event.
Race: Queen Mother Champion Chase
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Owner: Mrs Patricia Pugh
Name: Paisley Park
Race: Stayer’s Hurdle
Trainer: Emma Lavelle
Owner: Andrew Gemmell
Race: Gold Cup
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Owner: Kemboy/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp Syndicate
Two other horses to look out for depending on which race their connections choose to race them in are Faugheen and Thyme Hill.
Thyme Hill is unbeaten in Novice Hurdles. I like Thyme Hill for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle for which he is around 10/1. Although, he is 5/1 favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle. A decision on which race to run in will be taken only a few days before and will be dependent on the likely ground conditions and potential opposition. If he runs in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle he is likely to face Envoi Allen who will be a hot favourite as he has been impressive in every race and is unbeaten in 8 starts but I think Thyme Hill who is trained by Phillip Hobbs is a solid each way bet if connections choose to run in this race.
Faugheen won the Champion Hurdle in 2015 and numerous other grade one races. He was sent chasing at the age of 11 and now having turned 12 last month is a winner of all three novice chases including two grade ones. No one knows which race he will contest but it is likely to be either Marsh Chase or RSA Chase although connections could take a flyer and go for one of the championship races. The Willie Mullins trained horse must be watched and enjoyed regardless of which race he contests.
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