Cheltenham Festival: How leading runners for big races have fared this season

A look at the form on offer...

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

We’re on the road to the Cheltenham Festival with the leading lights of the National Hunt game coming out to play.

A number of clues for all four championship races – the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle and Gold Cup – are set to be dropped over the coming months.

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The Cheltenham Festival 2023 takes place between Tuesday, March 14 to Friday, March 17 and it’s fair to say Paddy’s pretty excited already.

The latest antepost Cheltenham Festival odds can be found on the Paddy Power website and app, otherwise our summary of the leading contenders for the big races is below.

Champion Hurdle

Constitution Hill is the red-hot favourite in Paddy Power’s Champion Hurdle betting after crushing 2020 winner and stablemate Epatante by 12l in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and Honeysuckle losing her unbeaten record at Fairyhouse. Nicky Henderson’s stable star further enhanced his reputation by winning the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton from Epatante without coming off the bridle once again.

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Constitution Hill Champion Hurdle (Non Runner Money Back)

State Man, the winner of last season’s County Hurdle, is three from three in Grade 1s after beating Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle to add to victories in the Morgiana and Matheson earlier in the campaign.

2022 Triumph Hurdle hero Vauban appears to be the best of the rest after trailing stablemate State Man in the Matheson Hurdle and Irish Champion Hurdle.

Owner Kenny Alexander appears to have ruled Honeysuckle out of defending her Champion Hurdle crown after defeat in the Irish equivalent at the Dublin Racing Festival. A crack at a second Mares’ Hurdle or retirement to the breeding shed appears to be on the cards for the superstar.

Champion Chase

The Champion Chase has been blown wide open after Editeur Du Gite won the rescheduled Clarence House at Cheltenham and Gentleman De Mee landed the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown.

The shock winners are towards the top of Paddy Power’s Champion Chase odds but last season’s scorer Energumene has regained his position at the head of our non runner money back market after stablemate Blue Lord failed to fire at the Dublin Racing Festival.

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Energumene Champion Chase (Non Runner Money Back)

Edwardstone is next in the betting despite failing to win on his last two starts. The hero of last season’s Arkle blitzed the field to land the Grade 1 Tingle Creek on his first start in open company before shipping jockey Tom Cannon in the Desert Orchid and placing second in the rescheduled Clarence House.

Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle

Teahupoo has emerged as the favourite in our Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle betting after causing the upset of the season when landing the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle to end Honeysuckle’s unbeaten record and Gordon Elliott was proven correct when suggesting a longer trip will bring out further improvement as he routed the field in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park.

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Teahupoo Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle (Non Runner Money Back)

Joseph O’Brien’s Home By The Lee is also prominent in our early market after impressive victories in the Lismullen Hurdle and Christmas Hurdle.

Gold Tweet caused the biggest shock on Festival Trials Day when landing the Cleeve Hurdle. Although he still needs to be supplement, the French raider is towards the head of the market.

Blazing Khal remains prominent in the early market despite being out of action for a year and trainer Charles Byrnes admitting that the gelding is making slow progress on his return to fitness.

Flooring Porter has won the last two editions of the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle but is only 50/50 to appear at the Cheltenham Festival after a training setback.

Klassical Dream could only finish fifth in last season’s renewal and kicked off the current campaign placing second in the Hatton’s Grace ahead of Honeysuckle.

Ashdale Bob is winless since April 2021 but has run with credit on three appearances this season including a second place in the Christmas Hurdle.

Gold Cup

Galopin Des Champs cemented his place at the head of Paddy Power’s Gold Cup betting with a smooth victory in the re-arranged John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown. He made it two from two for the campaign by landing the Irish Gold Cup.

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Galopin Des Champs Gold Cup (Non Runner Money Back)

Grand National winner Noble Yeats has put himself firmly into the Gold Cup picture after displaying an incredible turn of foot to score in the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree. A third-place finish in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase has not hampered his position with punters.

A Plus Tard, the winner of last season’s Gold Cup, was pulled up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock before missing the Savills Chase on vet’s advice, which has seen Henry de Bromhead’s gelding tumble down the market.

National Hunt Chase winner Stattler, three from three over fences, shaped well  on seasonal reappearance in a narrow defeat behind Minella Indo in the New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore – a race that was the regular starting point for dual Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo. He followed up by placing second in the Irish Gold Cup.

Paul Nicholls has indicated Bravemansgame will be trained for the Gold Cup after delivering in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. The Ditcheat handler has not won the Blue Riband since Kauto Star in 2009.

Ahoy Senor crashed down the market after a trio of poor runs before coming good to land the Cotswold Chase and re-establish himself in the Gold Cup picture.

Conflated could be targeted at the Ryanair Chase to give owner Michael O’Leary victory in the race his company sponsors but a stirring display in the Savills Chase suggests the Gold Cup trip will be no problem for his horse.

Read More on the Cheltenham Festival 2023

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