Gordon Elliott ended Willie Mullins Cheltenham Festival top trainer reign last year, his six winners at the festival was enough to take the crown. However, this year bettors are expecting a previous winner to take over the mantle.Bet £10 get £20!
Nicky Henderson has won the leading trainer award on three occasions, the last being back in 2012, when his yard landed seven winners. Despite being the third favourite in the market (5/2), Henderson has proven a popular choice wither punters. Just over 66% of bets on the top trainer market have been on the Brit, some way ahead of the second most popular selection, Gordon Elliott (9%).
The Champion trainer can pretty much bank on Altior securing him a Festival win following a dominant return to the track at Newbury, but what’s making the bettors so confident about the rest of his yard?
We’ve picked out his front-runners below:
The King George winner is set to go off favourite for the Gold Cup following a five race unbeaten streak. Henderson’s nine-year-old tasted Cheltenham success when he rather fortunately pipped Whisper in last year’s RSA.
Last year’s Champion Hurdle winner is set to go off a very short price favourite in the Champion Hurdle this year, with his main competition coming from Faugheen and My Tent Or Yours. The latter being another Henderson trained horse.
Top Notch was narrowly beaten by Yorkhill in the JLT Novices’ Chase last year, and heads into this festival second favourite to Un De Sceaux for the Ryanair Chase. The seven-year-old use this weekend’s Ascot Chase as his festival warm-up and the 11/2 for the Ryanair won’t be around for very long should he taste victory.
JP McManus’ four-year-old is somewhat of a Cheltenham specialist, winning her three races at the famous track to date. Apples Shakira is currently 3/1 favourite for the Triumph Hurdle, but some suggest she may go for the Mares Novices.
Gold Present 12/1 favourite for the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase
We have a dream 8/1 for the Triumph Hurdle
L’ami Serge 12/1 for the Stayers Hurdle
On The Blind Side 13/2 for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle
Jenkins 14/1 for the Coral Cup
Santini 9/1 for the Albert Bartlett
Chef Des Obeaux 14/1 for the Albert Bartlett
Countister 12/1 for the Mares Novices Hurdle
OK Corral 14/1 for the Coral Cup
Find all of the above horses on our dedicated Cheltenham Festival ante-post page.