The biggest horse racing event on the calendar is fast approaching once again, as the Cheltenham Festival is the week on the schedule where the very best jumps horses in training look to land prestigious honours and immortalise their legacy forever. 

The four-day Festival gets underway in the Cotwolds on Tuesday, March 12, with the feature of the week being staged on the Friday in the form of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. There will be some big races throughout the week, but who could be some of the standout performers at the Festival in 2024? Which horses should be included in a trifecta in horse racing?

Wide-Open Renewal Of The Supreme

The Supreme kicks off the four-day meeting, as people miles away will hear the ‘Cheltenham Roar’ for the first time during the week. There have been some standout winners of the Supreme in recent years, but the 2024 edition looks to be one of the most open renewals in recent memory. 

Nicky Henderson’s Jeriko Du Reponet has been the big talking horse throughout the season, and the five-year-old has been faultless on his two starts over hurdles. Ballyburn and last season’s Bumper winner A Dream To Share will be the leading Irish contenders, but the former could yet opt for the Ballymore. 

At this stage, Farren Glory could be an early standout contender at the prices. The winner of the G1 Royal Bond was running a storming race in the G1 Tolworth, before falling in the closing stages at Aintree when looking the most likely winner. 

Constitution Hill To Continue Dominance

It’s hard to express just how dominant Constitution Hill has been over hurdles throughout his career for Nicky Henderson, and there has been no evidence to suggest that the seven-year-old should be losing any sleep surrounding his chances of winning a second straight G1 Champion Hurdle. 

The superstar is already as short as 1/3 after winning the G1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, and the lack of emerging contenders means it could be a watching brief for many. 

State Man looks primed to chase home Constitution Hill once again this year after landing a ninth win on his 12 start when getting the better of Impaire Et Passe in the G1 Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown. But, it could be a matter of by how far Henderson’s superstar wins by at Cheltenham.  

El Fabiolo vs Jonbon

Wednesday’s featured race at the Festival comes in the form of the prestigious G1 Queen Mother Champion Chase. As the betting would suggest, this very much appears to be a two-horse race for the Grade One honours this year. El Fabiolo has been foot-perfect over fences for training maestro Willie Mullins, winning on all five starts over the biggest obstacles. 

That includes a five-length win over Jonbon in last season’s G1 Arkle over two miles. He returned to action with a staggering performance at Cork to beat Fil Dor by over four lengths. However, Jonbon has improved this season for Nicky Henderson, and looked better than ever when winning the G2 Schloer Chase at Cheltenham in November. 

An early showdown between the stars has already been teased, as we could see an early glimpse of the superstars at Ascot in the G1 Clarence House Chase in late January. 

Allaho Bidding For Third Ryanair Prize

It has been an excellent training performance by Willie Mullins to get Allaho back to the very top of the game after missing well over a year through injury. The ten-year-old was professional on his return before being thrown back into Grade 1 company for the King George on Boxing Day. 

However, he ran with credit over the extended trip to finish third at Kempton, and a renewed bid for a third Ryanair Chase is now on the agenda. However, he could have a number of likely contenders for the Grade 1 honor, including Stage Star, who has already landed notable success at Cheltenham this year in the form of the Paddy Power Gold Cup. 

However, Allaho’s biggest rival could come in the form of stablemate Appreciate It, who could be a major player if connections decide to drop the ten-year-old back in trip. 

Galopin Des Champs Targeting A Second Gold Cup

The big race of the week is the G1 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and Galopin Des Champs will be targeting a second straight victory in the Grade One for Willie Mullins. The eight-year-old was sensational in the Gold Cup last year, pulling seven lengths clear of the field. 

He finally got back on track in a star-studded renewal of the G1 Savills, beating Gerri Colombe by a staggering 23 lengths. That form once again makes him the one to beat this year. 

Fastorslow has already beaten Galopin Des Champs twice in the last 12 months, and could be the leading danger based on those wins. Meanwhile, Shishkin could be the leading home chance for Nicky Henderson after running a career-best race over the extended trip for a long way before falling at the second last in the G1 King George.  

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