Who Will Be The Horses To Watch At Cheltenham 2022?
The 2022 Cheltenham Festival is quickly approaching, with the opening day of the biggest National Hunt meeting of the year taking place on Tuesday, 15th March. Who is leading the odds on the best horse racing bookmakers?
Once again, Irish-trained horses will be looking to maintain the dominance that they shown at the Festival in 2021.
Still, there is a new wave of British runners that could be best placed to throw down challenges in the biggest races. But, which horses will be the biggest stars at the Cheltenham Festival this year?
The Cheltenham Festival will get underway with the G1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and it could shape up to be one of the most thrilling races of the week.
Irish-trained Sir Gerhard leads the charge for the visitors, but it has been all about the Nicky Henderson pair of Constitution Hill and Jonbon in this division so far this season. We like the chances of the prior mentioned Constitution Hill, who has dazzled since being beaten by a head in a point-to-point.
His most recent display at the start of January in the G1 Tolworth was simply stunning, as he beat Jetoile by a 12-length distance on a testing day for conditions. No matter the surface, this five-year-old looks more than capable, and he could be one of the emerging British stars coming out of the Festival this year.
Galopin Des Champs
One race that looks almost certain to be going to the Irish is the RSA Chase. Galopin Des Champs still holds an entry for the Stayers’ Hurdle, but the Novices’ Chase looks to be the route that Willie Mullins takes with this supremely talented six-year-old. After winning three from two from five over hurdles in 2021, he was sent chasing this season.
Galopin Des Champs was the ‘wow’ performance of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, as he won by a massive 22-length distance from Ain’t That A Shame in the Ballymaloe Relish Beginners Chase. The result on paper just doesn’t do the performance enough credit, as the six-year-old jumped extremely well throughout and was prominent throughout. He eased clear under Paul Townend, and even the impressive Bravemansgame shouldn’t stop his clear momentum.
From the stars of tomorrow to the star of right now. There is not a more exciting horse in training anywhere in the world than Honeysuckle at present. The eight-year-old mare made her reappearance at Fairyhouse in November, and won the G1 Hatton Grace’s Hurdle by an emphatic eight lengths from Ronald Pump.
She, and the superstar that is Rachel Blackmore, dominated the G1 Champion Hurdle 12 months ago, winning by a commanding six and a half lengths from Sharjah, before she ended her 2021 campaign with victory over the same rival in the G1 Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.
She is a perfect 13 from 13 over hurdles and has looked every bit as unbeaten as that record would suggest for trainer Henry De Bromhead. There looks to be no horse in the division that come close to stopping the mighty Honeysuckle regaining her crown in March.
The featured race of the week takes place on Friday, as Minella Indo looks to win a second straight Gold Cup. Returning two-time winner Al Boum Photo is also in the frame for Willie Mullins, but we like the chances of Galvin for trainer Gordon Elliott.
Elliott has been in excellent form since returning to training, and looks to claim a number of huge winners at the Festival in 2022. Galvin has been in exceptional form so far this season, and has won two from three.
His only defeat came against Frodon in the G1 Champion Chase at Down Royal, but he stayed on strong against the free-running British raider. His best performance to date came at Leopardstown over Christmas, as he claimed success in the G1 Savills Chase.
His final kick towards the line was ultimately enough to claim victory over A Plus Tard, who was second in the Gold Cup last year. This eight-year-old looks to have everything going in his favour, and has an outstanding chance of winning a second Gold Cup for Elliott.