For many, what makes the Cheltenham Festival extra special is the sudden influx of Irish that flock to Prestbury Park. Whether it’s the horses, trainers or racegoers who come over from the Emerald Isle, every single one of them brings something to the meeting as they look to head back home with a victory.
Willie Mullins has been dominating the Irish racing scene recently and has come over to England and pulled out some major wins with the likes of Cousin Vinny, Mikael D’Haguenet and Quevega all bagging glory at the Cheltenham Festival and this year is no different.
Mullins will bring a strong array of horses across the Irish Sea looking to dethrone the top English trainers including Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls. However, it won’t only be Mullins who brings some quality charges from Ireland but a plethora of handlers will enter their horses in the biggest festival in National Hunt folklore.
Incidentally, bookmakers are pricing up the amount of winners that will be Irish-trained with over 6.5 being 11/8 favourite. Under 4.5 is 2/1 and between the two is available at around 15/8.
Quevega will be most people’s certainty in the Mares Hurdle, whilst Enda Bolger is synonymous with the Cross Country Chase and is bound to bring over some classy individuals for that renewal. You then look at the Championship Races with Hurricane Fly, Big Zeb, Solwhit and Pandorama all likely to go well in the four big contests, so the 11/8 for over 6.5 Irish-trained winners could be the way to go.
Nicholls and Henderson appear to be fighting it out between them in the top trainer contest at 6/4 and 13/8 respectively, but at 8/1 Mullins could cause a surprise and could be the each way banker.