March 12 – CheltenhamSlade Steel – 70

A wide-open and competitive renewal of the festival curtain raiser and it went the way of one of the form horses on paper beforehand, who came here rather than take on Ballyburn in the Gallagher’s on day two. Although he had won over further, his best speed figures we had for him came over the minimum trip and in a truly run event, it was Henry De Bromhead’s inmate’s stamina up the hill that gained the day. Certainly not the most fluent throughout, he probably won with more in hand than the bare margin suggested and one would imagine he will be sent over fences next season, a discipline in which he should have a bright future. Of the rest, runner-up Mystical Power hinted that he was pure speed on his previous outing so he might be better suited by sharper tracks, while the fourth, Asian Master, can be seen to better effect on ground not so testing next time.

March 12 – Cheltenham – Gaelic Warrior – 80

Willie Mullins’ inmate was the subject of much debate in the build up to the festival, many even suggesting he shouldn’t even be running at all, but it soon became apparent that his tendency to edge to his right over fences wasn’t so pronounced as first feared and that ultimately led to him being one of the most impressive winners of the week. Looking at this performance and his one at Limerick over Christmas, it’s to the horse’s great credit and class that he actually managed to win over three miles last season and surely from now he will be campaigned over distances in and around two miles.

March 12 – Cheltenham – Lossiemouth – 76

Sent off one of the shortest priced favourites of the meeting despite slight fears over the trip, Willie Mullins’ mare cast those worries to one side with a display of pure class. The way she travelled before putting her rivals to bed with a smart turn of foot marked her down as one of the more impressive winners all week and it’s worth pointing out her overall time figure and final lap splits were significantly quicker than stable mate State man in the Champion Hurdle. Based on those findings, it makes sense to think connections will train her accordingly next season and at the stand out the currently, she rates a betting proposition for those who are prepared to lock in a long term investment.

March 13 – Cheltenham – Ballyburn – 79

Although Willie Mullins didn’t end up winning the Supreme, the decision to come here rather than the two mile event was totally vindicated and his winning speed figure (79) was the best we have had for any winning novice at the festival in many years. The fact he made the likes of Il Atlantique and Predators Gold look pedestrian in the latter stages is indicative of his qualities and he was even eased down on the run to the line. Quite where his future lies is anyone’s guess but presumably he will end up over fences at some stage and it is easy to see him developing into a Gold Cup contender in a couple of years time.

March 13 – Cheltenham – Unexpected Party – 73

Although the Champion Chase may have fell apart, it is still noticeable that the Grand Annual over the same C&D produced much more favourable figures for the grade and, as a result, the handicap won by Dan Skelton’s inmate could turn out to be strong form. The winner, dropping back down in trip, seemed to appreciate being ridden in a different fashion than on several previous starts and this looks the way forward now for the seven-year-old grey. Based on the data, both Libberty Hunter and Path D’Oroux need speaking about in a favourable light and they remaining interesting going forward, particularly the former when it comes to the Red Rum Chase at Aintree in a month’s time.

March 14 – Cheltenham – Grey Dawning – 81

Arguably the strongest novice chase of the entire festival and the end result and speed figure produced easily backed up that viewpoint. Having been beaten in unlucky circumstances by Ginny’s Destiny earlier in the campaign, connections were clearly keen to exact their revenge and having been ridden throughout with a view to keep tabs on his old rival, Harry Skelton delivered his mount to perfection at the last. Once in front, the son of Flemensfirth found the necessary reserves to maintain his advantage to the line and with the first two home pulling well clear of a stellar field, the form should stand the test in the coming months and beyond.

March 15 – Cheltenham – Marjborough – 71

Once hot ante-post favourite Sir Gino was scratched on account of his stable’s poor form, this juvenile crown was up for grabs and it came as no great surprise to see one of the biggest eye-catchers to come out of the main trial at the DRF step up to the plate. Having tried to cut out the running at the Dublin venue, Willie Mullins’ inmate settled for a minor early role on this occasion and well positioned throughout, he stayed on best of all in the latter stages to get the better of the smooth travelling Kargese. Built to be a chaser, one would imagine he will be asked to go down that route next season and his current odds for the Arkle around the 16-1 mark make for tempting viewing. Of the rest, Nurburgring deserves a special mention in dispatches coming best of those who were held up well off the pace. Given how the race panned out he had no chance of being competitive and surely he will be ridden more aggressively next time.

March 15 – Cheltenham – Galopin De Champs – 82

Last but not least we focus on the Gold Cup and Willie Mullins’ gelding produced another performance that has to go up there with some of the best in recent times. Ridden a little closer to the pace than he was the previous year, the son of Saint Des Saints always looked in total control and once sent to the front after two out, the result was never in doubt. Despite one or two bumps in the road here and there, he has been pretty flawless for the last two seasons and it will take a decent one to lower his colours in his bid to emulate Best Mate.

12-Mar-24 Cheltenham 1-30 Hurdle Slade Steel 70 3.18.2 -0.6 TRUE
12-Mar-24 Cheltenham 2-10 Chase Gaelic Warrior 80 2.53.2 -8.7 TRUE
12-Mar-24 Cheltenham 2-50 Chase Chianti Classico 64 3.04.7 11.5
12-Mar-24 Cheltenham 3-30 Hurdle State Man 69 3.20.4 2.2
12-Mar-24 Cheltenham 4-10 Hurdle Lossiemouth 76 3.18.8 0.6 TRUE
12-Mar-24 Cheltenham 4-50 Hurdle Lark In The Mornin 56 3.24.4 6.2
12-Mar-24 Cheltenham 5-30 Chase Corbetts Cross 53 3.01.9 8.7
13-Mar-24 Cheltenham 1-30 Hurdle Ballyburn 79 3.15.0 -4.4 TRUE
13-Mar-24 Cheltenham 2-10 Chase Fact To File 73 2.58.8 5.3
13-Mar-24 Cheltenham 2-50 Hurdle Langer Dan 61 3.22.9 7.9
13-Mar-24 Cheltenham 3-30 Chase Captain Guinness 73 2.55.5 2
13-Mar-24 Cheltenham 4-50 Chase Unexpected Party 73 2.53.5 -2 TRUE
13-Mar-24 Cheltenham 5-30 Bumper Jasmin De Vaux 65 3.19.4 4.4
14-Mar-24 Cheltenham 1-30 Chase Grey Dawning 81 2.40.8 -4.5 TRUE
14-Mar-24 Cheltenham 2-10 Hurdle Monmiral 72 2.36.2 1.1 TRUE
14-Mar-24 Cheltenham 2-50 Chase Protektorat 74 2.45.3 4.5
14-Mar-24 Cheltenham 3-30 Hurdle Teahupoo 62 2.35.1 -1.1
14-Mar-24 Cheltenham 4-10 Chase Shakem UpArry 65 2.48.3 7.5
14-Mar-24 Cheltenham 4-50 Hurdle Golden Ace 57 2.39.2 4.1
14-Mar-24 Cheltenham 5-30 Chase Inothewayurthinkin 64 2.50.7 9.9
15-Mar-24 Cheltenham 1-30 Hurdle Majborough 71 2.39.7 1.6 TRUE
15-Mar-24 Cheltenham 2-10 Hurdle Absurde 52 2.37.3 -1.6
15-Mar-24 Cheltenham 2-50 Hurdle Stellar Story 57 2.40.1 2.8
15-Mar-24 Cheltenham 3-30 Chase Galopin Des Champs 82 2.48.6 -3 TRUE
15-Mar-24 Cheltenham 4-10 Chase Sine Nomine 62 2.52.9 4.3
15-Mar-24 Cheltenham 4-50 Chase Limerick Lace 68 2.51.6 3
15-Mar-24 Cheltenham 5-30 Hurdle Better Days Ahead 63 2.43.7 6.4