Cheltenham Ante-Post Selection

Estimated read time 7 min read


As we are beginning to get within reaching distance to the Cheltenham Festival 2024, we are slowly starting to hear more trainer/ yard news which can bolster hopes towards some horses, or turn you the other way and put you off, today Gordon Elliot & Jack Kennedy gave me the feeling that this horse is a good thing and his words backed up the evidence on track, this leads me onto my first antepost selection.



The Mares Novices Hurdle is shaping to be one of the best races this years festival has on show. The likes of BRIGHTERDAYSAHEAD, JADE DE GRUGY and DYSART ENOS have been tough to pick any faults within their performances and all have worthy cases to win this years renewal. My preference is for BRIGHTERDAYSAHEAD and this boils down to her looking a different kettle of fish to the other two mares. She has blown away her opposition without even being popped a question, the last day saw MEL MONROE 15 lengths behind her, which when you compare the 8 lengths she was beaten behind JETARA who is easily a 145 rated mare looks solid form. BRIGHTERDAYSAHEAD recorded an RPR of 143 for her most recent performance, matching JADE DE GRUGY’s last run of a 143 RPR.

To me, I’d rate BRIGHTERDAYSAEHAD run in the Apple Jades a fair bit classier than JADE DE GRUGY’s last run. I think she travels much stronger and would find more off the bit than Willie Mullins’ mare. I think she is a much better horse than DYSART ENOS and I’d back her to finish well ahead of Fergal O’Brien’s mare despite DYSART ENOS getting 5lbs from the top 2 in the market. Now looking at past results, it is fair to say that Willie Mullins has dominated this race since it was first introduced back in 2016, training 5 winners in 8 renewals but, hasn’t trained the winner for the last 3 years.

Gordon Elliot hasn’t trained the winner of this race at all but I think this mare is something special for the yard and the way he speaks about her really gives off that shine and truly gets your attention! Jack Kennedy also speaks of the mare in the same vein and has confirmed that she is his best chance of landing a winner at the festival.

Jack Kennedy has being in tremendous form this year and has solidified himself as the best jockey in Ireland and has the privilege of riding amazing horses on a daily basis, it must take something very special for him to be wowed and this mare is clearly held in a very high regard. I think she will definitely start to shorten leading up to the race and the 5/2 won’t be available on the day. Despite JADE DE GRUGY looking like a very exciting mare for Mullins and Kenny Alexander, I am siding with the Gigginstown mare and she will hopefully go on to give Gordon Elliot his first winner in this race. 

My second antepost bet of this blog comes in a handicap, and a very trappy one to say the least.



This years plate is looking a fair bit weak in my opinion and the GA LAW we saw on the last day who ran a blinding race to land the Paddy Power Gold Cup. I think he won that with a fair bit still up his sleeve and what we are starting to see more frequently is how good Gavin Sheehan is in these big field handicaps.

He has a real knack for getting tunes no other jockey could and winning on rides that look well out of the race, with FUGITIF and HEWICK being the biggest successes of his season so far. I think GA LAW has always being an out and out 2 and half miler and the step up in trip was a huge mistake which Jamie Snowden has now realised. He looked back to his best there on the last day and this lad absolutely loves it around Cheltenham and on his day is easily the best horse in this field.

At this stage, we are unaware of what weight he will come into this with which is obviously a huge factor. Coming into this off 156 is going to be extremely difficult to win off that mark with the highest rated winner in the last decade has being off a rating of 149 but… the GA LAW we saw on trials day looked back to his best over his best trip and ideal conditions, I think at 16/1 each way he is a smashing bet, IL RIDOTO & SHAKEM UP’ARRY made it onto my shortlist and if they are both around their 20/1 price on the day, I may have a small bit each way as they both have solid chances of going close.

Last but not least is my third antepost selection for this week’s blog. I believe this could be the best value selection of the day providing he turns up here so I will be playing this as a NRNB.



READIN TOMMY WRONG shocked us all in the Lawlor’s Of Naas as he ground down ILE ATLANTIQUE and got up on the line. Now despite looking very impressive and perhaps slightly overlooked just after the race, I think now looking back at the race and looking at what sort of horses he has in behind him there, that form is absolutely rock solid, probably the best form on offer coming into this field.

The way he shaped in that race looked as if he was just getting going when the race ended, he looks tailor-made for the Albert Bartlett and could be a different beast for the step up in trip, but that ultimately remains the million-dollar question… where will Willie end up sending him. I think he has a stronger chance of winning this and is my idea of the winner.

The Baring Bingham looks a much stronger race on paper with the likes of BALLYBURN still having a chance of turning up here, MYSTICAL POWER, ILE ATLANTIQUE, SLADE STEEL.

Whereas the Albert Bartlett, I think that he doesn’t face as strong of a field, I don’t rate HIGH CLASS HERO at all, DANCING CITY had done it nice on the last day but really hasn’t beaten anything amazing in behind, GIDLEIGH PARK is a solid horse but wasn’t great on the last day. This lad READIN TOMMY WRONG looks a cut above, will Paul Townend ride him if he turns up here, I think he would. He is ground versatile; a big unit of a horse and I think a track like Cheltenham would really bring out his best assets. 15/2 NRNB is a cracking bet.

I think the selections outlined today are solid, they represent great value and I think all 3 have a good chance of returning some profit for us. I hope you have enjoyed the blog ladies and gents, we are approaching the roar and I think I speak for us all by saying I cannot wait for the Supreme Novices Hurdle to kick start us into a mega week of racing.

Best of luck,


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