Declared runners for Wednesday, 11 March
1.30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 5f
1 Decor Irlandais (FR)7 11 7 Noel Kelly IRE Mr John Devine Mr N. McParlan
2 Easywork (FR) h 6 11 7 Gordon Elliott IRE Gigginstown House Stud Rachael Blackmore
3 Envoi Allen (FR) 6 11 7 Gordon Elliott IRE Cheveley Park Stud Davy Russell
4 Getaway Fred (IRE) 6 11 7 Colin Tizzard Victor and Celia Goaman Harry Cobden
5 Longhouse Poet (IRE) ts 6 11 7 Martin Brassil IRE Sean & Bernardine Mulryan Mark Walsh
6 Mossy Fen (IRE) 5 11 7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Carl Hinchy and Mark Scott Sam Twiston-Davies
7 Shakem Up'arry (IRE) 6 11 7 Ben Pauling Mr Harry Redknapp Daryl Jacob
8 Shan Blue (IRE) 6 11 7 Dan Skelton Mr Colm Donlon Harry Skelton
9 Son of Camas (FR) 5 11 7 Nicky Henderson Sullivan Bloodstock Limited Nico de Boinville
10 Sporting John (IRE) 5 11 7 Philip Hobbs Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty
11 The Big Breakaway (IRE) 5 11 7 Colin Tizzard Eric Jones, Geoff Nicholas, John Romans Robbie Power
12 The Big Getaway (IRE) 6 11 7 W. P. Mullins IRE Mrs J. Donnelly P. Townend
2.10pm RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y
1 Allaho (FR) 6 11 4 W. P. Mullins IRE Cheveley Park Stud P. Townend
2 Aye Right (IRE) 7 11 4 Harriet Graham Mr G. Adam Callum Bewley
3 Battleoverdoyen (IRE) ts 7 11 4 Gordon Elliott IRE Gigginstown House Stud Davy Russell
4 Castlebawn West (IRE) h 7 11 4 W. P. Mullins IRE Rose Boyd/Mrs M Armstrong/J B Anderson Mark Walsh
5 Champ (IRE) 8 11 4 Nicky Henderson Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty
6 Copperhead 6 11 4 Colin Tizzard Mrs G. C. Pritchard Harry Cobden
7 Easy Game (FR) 6 11 4 W. P. Mullins IRE Wicklow Bloodstock (Ireland) Ltd Daniel Mullins
8 Minella Indo (IRE) 7 11 4 Henry de Bromhead IRE Mr Barry Maloney Rachael Blackmore
9 Pym (IRE) 7 11 4 Nicky Henderson Mrs Patricia Pugh Nico de Boinville
10 Slate House (IRE) ts 8 11 4 Colin Tizzard Eric Jones, Geoff Nicholas, John Romans Robbie Power
2.50pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1 Kilfenora (IRE) 8 11 12 Edward Harty IRE Mr John P. McManus Simon Torrens (7)
2 Cracking Smart (FR) bl,ts 8 11 11 Gordon Elliott IRE Gigginstown House Stud Gavin Brouder (7)
3 Eglantine du Seuil (FR) 6 11 7 W. P. Mullins IRE Sullivan Bloodstock Limited Rachael Blackmore
4 Bachasson (FR) 9 11 6 W. P. Mullins IRE E. O'Connell Mr P. W. Mullins
5 Ballymoy (IRE) 7 11 6 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob
6 Franco de Port (FR) 5 11 6 W. P. Mullins IRE Bruton Street V P. Townend
7 Top Moon (FR) 5 11 4 Joseph Patrick O'Brien IRE Mr John P. McManus Mark Walsh
8 Birchdale (IRE) 6 11 4 Nicky Henderson Mr John P. McManus Aidan Coleman
9 Canardier (FR) h 8 11 3 W. P. Mullins IRE Slattery Bloodstock Ltd Daniel Mullins
10 Coko Beach (FR) p 5 11 3 Gordon Elliott IRE Gigginstown House Stud Luke Dempsey
11 Sayo 6 11 3 W. P. Mullins IRE Miss M. A. Masterson Mikey Fogarty
12 Stratum 7 11 3 W. P. Mullins IRE Anthony Bloom Robbie Power
13 Protektorat (FR) h 5 11 2 Dan Skelton Sir A Ferguson G Mason J Hales & L Hales Harry Skelton
14 Mister Blue Sky (IRE) 6 11 2 W. P. Mullins IRE Shanakiel Racing Syndicate David Mullins
15 Black Tears p 6 11 2 Gordon Elliott IRE Mrs C Walsh/Mr J Lightfoot Davy Russell
16 The Mighty Don (IRE) 8 11 1 Nick Gifford Golden Rose Partnership James Davies
17 Traffic Fluide (FR) p 10 11 0 Gary Moore Galloping On The South Downs Partnership Joshua Moore
18 Chesterfield (IRE) 10 11 0 Seamus Mullins The Rumble Racing Club Jeremiah McGrath
19 Alfa Mix 5 11 0 Gavin Cromwell IRE Mr John P. McManus Jonathan Moore
20 Champagne Well (IRE) ts 7 10 13 Fergal O'Brien The Bolly Champagne Crew Paddy Brennan
21 Dame de Compagnie (FR) h 7 10 12 Nicky Henderson Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty
22 Honest Vic (IRE) v 7 10 12 Henry Daly Carole Daly & Partners Richard Johnson
23 Thosedaysaregone (IRE) 7 10 11 Charles Byrnes IRE Byrnes Bloodstock Ltd Kevin Brouder (3)
24 Golan Fortune (IRE) p 8 10 11 Phil Middleton P Middleton, M Lowther Mr Sam Lee (7)
25 Burrows Edge (FR) p 7 10 10 Nicky Henderson Mr Michael Buckley Nico de Boinville
26 Fagan 10 10 10 Alex Hales Mr Ben Brackenbury Kielan Woods
R27 Bold Plan (IRE) 6 10 10 Evan Williams Mr & Mrs William Rucker
R28 Everybreathyoutake (IRE) 6 10 9 Gordon Elliott IRE Pioneer Racing
3.30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y
1 Altior (IRE) 10 11 10 Nicky Henderson Mrs Patricia Pugh Nico de Boinville
2 Bun Doran (IRE) 9 11 10 Tom George Crossed Fingers Partnership Jonathan Burke
3 Chacun Pour Soi (FR) 8 11 10 W. P. Mullins IRE Mrs S. Ricci P. Townend
4 Defi du Seuil (FR) 7 11 10 Philip Hobbs Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty
5 Dynamite Dollars (FR) 7 11 10 Paul Nicholls Mr Michael Geoghegan Harry Cobden
6 Politologue (FR) ts 9 11 10 Paul Nicholls Mr J. Hales Harry Skelton
7 Sceau Royal (FR) 8 11 10 Alan King Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Soued Daryl Jacob
4.10pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 23y
1 Arlequin d'Allier (FR) bl,ts 10 11 4 Emmanuel Clayeux FRA Mr Yves Maupoil Mr Derek O'Connor
2 Chic Name (FR) ts, p 8 11 4 Richard Hobson The Boom Syndicate Jonathan Burke
3 Diesel d'Allier (FR) ts 7 11 4 Emmanuel Clayeux FRA Mr Yves Maupoil Charlie Deutsch
4 Easysland (FR) ts, p 6 11 4 D. Cottin FRA Mr John P. McManus Jonathan Plouganou
5 Fact of The Matter (IRE) ts, p 10 11 4 Jamie Snowden The Sandylini Racing Partnership Gavin Sheehan
6 Josies Orders (IRE) p 12 11 4 Enda Bolger IRE Mr John P. McManus Mark Walsh
7 Kingswell Theatre p 11 11 4 Michael Scudamore Mr John J. Murray Tom Scudamore
8 Might Bite (IRE) 11 11 4 Nicky Henderson The Knot Again Partnership Nico de Boinville
9 Neverushacon (IRE) ts, p 9 11 4 Mrs J. Harrington IRE Mr D. R. Scott Paddy Kennedy
10 Outlander (IRE) p 12 11 4 Richard Spencer Gowing's Eleven James Bowen
11 Out Sam v,ts 11 11 4 Gordon Elliott IRE Mr D Charlesworth
12 Sumkindofking (IRE) ts, p 9 11 4 Tom George Mr D. W. Fox Mr Noel George
13 Tiger Roll (IRE) bl,ts 10 11 4 Gordon Elliott IRE Gigginstown House Stud Keith Donoghue
14 Urgent de Gregaine (FR) ts, p 12 11 4 Emmanuel Clayeux FRA A. Rasquier Felix de Giles
15 Utility (GER) 9 11 4 Sophie Leech Mr James Finch Mr Damien Skehan
16 Yanworth p 10 11 4 Enda Bolger IRE Mr John P. McManus Darragh O'Keeffe
4.50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y
1 Mick Pastor (FR) h,ts 4 11 10 Paul Nicholls Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty
2 Aramax (GER) 4 11 8 Gordon Elliott IRE Mr John P. McManus Mark Walsh
3 Palladium 4 11 7 Nicky Henderson A. Meade, G. Van Geest, E. Kelvin-Hughes Nico de Boinville
4 Langer Dan (IRE) 4 11 5 Dan Skelton Mr Colm Donlon Harry Skelton
5 Blacko (FR) 4 11 5 Alan King Apple Tree Stud Tom Bellamy
6 Zoffee 4 11 4 Philip Hobbs Mr Alan Peterson Richard Johnson
7 Clemencia (IRE) ts 4 11 4 Tim Vaughan Mr D. W. Fox Alan Johns
8 Galahad Quest (FR) 4 11 4 Nick Williams Holt, Macnabb, Robinson & Jeffrey Sam Twiston-Davies
9 Saint d'Oroux (FR) ts 4 11 3 Gordon Elliott IRE Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob
10 Thyme White (FR) h 4 11 3 Paul Nicholls The Stewart Family Harry Cobden
11 Night Edition (FR) 4 11 3 David Pipe Mr Stuart & Simon Mercer & John Gent Tom Scudamore
12 Bajan Excell (IRE) v 4 11 3 Gavin Cromwell IRE Mr Brendan Keogh Conor McNamara (5)
13 Fraser Island (IRE) 4 11 2 Nicky Henderson Mr A. D. Spence Jeremiah McGrath
14 Recent Revelations (IRE) ts 4 11 2 Gordon Elliott IRE Half Married Syndicate
15 Sacchoandvanzetti (IRE) 4 11 2 John Queally IRE Mr M. A. Ryan Jody McGarvey
16 Group Stage (GER) 4 11 1 Alan King McNeill Family & Niall Farrell A. P. Heskin
17 Gerolamo Cardano 4 11 1 D. J. Jeffreys Mr Mark E. Smith Kielan Woods
18 Theatre of War (IRE) 4 11 0 Gavin Cromwell IRE Clara Jug Syndicate Jonathan Moore
19 Repetitio (IRE) h 4 11 0 Nigel Hawke Atlantic Friends Racing David Noonan
20 Goa Lil (FR) h 4 11 0 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede James Bowen
21 Tronador (IRE) bl 4 10 13 Gordon Elliott IRE Mr M. Wasylocha Davy Russell
22 Gealach (IRE) 4 10 13 Gordon Elliott IRE Bronx Boys Partnership
R23 Manucci (IRE) 4 10 12 Amanda Perrett John Connolly & Odile Griffith Ben Jones (3)
R24 Scorched Earth (IRE) 4 10 11 Dan Skelton The Blind Squirrels
5.30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y
1 Adrimel (FR) ts 5 11 5 Tom Lacey Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford Richard Johnson
2 Appreciate It (IRE) 6 11 5 W. P. Mullins IRE Miss M. A. Masterson Mr P. W. Mullins
3 Ask A Honey Bee (IRE) 6 11 5 Fergal O'Brien Lewis, Lawson and Hope Paddy Brennan
4 Brief Ambition 6 11 5 Fergal O'Brien C Coley, D Porter, H Redknapp, P Smith Adam Wedge
5 Can You Call 5 11 5 Andrew Martin Mr Andrew J. Martin Mr James Martin
6 Eskylane (IRE) 6 11 5 Gordon Elliott IRE K Haughey/Laura Haughey/Kieran T Byrne Davy Russell
7 Ferny Hollow (IRE) h 5 11 5 W. P. Mullins IRE Cheveley Park Stud P. Townend
8 Five Bar Brian (IRE) 6 11 5 W. P. Mullins IRE Beswick Brothers Bloodstock Partnership David Mullins
9 Good Time Jonny (IRE) ts 5 11 5 A. J. Martin IRE A Shiels/Donal Gavigan/Niall Reilly
10 Israel Champ (IRE) h,ts 5 11 5 David Pipe John White & Anne Underhill Tom Scudamore
11 Julies Stowaway (IRE) 6 11 5 Ms Margaret Mullins IRE Mr M. O'Callaghan Daniel Mullins
12 Linelee King (FR) 5 11 5 Olly Murphy Mrs Diana L. Whateley A. P. Heskin
13 Mahler Allstar (IRE) 6 11 5 Jonathan Sweeney IRE Patrick Pyne Mark Walsh
14 One True King (IRE) 5 11 5 Nigel Twiston-Davies Teme Valley 2 Sam Twiston-Davies
15 Snowpiercer (FR) 6 11 5 Lady Susan Brooke Lady Susan Brooke Miss Lorna Brooke
16 Third Time Lucki (IRE) 5 11 5 Dan Skelton Mike and Eileen Newbould Harry Skelton
17 Darling Daughter (IRE) 6 10 12 Gordon Elliott IRE Gigginstown House Stud Ms L. O’Neill
18 Queens Brook (IRE) 5 10 12 Gordon Elliott IRE Noel Moran/Mrs Valerie Moran
19 The Glancing Queen (IRE) 6 10 12 Alan King Dingwall, Farrell, Hornsey & Murray Tom Cannon
20 Audacity 4 10 11 Warren Greatrex The Audacity Partnership Gavin Sheehan
21 Let Me Entertain U 4 10 11 Michael Scudamore Mr Mark Dunphy Brendan Powell
22 Ocean Wind 4 10 11 Roger Teal Rockingham Reins Limited Aidan Coleman
23 Panic Attack (IRE) 4 10 4 David Pipe Bryan Drew Brian Hughes
Altior among seven declared for Wednesday’s G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
The three main protagonists all stood their ground at the 48-hour stage for Wednesday's £400,000 G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.30pm, seven runners), but the participation of reigning champion Altior remains in the balance while he is treated for a splint problem that was revealed on Sunday.
Altior, now 11/4 third favourite with sponsor Betway, would be bidding for a fifth straight victory at The Festival™ presented by Magners and for a Champion Chase hat-trick previously achieved only by the great Badsworth Boy in 1983, 1984 & 1985, but he has not had a smooth preparation and his participation was thrown into significant doubt when Nicky Henderson found him to be lame after an old splint had flared up.
The 10-year-old’s troubles began at Ascot in November when he suffered a first defeat after a record 19 straight wins over obstacles, beaten by Cyrname on his first attempt at two miles and five furlongs. He subsequently had a problem with an abscess on his withers but was restored to favouritism for Wednesday’s race after returning to the track successfully at Newbury last month, beating the re-opposing Sceau Royal (20/1 with Betway) and Dynamite Dollars (16/1 with Betway).
Nicky Henderson has issued a more positive bulletin this morning regarding the likelihood of Altior running on Wednesday, tweeting that “we are not out of the woods, but things are definitely looking up”.
Henderson’s statement in full read: “Altior has definitely improved over the last 24 hours and consequently we have declared him for the Champion Chase on Wednesday, although he is not yet 100%. If the race was today he would not run, but if the soreness on the splint abates at the same rate as it has done in the last 24 hours he definitely has a chance of making the line-up.
“He continues to work twice a day in our water treadmill, which is excellent work, and he is not missing any crucial gallops or schooling as they had all been completed before this lameness set in yesterday morning.
“We will obviously be monitoring the situation very carefully but both ourselves and our vets are personally happier this morning and are a lot more hopeful that he will make it. We will just have to see how the next 24 hours goes. Fingers crossed.”
The doubt about his participation has seen a significant revision in the markets, with Philip Hobbs’s six-time course winner Defi Du Seuil, already successful at The Festival™ in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle in 2017 and what is now the G1 Marsh Novices’ Chase in 2019, now 7/4 favourite with Betway. He goes from strength to strength and has since added further G1 wins at Sandown Park and Ascot.
The Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi (2/1), who is a year older but far less experienced, is now second favourite. Chacun Pour Soi will be racing at Cheltenham for the first time, but he looked an outstanding prospect when beating Defi Du Seuil decisively at Punchestown last May and registered a second G1 success at Leopardstown last month. If successful, Chacun Pour Soi would surprisingly be a first winner of the race for his trainer, who in recent years has had both Un De Sceaux and Douvan beaten at odds on.
In the absence of A Plus Tard and Min, both of whom are expected to run in Thursday's G1 Ryanair Chase, as well as Lady Buttons, who goes for Tuesday’s G1 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle, and rank outsider Hell’s Kitchen, a field of seven is completed by Bun Doran (66/1), and Politologue (20/1), runner-up to Altior in 2019.
Defi Du Seuil’s rider Barry Geraghty will be bidding for an outright record sixth win in the Champion Chase, following success on Moscow Flyer (2003 & 2005), Big Zeb (2010), Finian’s Rainbow (2012) and Sprinter Sacre (2013). He currently shares the record with Pat Taaffe. Nicky Henderson, whose first Champion Chase win came back in 1992 with Remittance Man, will be bidding for a seventh win. He currently shares the record for trainers with Tom Dreaper.
Going change, 2.30pm Monday
Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course at Cheltenham, has changed the going description on the afternoon before day one of The Festival™ 2020. It is now Soft, Good to Soft in places on the Old Course (in use on Tuesday and Wednesday), and the New Course (in use on Thursday and Friday). Both courses were previously Soft, while the Cross Country Course (in use on Wednesday only) remains Soft, Heavy in places.
Claisse said: “Rather typically, having just been round early afternoon for a further assessment, we’ve changed the two chase and hurdle tracks to Soft, Good to Soft in places, and now it’s started to rain!
“We knew there was rain coming, so between now and the early hours of tomorrow morning we are expecting another 4-5 millimetres, which we think will take us back to Soft.
“Looking ahead to Wednesday, it’s Soft, Heavy in places on the Cross Country course.
“But beyond this immediate rain, by and large we are expecting a dry week with rising temperatures, too. Anticipation for Thursday when we switch over to the New Course is that we may get Good to Soft back in the going description, and the inner chase course, which is fresh ground again from that used on the Thursday, always sits a little bit quicker, so certainly by Friday Good to Soft on the chase course is highly likely.”
Epatante heads stable quartet as Henderson bids for eighth G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle
Epatante (Barry Geraghty) heads a field of 17 for Tuesday’s £470,250 G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle, in which her trainer Nicky Henderson is also represented by Call Me Lord (James Bowen), Fusil Raffles (Daryl Jacob) and Pentland Hills (Nico de Boinville) as he bids for an unprecedented eighth win in the race.
Henderson’s dual champion Buveur D’Air has been sidelined since he was injured in defeat in the G1 Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in November, won by Cornerstone Lad (Micky Hammond/Henry Brooke) but the stable still fields a formidable team.
Epatante has impressed in both of her starts this season and quickened impressively when beating last year’s Champion Hurdle third Silver Streak in the G1 Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. She is owned by J P MCManus, already the most owner in the history of the race with eight victories. Henderson hopes last year’s disappointing Cheltenham effort in the G2 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival can be attributed to the timing of an unscheduled flu vaccination and she is the sponsor’s 7/2 favourite.
If successful she will be only the fifth mare to succeed following African Sister (1939), Dawn Run (1984), Flakey Dove (1994) and Annie Power (2016).
Stablemate Pentland Hills is Unibet’s 5/1 second favourite despite two defeats since last year’s G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle, in which he beat Coeur Sublime (Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell) in style. He has had a wind operation since Ballyandy (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies) caught him on the post in a G2 at Haydock last time.
Third favourite Cilaos Emery (Willie Mullins IRE/Paul Townend) was established as a smart chaser before returning successfully to hurdles with an easy defeat of Champion Hurdle outsider Darasso in a G3 on heavy ground at Gowran Park last month.
His trainer Willie Mullins, successful previously with Hurricane Fly (2011 & 2013), Faugheen (2015) and Annie Power (2016), also saddles Sharjah (Mr Patrick Mullins), who was brought down at the third 12 months ago but has won the last two runnings of the G1 Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown in December, beating Champion Hurdle rivals Supasundae (Jessica Harrington/Robbie Power) in 2018 and Petit Mouchoir (Henry de Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore) in 2019.
Supasundae has been beaten twice in the G1 Stayers’ Hurdle since his 2017 success in the Coral Cup but is a dual G1 winner at two miles. However no horse aged 10 has scored since Sea Pigeon, who also won at 11 (1980 & 1981).
Gavin Cromwell won 12 months ago with Espoir D’Allen and has another live chance in the vastly improved Darver Star, who had Petit Mouchoir, Supasundae and Sharjah behind when chasing home leading Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle candidate Honeysuckle in the G1 Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown last month. If successful, he would be a first winner at The Festival for jockey Jonathan Moore.
Also set to line up is last year’s third Silver Streak (Evan Williams/Adam Wedge), plus Not So Sleepy (Hughie Morrison/Jonathan Burke), winner of the Listed Dee Stakes on the Flat at Chester back in 2015 and successful in the valuable G3 Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle at Ascot in December. Morrison won the equivalent race at Ascot in 2001 with Marble Arch, who went on to take second in the 2002 Champion Hurdle.
Completing the line-up are outsiders Gumball (Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson) and Le Patriote (Dr Richard Newland/Charlie Hammond).
Unibet Champion Hurdle, Unibet odds: 100/30 Epatante; 11/2 Pentland Hills; 13/2 Cilaos Emery; 11/1 Supasundae; 12/1 Darver Star; 14/1 Sharjah; 16/1 Coeur Sublime, Fusil Raffles; 18/1 Ballyandy, Call Me Lord; 22/1 Petit Mouchoir, Silver Streak; 25/1 Cornerstone Lad, Not So Sleepy; 40/1 Darasso; 100/1 Gumball; 125/1 Le Patriote