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Press Release 13th February 2024 Cheltenham

The Jockey Club hosted a media afternoon on Monday 12th February when a number of leading Irish-based connections gave their thoughts on their key contenders for next month’s Cheltenham Festival.


Below can be found the thoughts of leading trainers Henry de Bromhead and Emmet Mullins.




Captain Guinness (Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase)


“He ran great in the Champion Chase last year but had an atrial fibrillation when he ran at Christmas, which was disappointing. It was something he had as a novice and he has had all the tests done on him.


“We rode him the last day to see where we were with him and I would say he maybe lacked a bit of confidence. It was lovely to see him finish his race out well.


“It is always going to be in the back of your mind but his run last year was savage so he could be there at a big price and pick up the pieces if anything goes wrong with the big guys.


“It was great to get him back and see him so good again.”


Envoi Allen (Ryanair Chase)


“I thought he ran really well at Down Royal and was just unlucky to get caught. We nearly pulled it off.


“There is a fair difference between Down Royal and Cheltenham but he is already a course and distance winner in the Ryanair Chase.


“He’s had the same number of runs beforehand as last year but it was just a bit earlier this year. He is really well now and runs well fresh. He loves Cheltenham.”


Minella Indo (Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase)


“He loved the Cross Country course in December and this time it’s a conditions chase.


“We felt we had to go for the Cross Country race in December to give him a taste to it as it would be tough to go for it first time at The Festival. Gavin Sheehan had schooled him at the previous meeting and was delighted with him and Rachel was delighted with him in the race. He had top-weight but you couldn’t have asked for a better run.


“He is in mighty form. It seems a good route to the Grand National as Gordon (Elliott) and others have proved.


“He has always enjoyed Cross County and was doing it even when he was running in the Gold Cup. He just loves it.


“It’s lovely and good fun for a horse like him to prolong his career.”


Monty’s Star (Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase)


“I am delighted with him and this is what I always hoped he would be doing.


“He is a big horse and didn’t show up last year – he and Hiddenvalley Lake both had a hard race around a month before at Clonmel and neither showed up at Cheltenham.


“He had a setback before Christmas last season and we had to rush him but he has had a good preparation this time with lovely two runs.


“He stays well and is classy. I think he’ll improve for better ground being by Walk In The Park.”


Slade Steel (Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle)


“He looks nice. I thought he ran well the other day after he’d had two sort of slogs and I didn’t want to go again over two and a half on heavy ground. It was nice to run over two miles and I thought he acquitted himself really well. The winner (Ballyburn) looked good.


“He will improve for better ground. We don’t really want to take on Ballyburn again and he is in both the Supreme and Baring Bingham so we’ll see. We will keep all options open and see what everybody else is doing.”


Quilixios (My Pension Expert Arkle Novices’ Hurdle)


“Quilixios goes for the Arkle and is in really good form.


“We made a mistake stepping him up to three miles after he won over two and a half but he was really good in Naas last time.


“He has the form of winning the Triumph Hurdle around Cheltenham and jumps really quick. The faster they go, the better for him and it looks an open race.”


Telmesomethinggirl (Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle)


“We went chasing last year and it just looked she wasn’t going to get to the level she got to over hurdles so we decided to come back over hurdles.


“She was a big rusty on her first run back but I was very happy with her at Naas when she jumped really well. She stayed at it really well and I was delighted with her.


“We know she’ll be better on nicer ground and she sets a level in the Mares’ Hurdle – if they are better than that, fair play.”




Corbetts Cross (National Hunt Chase)


“He seems none the worse physically (he fell last time out at Fairyhouse) and we will take our time and we won’t be schooling him for a bit of time. He should be none the worse hopefully.


“He is JP’s (McManus) only entry in the National Chase and I’d say he would be keen enough going there.”


Noble Yeats (Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle)


“He is bouncing. He definitely improved a lot between his run at Limerick over Christmas, which he needed, and the Cleeve Hurdle. He should come on again and ir was good to see him win the Cleeve.


“The Stayers’ Hurdle was always the plan. He came in late after his busy campaign last spring and I said to Robert (Waley-Cohen, owner) back in October that we were put in our place in the Gold Cup last season and I couldn’t see a way past those horses this time so 0we have changed direction and although I’m not saying he’d win it, he can hopefully run a big race.


“The Stayers’ Hurdle is a target in its own right and won’t be as demanding as the Gold Cup (before he goes back to Aintree for the Randox Grand National, which he won in 2022).”


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