|Tuesday 29th March 2022
Early Pointers Towards 2023 Cheltenham Festival
The 2022 Cheltenham Festival was another fantastic four days of jumps racing and it was a meeting that did not disappoint. Here is a look at some of the stars of the week who could prevail once again at the Festival in 2023.
Constitution Hill (Champion Hurdle)
Arguably the most impressive performance of the week at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival came in the opening race. Constitution Hill stretched away from a strong field in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to score by 22 lengths.
Nicky Henderson’s novice hurdler broke the course record which was previously held by Annie Power with his time of 3min 34secs. It will have got his connections very excited about some of the options available to him next season.
Constitution Hill could now face Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle at the Punchestown Festival. That says a lot about how highly they regard their Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner. The bookmakers have priced up betting on that race and they make Constitution Hill the 4/5 favourite, while Honeysuckle is available at evens.
The 2023 Champion Hurdle next March looks like an obvious target for the Seven Barrows runner. He is the 5/2 favourite in the betting for the championship race on the best horse racing betting sites such as Dafabet. Those looking to go back to the Supreme winner may be able to pick up a free bet to use on the day one feature. There are many other operators on the platform, including a full-detailed and honest review of each of them by betting professionals, ranking them based on the services they offer, such as bonuses and best odds.
Throw in defending champion Honeysuckle (3/1), Triumph Hurdle winner Vauban (8/1) and County Hurdle winner State Man (12/1), and it has the makings of the race of the week.
Edwardstone (Queen Mother Championship Chase)
Edwardstone got the better of the leading Irish novice chasers in the division to win the Arkle Trophy Novice Chase on day one of the meetings this year. He jumped well and travelled strongly throughout the race. Once jockey Tom Cannon pushed the button, his horse-powered up the hill.
Alan King’s runner will be joining a very strong 2m chase division next season which already includes Shishkin, Energumene and Chacun Pour Soi. He will be a great addition as he is a horse who has a lot of quality.
With more experience on his side, the eight-year-old could improve further. It is going to be fascinating to see how he fares in the Queen Mother Championship Chase in 2023 alongside some of the big names over 2m.
Galopin Des Champs (Cheltenham Gold Cup)
Barring a mistake at the last fence of the Turners Novices’ Chase, Galopin Des Champs would have been one of the easiest winners of the week at the Festival. Unfortunately for his connections, they will have to wait again for their big day over fences.
The Irish horse is clearly a very talented chaser. He took up the running in the Turners Novices’ Chase and he set a pace that Bob Olinger struggled to match. His error at the final fence was a mistake any novice could have made.
Despite the disappointment, Galopin Des Champs has proved that he is going to be a big Cheltenham Gold Cup contender next season when he steps out of novice company. The six-year-old had has just three appearances over fences, so Mullins will be keen to give him as much experience as he can before he returns to the Festival next March.
Galopin Des Champs is the 4/1 joint-favourite for the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup along with the defending champion A Plus Tard. That would be a fascinating contest, especially now the latter is rated as high as 180 in the official ratings.
L’Homme Presse (Cheltenham Gold Cup)
Another novice who will go into the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup with strong claims is L’Homme Presse. He was the winner of the 2022 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, beating Ahoy Senor by just over three lengths.
Connections of the horse have confirmed that the Gold Cup is their plan. They are resisting the temptation of running their talented novice chaser at Aintree for the Grand National Meeting. They are likely to tuck him away now until next season.
Grand National-winning trainer Venetia Williams has never won the Gold Cup. She now has a horse who has a great chance of her landing the Blue Riband contest for the first time. L’Homme Presse is third-best in the betting for the race in 2023 at 10/1.
The 2023 Cheltenham Festival takes place between 14th-17th March. With the new National Hunt season so far away, we can't wait before all roads start leading to Prestbury Park again.