The Cheltenham Festival in 2023 will see the best jumps horses from around the world compete against each other in their respective divisions. There are 28 races set for the week, but only four of them have Championship status.
Here is a look a the favorites for the four major prizes this year.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Known as the ‘Blue Riband’ event in jumps racing, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious race of the week at the Cheltenham Festival. Irish star Galopin Des Champs is the +150 favorite in the Paddy Power Cheltenham Festival odds for this year’s race.
Beast! Galopin Des Champs is back with a bang! pic.twitter.com/CohsILuhUL
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) December 19, 2022
It could be a great week for the horse’s trainer Willie Mullins. He is as short as -800 in the Cheltenham Festival top trainer odds, which reflects the quality of his entries this year. If there is one race he will want to win more than any other, it will be the Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old won the Irish Gold Cup on his latest appearance. He has looked better with every appearance over fences this season, and with a big run, he could end the week as the biggest star in the chase division.
Unbeaten hurdler Blazing Khal tops the betting to win this year’s Stayers’ Hurdle. He began his campaign over obstacles with three straight victories last season. He then was forced to miss the rest of the year due to a setback.
The Irish horse returned to action after 14 months off the track to win the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle at Navan in February. He picked up from where he left off with a big performance to put down his marker for the Stayers’ Hurdle, the feature race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Should he prove successful, it will be a great training performance from Charles Byrnes.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is being dubbed as a dual between defending champion Energumene and the new star of the division, Edwardstone. The race is one of the most fascinating contests on the schedule at the Festival this year.
Energumene beat a strong field 12 months ago, including Shishkin and 2021 winner Put The Kettle On. Edwardstone was also successful at the 2022 meeting in the Arkle Trophy, the leading novice chase over 2m. There is hardly anything between those two horses in the betting and they may both need to produce a career-best to come out on top.
The Champion Hurdle market is dominated by one horse this year, as Constitution Hill is the red-hot favorite to win the Championship contest on day one. Nicky Henderson’s star has been sensational in his five appearances over hurdles so far.
Cruise control! Constitution Hill bolts up in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton! pic.twitter.com/cxxfIFS50S
— Sky Sports Racing (@SkySportsRacing) December 26, 2022
Last year’s impressive Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner has won his two races this season by a combined winning margin of 29 lengths. The six-year-old is already being compared with the greatest hurdlers in history. Victory in the 2023 Champion Hurdle will help him match what some of those horses achieved.
All four of the above races will go a long towards determining who is crowned the British Champion Trainer and British Champion Jockey this season, so it is a big week for all those involved.