Four To Follow for The 2023 Cheltenham Festival

By Brian Hayes
 |  3 mins
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Four To Follow for The 2023 Cheltenham Festival

It is incredibly exciting to be this close to the Cheltenham Festival. We’re full on into preview season, and every horse is a winner at this stage!

Since we’re so close, now is the best time to put together my four to follow for the Cheltenham Festival.

Check out the Racehour Festival Preview Night 

Cheltenham Festival Four To Follow

Dinoblue – Grand Annual

This is a mare I’ve always liked and we got to see her very closely when Impervious just got the better of her at Cork, but as l said in my blog that week I was very impressed with her jumping.

While Dinoblue definitely doesn’t have as much experience as others in a handicap like this, she does seem a natural over a fence so she should be fine in that regard. She jumps fences very well, is a pleasure to watch, has loads of scope and even when she meets one wrong she is intelligent enough to sort herself out, so she could be one that might get away with her lack of experience. Usually when you have experience you are exposed so you can’t have it every way.

I think she’ll love Cheltenham with the way she travels and if she can cope with the hustle and bustle of the Grand Annual on the old course she could take catching off 140.

Champ Kiely – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

I think Champ Kiely is a touch overpriced for this race at 8/1 with leading bookmakers. He has pretty much done everything right apart from the Royal Bond where he just ran too keen and didn’t get home after those exertions. Next time out it was much more like it again, and he readily saw off the likes of Irish Point in the Grade One Lawlor’s Of Naas!

On that effort alone he has every chance here, and for one so solid he is a big price at 8/1 on many betting apps. I think he will adore the hill at Cheltenham and can go very close.

Blue Lord – Champion Chase

I think there has been a bit of an overreaction in the markets to Blue Lord’s effort at the Dublin Racing Festival and I actually can’t believe how big a price is. I will always forgive a horse one bad run, and that was obviously in the Champion Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival. However, if you go back just one run to Christmas he was mightily impressively when taking that two-mile Grade One at Leopardstown.

He has every right to be bang there if he can reproduce his Christmas form and 10/1 with horse racing betting sites could be great value.

Blood Destiny – Triumph Hurdle

I am still a huge fan of Lossiemouth as I have been all season, but as time goes on, I am really warming to Blood Destiny in the Triumph Hurdle.

While long term I think both are equally exciting prospects, Blood Destiny comes into this race fresher and that might just make the difference. Blood Destiny has been excellent in his starts to date and while Paul Townend is in a great position, I don’t envy his choice here!

The Weekend Ahead

Away from Cheltenham, I’ve a few nice rides this weekend as well. It looks like I’m heading to Wexford on Sunday I will ride a very nice mare, Double Pink, in the opener for Donie Murphy.

On her debut she ran quite an eye-catching race over hurdles at Cork and then ended up in Willie Mullins’ for her next start. She finished a good second on her sole start for Willie and is now back at Donie Murphy’s. Double Pink is a nice mare and she should run well.

Jiving Jerry is another I’m looking forward to. I rode him last weekend and he ran a good race. His quick reappearance wouldn’t be a concern of mine at all. He seems to actually have a history of backing up runs well and this race could particularly suit him.

Brian Hayes is a leading Irish jockey based with the Willie Mullins yard and regular rider at all the big national hunt racing festivals including Galway, Punchestown Aintree and Cheltenham. The Cork native has ridden high in the riding ranks despite not hailing from a racing background and quickly becoming a relied on partner for some of the best horses in top training yards.

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