Winners And Losers From Cheltenham Festival 2024

Cheltenham Festival

The greatest sporting spectacle in horse racing is over for another 12 months, but the memories from the Cheltenham Festival in 2024 will live long in the memory.

Willie Mullins enjoyed another dominant Festival in the Cotswolds, while Ireland bested the British to land the Prestbury Cup. However, who were some of the biggest winners and losers from the Festival this year?

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Cheltenham Festival

Galopin Des Champs Emerges As One Of The Greats

The superstar performance of the week was saved for the biggest race at the Festival, as Galopin Des Champs highlighted why he is considered by most as one of the greatest staying chasers of the modern era. Once again, the Mullins runner was forced to do things the hard way.Paul Townend needed to contend with a loose horse for the majority of the closing stages.

However, he was backed as if losing his Gold Cup was out of the question before the race, and he stylishly finished over three lengths clear of Gerri Colombe. Mullins deserves all the praise for a stunning training performance. The eight-year-old already having landed the Irish Gold Cup and Savills Chase before another dominant performance at the home of jumps racing.

Miserable Week For Nicky Henderson

It could be argued that the British may have been closer to the Irish in terms of race winners had it not been for Nicky Henderson’s stable form throughout the week. It was always going to be a testing period for Henderson, with Constitution Hill ruled out before the meet.

Things didn’t get much easier on the opening day, with all Nico De Boinville rides pulled up before the finish. Henderson’s misery was compounded later in the week when hot favourite Sir Gino was ruled out of the Triumph Hurdle, before a decision was made for Shishkin to avoid his date with destiny in the Gold Cup.

Ballyburn Dazzles In Novice Hurdle Division

One of the best backed Irish runners of the week was Ballyburn, with the Mullins runner ultimately opting to step back up to two miles and five to compete in the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle. The novice produced one of the best displays of the week, finishing a stunning 13 lengths clear of Jimmy Du Seuil to land a first Festival win.

However, it would be hard to bet against it being his last success at Cheltenham. Connections will now have a huge decision to make, with a potential eye-watering showdown with Constitution Hill on the cards if he remains over hurdles. But, the Gold Cup dream could be alive with Ballyburn, meaning it is highly likely that we will be seeing him over fences at the start of next season.

Champion Hurdle Flatters To Deceive

A lot of attention on the opening day was placed on the Champion Hurdle following the announcement that Constitution Hill would be missing the Festival. State Man was well backed before the off, but the Mullins runner wasn’t exactly the breathtaking winner that fans would have been hoping to see. The race as a whole was also negatively impacted following the decision for Lossiemouth to run in the Mares’ Hurdle.

Last year’s Triumph victor was dominant against her own sex, and it’s likely that she could have thrown down a major challenge to her stable mate if going up against the boys. Dilution of races remains a key question for the BHA to address, as we could have witnessed a number of matchups for the ages.

New Gold Cup Hopes Emerge

There’s no denying that Galopin Des Champs will likely go off for next year’s Gold Cup as a solid favourite once again, but the picture for the biggest race of the week looks fascinating at this stage. Fact To File has been touted as a potential rival to his stablemate in the race next year, and he delivered an excellent round of jumping to land the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase over an extended three miles.

Grey Dawning could yet emerge as a new British hope for the Gold Cup after winning the Turners Novices’ Chase in stunning fashion. French dreams will also be alive in the Gold Cup next year, with the incredibly progressive Il Est Francais set to have some big British commitments next season, beginning with the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.


Fresh Questions Over Competitiveness

The Irish dominance was clear for all to see at the Festival once again this year. A lot was made that it was potentially all about the dominance of Willie Mullins, but the Irish still would have won the Prestbury Cup by a 15-12 margin even without the Mullins winners.

Competitive races were few and far between at the Festival this year, with seven races of the 27 having an odds-on favourite. That is the highest percentage in the history of the Festival!