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CHELTENHAM COUNTDOWN 2023

Our 20 day Cheltenham Countdown starts right here …

We’ll give you a daily snapshot guide of all the latest Festival news and movers to quickly keep you up to date.

Also check out the very latest:

➡️ STARSPORTS.BET CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL MARKETS


1 DAY TO GO Monday 13th March

It’s finally here! We’ve reached Festival eve and tomorrow the horses will hit the track for the first day of the greatest show on turf.

Alongside the Festival itself, we also have our knockout tipping competition, which has attracted plenty of interest since it’s launch! See the draw – with links to the outright betting and matches – by clicking below:

Cheltenham Knockout Tipping Competition

Our brand ambassador Davy Russell is also riding in his last Festival after a sensational comeback – get the inside track on his rides in his exclusive Day 1 blog:

DAVY RUSSELL blog: Cheltenham Festival TUESDAY

Don’t miss out on our YES/NO competition, where we have a a first prize of a £500 FREE BET and 1,000’s of other FREE BETS to giveaway. You can even win if you have a shocker – there’s a £25 free bet for none correct at all!

CHELTENHAM YES/NO COMPETITION!

And last but never least, enjoy our great Every Second Counts offer!

Place a win only single bet on any selection in the Race Winner market at Cheltenham and if it finishes second, we will give you your money back as a FREE BET to the same stake up to £50 to use on any event! CHELTENHAM MARKETS

WEATHER UPDATE … The Festival will start on soft ground tomorrow, with showers hitting the track today that will maintain the ground. Here’s the forecast from Clerk of the Course Jon Pullin:

“Temperatures are forecast to drop to -2C overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning but be back up to positive temperatures by 7-8am on Wednesday. We’ll keep monitoring but at this stage there are no concerns.

“Wednesday should be largely dry but then there’s a band of rain moving in and bringing showers on and off in the afternoon and through to Thursday, with volumes looking like 5-8mm through that period. Friday looks largely dry with an occasional shower.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS

IT’S REMATCH TIME … Clarence House Chase 1-2-3 Editeur Du Gite, Edwardstone and Energumene will all clash again in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Edwardstone is 6/4 favourite with Star Sports to turn around that form, with last year’s winner Energumene 13/8 second favourite despite disappointing badly there. A repeat win for the bold front runner Editeur Du Gite IS A 5/1 shot – whatever happens, this could be one of the week’s best races. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

OCEAN’S TEN FOR MULLINS … There will be plenty of big squads in one race this week, but surely nobody will be able to match the strength of Willie Mullins’ battalion in the Champion Bumper. Here’s his ten strong squad:

Captain Cody (Miss Josephine Townend)
Chapeau De Soleil (Brian Hayes)
Chosen Witness (Sean O’Keeffe)
Fact To File (Mr P W Mullins)
Fun Fun Fun (Daryl Jacob)
It’s For Me (Paul Townend)
Lecky Watson (Jack Foley)
Loughglynn (Michael O’Sullivan)
Western Diego (Rachael Blackmore)
Westport Cove (Danny Mullins)

CHELTENHAM MARKETS


2 DAYS TO GO Sunday 12th March

THE RUNNERS ARE IN … After months of waiting we have confirmed fields for Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival. 1/3 favourite Constitution Hill faces six rivals in the Champion Hurdle (3.30), El Fabiolo and Jonbon clash in the Arkle (2.10), there are 14 in the Supreme (1.30) where Facile Vega looks to bounce back, and second-season novice Gaillard Du Mesnil is favourite for the National Hunt Chase (5.30).

There are the usual big fields for the Ultima (2.50) and Boodles (4.50), with last year’s winner Corach Rambler leading the betting for the former and Willie Mullins’ Tekao heading the betting for the Boodles. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

HERE COME THE GIRLS … The Mares’ Hurdle looks set to be one of the best contests of the opening day, with defending champion Marie’s Rock facing dual former Champion Hurdlers Epatante and Honeysuckle, last year’s Mares Novice’ Hurdle winner Love Envoi and Grade 1 novice winner Brandy Love. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

NO COMORT FOR O’BRIEN … Trials Day winner Comfort Zone will miss Friday’s JCB Triumph Hurdle following a setback, Joseph O’Brien has revealed. A winner of the Finale Juvenile Hurdle, he followed up over course and distance and was amongst the leading contenders, but he may be aimed at Aintree or Punchestown if recovering in time. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

WIN YOUR WAY IN … Fancy being at The Festival next Wednesday?

CHELTENHAM MARKETS


3 DAYS TO GO Saturday 11th March

CALL IT SOFT … The Festival is going to start on soft ground, according to clerk of the course Jon Pullin. Snow that fell on Friday melted on the ground overnight and there’s further rain forecast before the four days, with rain set to fall on Sunday evening and Monday morning. According to Pullin, this is the state of the current surface: “It remains soft in the main, with a little bit of good to soft down the back on the New course and on the cross-country course.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS

GOING FOR GOLD … 14 runners have been confirmed for the five-day stage at the Gold Cup, including 9/4 favourite (Price Boosted) Galopin Des Champs, along with Grand National winner Noble Yeats, King George VI Chase winner Bravemansgame) and last year’s Godl Cup hero A Plus Tard. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

THE CLOSUTTON HURDLE … Willie Mullins has an avalanche of Festival talent to go to war with next week and there are few better signs of his strength than the Triumoph Hurdle, where he has the first three in the market with Blood Destiny (13/8 with starsports.bet), Lossiemouth (7/4) and Gala Marceau (4/1). It’s 14’s bar the three. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

WIN YOUR WAY IN … Fancy being at The Festival next Wednesday?

We’ve got two tickets for Wednesday’s action, and you can win them by simply following these two steps:

🔹 Follow us on Twitter (@StarSports_Bet)
🔹 Retweet our free to enter Yes/No competition:

Enter by 5pm Monday! ⏰

T&Cs apply | 18+ | BeGambleAware.org


4 DAYS TO GO Friday 10th March

IT’S ALL SOFT … The ground at Cheltenham was eased to soft (from good to soft) following 12mm of wintry showers in the past 24 hours. Clerk of the course Jon Pullin: “We’ve had 12mm of rain in the last 24 hours and we’ve got a covering of snow at the moment. We should see the last of the snow mid-morning and it’s only a light covering. With the temperatures later on today and the showers around, it will clear and we should have a dry day.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS

A RIGHT ROYAL SHAME There won’t be a royal runner at this year’s Festival after Nicky Henderson announced that Steal A March had met with a setback and will miss the Pertemps Final on Thursday. He had been kept fresh since winning the Wincanton qualifier for the Pertemps on Boxing Day at Wincanton but was lame after his latest workout. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

KHAL’S ON HIS WAY … Charles Byrnes has confirmed that Blazing Khal – 5/2 market leader with starsports.bet – is an intended runner in the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham. Byrnes had indicated that the market leader would have a crucial final gallop this morning but decided against taking the horse to the Curragh, fearing that the trip could take a freshness out of him. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

WIN YOUR WAY IN ... Fancy being at The Festival next Wednesday?

CHELTENHAM MARKETS


5 DAYS TO GO Thursday 9th March

LET THE GAMES BEGIN! … The draw has been made for the Star Sports Cheltenham Knockout Competition, with the clash between Stephen Power (The Racing Blogger) and Icy (Gearoid Norris) the highlight of 16 round one ties.

It’s fair to say Racing Twitter is already anticipating what might be the best clash on day 1 – although there are a while host of cracking match ups to look forward to. Keep an eye out for Richard Holies v Daryl Carter (Match 6) and the top tipster showdown between Andy Holding and Paul Kealy (Match 10).

The full draw and betting for the outright winners and Round 1 can be found here.

See how the draw unfolded Hannah Baycroft and James Maloney (Racing Post Betting Shop Manager Of The Year) – recorded at the Star Sports shop in Mayfair. (Thanks Kellvin at 020 Visuals for filming).

CHELTENHAM MARKETS

WHICH WAY, MARIE? … Connections of top mare Marie’s Rock have yet to make a decision on her Festival target, with the Mares Hurdle and Stayers’ Hurdle both options. The ground looks set to play a big part in her decision, according to Middleham Park racing manager Tom Palin:

“I know Nicky is championing the Stayers’ but, in our conversations, there isn’t a firm decision. He wouldn’t be solely in the Stayers’ camp, nor am I solely in the Mares’ camp. think I’d be right in saying neither of us would want to try her over three miles on the testing course at Cheltenham in soft ground. We do need to see just what the weather does and that is obviously very unsettled at the moment.”

Marie’s Rock is a 3/1 to retain the Mares’ Hurdle and 7/2 second favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle with starsports.bet. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

COUNTY FOR ACUNRISQUE … Betfair Hurdle winner Acunrisque will stay over hurdles next week, with the County Hurdle chosen over the Grand Annual. The seven-year-old has performed well over fences this season, but he was an all the way winner of the Betfair Hurdle when switched to the smaller obstacles at Newbury and trainer Chris Gordon’s preference is to stick with hurdles after a less than satisfactory schooling session:

“We had a schooling session, and it just didn’t quite go as planned and you can’t miss a beat in the Grand Annual. We’re going to go the safe man’s route and go to the County Hurdle instead.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS


6 DAYS TO GO Wednesday 8th March

CONFIRMATION DAY … Red hot favourite Constitution Hill (1/3 with starsports.bet) heads 12 confirmations for the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday. Today’s six-day forfeit stage has seen the first day’s fields begin to take shape, with the seven-day one races now having provisional fields and handicap weights. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

UP FOR THE CUP … One of the most anticipated contests of next week – if we can say so ourselves – is the Cheltenham Knockout tipping competition. There’s been plenty of interest ahead of tomorrow’s draw, and we’ve had three notable movers:

Gearoid ‘Icy’ Norris: 12/1 into 7/1
Dave McManus: 20/1 into 10/1
AK Bets: 14/1 into 12/1

You can find the entries list and full market here!

CHELTENHAM MARKETS

TRAIN TROUBLE … Those travelling by train on Festival Thursday would have rejoiced at the news that the RMT have called off planned strike action, but there’s a sting in the tail.

Those working for the train operating companies will still take action, but the disruption may be on a smaller scale, as Network Rail workers will not be striking and the impact is set to vary between different operators. Check those schedules! CHELTENHAM MARKETS


7 DAYS TO GO Tuesday 7th March

GET STUCK IN (IRE) … Our Cheltenham Knockout tipping competition has launched and already the betting is lively for the 32 person tournament ahead of tomorrow’s draw. #BettingPeople star Gearoid ‘Icy’ Norris has made some market waves by backing himself for glory at 12/1, meaning the well known green and gold fan is now 7/1 market leader in a packed betting heat.

Click here for prices!

THUNDERING UP IN TRIP … Olly Murphy’s Thunder Rock will try three miles for the first time when he lines up in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Festival. The seven-year-old has finished third behind The Real Whacker and Gerri Colombe over shorter trips on his last two starts and can be backed at 4/1 for the Brown Advisory. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

GET DOWN TO THE ROAR … What comes to mind when you think of Cheltenham? The famous roar would be right at the top of the list. Music producer DJ Cuddles? Perhaps not. Well, the Jockey Club have released Roar Remix, a three minute track featuring a sample of the opening Tuesday roar and none other than commentator Ian Bartlett, who is an unlikely guest on the track. You can check it out for yourself…

CHELTENHAM MARKETS  

TROUBLE FOR THE COLONEL … Lorna Fowler’s stable star Colonel Mustard faces a race against time to be fit for next week’s Cheltenham Festival after suffering an overreach in the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on Saturday. The eight-year-old – third in the County behind Champion Hurdle second favourite State Man and the high class First Street last year – was a game second at Kelso behind Coral Cup Bound Benson on Saturday. CHELTENHAM MARKETS  


8 DAYS TO GO Monday 6th March

BLAZING DOUBT … 5/2 Stayers’ Hurdle favourite Blazing Khal is now a doubt for the Thursday feature after it emerged that he’d sustained a cut when winning the Boyne Hurdle. That injury – sustained at the back of a fetlock – meant he needed antibiotics and has only recently returned to full work – a final decision will be made on Friday by trainer Charles Byrnes. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

TAPS OFF … Cheltenham’s ground staff, led by clerk of the course Jon Pullin, are happy to stop watering due to an unsettled forecast which includes the possibility of snow this week. With the Old, New and Cross Country tracks described as good to soft, good in places today, and spots of rain set to fall, the decision has been made to stop watering the course. CHELTENHAM MARKETS  

RACEGOERS BEWARE … Rail strikes and the closure of a key road from Cheltenham could lead to heavier traffic this year, according to organisers. With a national rail strike on the Thursday, and the closure of Evesham Road from 4pm to 8pm, long journeys can be expected leaving the course. Some things never change…. CHELTENHAM MARKETS


9 DAYS TO GO Sunday 5th March

A CLOSUTTON WHITEWASH … Wille Mullins has made the Cheltenham Festival his own and in his bid for more success he’s introduced new fences at home for his string. White markings on the frames, guard rails and take-off boards replaced traditional orange colourings on obstacles at every British racecourse last year, but that has not been the case in Ireland. The new colours reportedly caused Champion Chaser Eneguemene trouble when beaten in the Clarence House Chase on Trials Day but it’s hoped that will not be the case next week. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

GLORY AT THE THEATRE? … Nicky Henderson could have an incredibly powerful hand in the Mares’ Hurdle and it looks as if Theatre Glory could join his squad. Katie Croft – co-manager of Canter Banter Racing, who own Theatre Glory – is up for the challenge: “For us it’s quite a straightforward decision. We’re a syndicate and might never get a horse like her again. Who wouldn’t want to go for a Grade 1 at the festival? We have to.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS

The Nicholls family have a long and successful relationship with Cheltenham and 17 year old Olive Nicholls will have her first Festival ride on the experienced Shantou Flyer, who was third in the 2020 Foxhunters’ Chase and filled the same place in the 2021 Kim Muir. The now 13 year old veteran is a 20/1 shot with starsports.bet. CHELTENHAM MARKETS


10 DAYS TO GO Saturday 4th March

BENSON BONUS … Connections of bargain buy Benson could be in or a monster payday after he pounced late to win the Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso. Benson has entries in the Coral Cup and Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdles, and he’s a 16/ 1 shot for both with Star Sports. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

JONBON FORM BOOST … Jonbon backers will have been pleased to see Calico – the horse who gave him such a scare in the Kingmaker at Warwick last month – land the Virgin Bet Cheltenham Festival Money Back Handicap Chase. Jonbon, 6/4 second favourite behind El Fabiolo for the Arkle with starsports.bet, heads to Cheltenham unbeaten in three chasing starts. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

NICHOLLS FUMES AT WHIP CHANGES … Thirteen-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls said he was “livid” with the timing of the changes ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, and that the BHA needed to show “a bit of backbone” to stand up for the sport.

No less than 19 jockeys were given whip suspensions in the first week that the new rules came into force on February 19 – some missing the Festival – and a further 12 riders were suspended when the whip review committee convened for a second time. CHELTENHAM MARKETS


11 DAYS TO GO Friday 3rd March

KENNEDY MISSES OUT … Jack Kennedy will miss the Festival after losing his race against time to be fit for the showpiece meeting following a broken leg suffered at Naas in January. Kennedy will be replaced by Star ambassador Davy Russell, who’s expected to be on Eliott’s top mounts, with Jordan Gainford and Sam Ewing also set to be part of the team.CHELTENHAM MARKETS

SWITCHING IT UP … Betfair Hurdle winner Aucunrisque looks set to revert to fences at the Festival for the Grand Annual Challenge Cup. Trainer Chris Gordon switched him back to hurdles after successive runner up finishes over fences and is pleased with his charge’s progress, telling the media: “He’s really good, in great form and hopefully on course for Cheltenham. We’d probably be looking at the Grand Annual. We’ll do a bit more schooling with him, but the way he’s been jumping fences at home, I’m 90 per cent sure it will be all systems go for the Grand Annual.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS

A NEW CROSS FOR CORBETTS … JP McManus has added to his packed Festival team with the purchase of Albert Bartlett favourite Corbetts Cross from Paul Byrne. The Johnstown Novice Hurdle winner is not a certainty to run in the Albert Bartlett, according to racing manager Frank Berry: “We’ve no plans at this stage. He will stay with Emmet but it’s all up in the air at the minute where he will go. Ground might be a deciding factor too.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS


12 DAYS TO GO Thursday 2nd March

BIG BET ALERTS … The betting action took a step up today as Star laid three big ante-post bets, with one punter putting £30,000 on Galopin Des Champs (6/4) to land the Gold Cup, £30,000 on Energumene to land the Champion Chase (13/8), and £10,000 on Honeysuckle to land the Mares. (9/4) CHELTENHAM MARKETS

ALLEZ LE FARCEUR … There’ going to be a second French contender in the Stayers’ Hurdle as Henri Le Farceur will be supplemented. The six-year-old, a wide margin winner of a Grade 2 at Auteuil last time who’s trained by Hugo Merienne, will be supplemented by owner Nicolas de Lageneste at £14,000. CHELTENHAM MARKETS

CHEEK IT UP … Grand National winner and Gold Cup contender Noble Yeats (a 7/1 shot with starsports.bet) will have cheekpieces back on for his attempt at the Blue Riband. He hasn’t worn them since landing the Grand National last year, but trainer Emmet Mullins is hoping for some improvement: “I suppose the cheekpieces made a big difference for him last year (in the National), so we’re hoping for a repeat event.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS


13 DAYS TO GO Wednesday 1st March

THE INSIDE TRACK … There were plenty of laughs, tips and good times had at our Cheltenham Festival preview night, held at our flagship Mayfair shop yesterday. Click below for the highlights from our star panel of DAVY RUSSELL, TOM ‘PRICEWISE’ SEGAL and City AM Racing Editor BILL ESDAILE:

Cheltenham Preview | Star Sports Mayfair | LIVE BLOG

CHELTENHAM MARKETS

THE WEIGHT IS OVER … The weights for the nine Festival handicaps were published today, with five of the top-weights trained in Ireland. Several Irish-trained horses were given rises, including Emmet Mullins’s pair of So Scottish (Festival Plate) and McTigue (Boodles Handicap Hurdle). ⭐ CHELTENHAM MARKETS

GROWING PAINS … A long, dry and cold spell that has seen just 10 millimetres of rainfall since Trials Day has caused plenty of problems with grass growth ahead of the Festival. Clerk of the course Jon Pullin: “It’s been a tricky period. It has been a real challenge. We haven’t had any significant rain since January 15. We have had 10mm since the 15th. In the corresponding period last year we’d had 58mm.” ⭐ CHELTENHAM MARKETS


14 DAYS TO GO Tuesday 28th February

WILLIE’S 14 … Willie Mullins has won the Champion Bumper 12 times and the master of Closutton is leaving no stone unturned in his quest for a 13th, with 14 entries including favourite It’s For Me, Fun Fun Fun and Chapeau De Soleil. ⭐ CHELTENHAM MARKETS

DELTA GOES TO WORK … Ireland have 12 of the 20 entries for the Cross County Chase, with last year’s winner Delta Work and Grade 1-winning Chaser Galvin leading the charge from Gordon Elliott’s yard. ⭐ CHELTENHAM MARKETS

A CHANGE OF MIND FOR MARIE? … Could Marie’s Rock switch from the Mares (3/1 with starsports.bet) to the Stayers? (9/2 with starsports.bet)

The prospect has been raised by trainer Nicky Henderson after she finished behind stablemate Epatante at Kempton in a 2m1f gallop today, with Henderson saying: “JP can decide what he wants to do, but if she went to the Mares’ I can see a very good reason for Marie’s Rock running in the Stayers’ because that’s sort of what that gallop told us.”CHELTENHAM MARKETS


15 DAYS TO GO Monday 27 February

RACE ON FOR KENNEDY … Gordon Elliott will find out on Friday if his stable jockey Jack Kennedy is fit to ride at the Cheltenham Festival. Kennedy, who has been sidelined with a broken leg since early January, has been replaced temporarily by Star ambassador Davy Russell but Elliott intends to have him back as first string if he recovers in time. ⭐ CHELTENHAM MARKETS

DOUBLE YOUR MONEY? … Connections seeking a big payday have their eyes set on Saturday’s Morebattle Hurdle. The winner of that contest will land a £100,000 payday if they can double up in any race at the Festival, like The Shunter did last year in the Festival Plate. His trainer Emmet Kennedy is going for the double with McTigue, one of 26 entries at this stage. ⭐ CHELTENHAM MARKETS

POUR IT ON … With more dry days forecast in the leadup to The Festival, Clerk of the Course Jon Pullin and his team are set to continue watering all three courses as the prospect of any significant rain is reduced still further. ⭐ CHELTENHAM MARKETS


17 DAYS TO GO Saturday 25 February

FIRST THYME FOR EVERYTHING … Micheal Nolan will take the ride on leading contender Thyme Hill in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (5/1 with starsports.bet) after it was confirmed that Tom O’Brien will sadly miss the Festival with a dislocated shoulder. CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

HEAVEN ZENTA … There’s another new contender for the Triumph after Willie Mullins’ Zenta made a winning Irish debut in the Norman Colfer Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle today, despite battering the last two hurdles. Mullins confirmed she’ll join his Triumph team, although she may need to try jumping over the last two if she’s to justify ante-post quotes of 20/1 with starsports.bet… CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

NO SHOW MURPHY … Another jockey absence to report, although maybe in hindsight it’s not a surprise that three-time Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy is focusing on the flat turf season despite securing both a flat and jumps licence on his return to competitive action. CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐


18 DAYS TO GO Friday 24 February

THE AMERICAN DREAM … Last season’s Champion Bumper runner up American Mike could be heading to a Festival handicap. Gordon Elliott’s decision to run him at Fairyhouse tomorrow means he’ll be qualified for all Festival handicaps, with the Martin Pipe a possible target. Read more in Davy Russell’s latest blog here:

DAVY RUSSELL: Weekend Blog

BOWEN MISSES OUT … James Bowen will miss this year’s Festival after breaking his arm at Huntingdon on Thursday. His absence will provide a headache for Nicky Henderson, who is now without one of his top jockeys for Cheltenham. CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

PORTER ON TRACK … Dual Stayers’ Hurdle Winner Flooring Porter is on track for a hat-trick bid after impressing Gavin Cromwell on the gallops this week. Cromwell said: “He has seemed to come out of it well too, so we are on target for the Stayers’ at the moment.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

NO DONATS … Top French juvenile St Donats has been scratched from the Triumph Hurdle. A wide margin winner of the Grade One Prix Cambaceres, he was as short as 12/1 for the Triumph with starsports.bet before being removed. Willie Mullins’ Lossiemouth is the 6/4 favourite. CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐


19 DAYS TO GO Thursday 23 February

WRITING THE SCRIPT … Milton Harris has been talking up Triumph Hurdle contender Scriptwriter (16/1 with starsports.bet) ahead of his run in the Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Saturday. Harris told the Racing Post today that Britain’s leading ante-post contender “believes in himself now” adding “I’m trying not to tempt fate, but I think he’s a major contender in the Triumph.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

RIDE HIS WAY … With Tom Scudamore now retired, Nick Scholfield could be set to take the ride on Albert Bartlett contender Rock My Way. A 25/1 shot with starsports.bet, he won a Grade 2 over course and distance on Trials Day over 2m4f but is a 3m point winner who’s entered in the Albert Bartlett. CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

HAPPY AS BARRY … Owner/trainer Barry O’Connell has a lot to look forward to at the Festival as star novices Marine Nationale and Good Lane take aim at the Supreme Novices’ and Ballymore Hurdle respectively. O’Connell told the Sporting Life: “They have the ability to go over there and win, the two of them. They are both Grade One winners, we are not going over there winging it with something that has won a maiden hurdle. The two of them are entitled to be there on merit.” CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

POCKET GUIDE POPULAR … We can see plenty of you downloading the Davy Russell Pocket Guide to the Festival – it’s packed full of stats alongside Davy’s thoughts on the big races. However, if you prefer a copy in printed format we’re also sending copies to all the Star betting shops over the next couple of days so pop in and collect a copy.  CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐


⭕ 20 DAYS TO GO Wednesday 22 February

POWDER DRY … the trading room report a quieter ante-post book than usual. Thought to be a combination of punters keeping their powder dry until the day of race markets and also the wide open look to many of the races. Add to that a lot of the so-called bankers have been turned over in recent weeks and it’s a riddle wrapped up in an enigma – or something like that.  CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

WILLIAMS OUT … Jockey Lorcan Williams will miss the Cheltenham Festival having been among several jockeys to receive suspensions under the controversial new BHA guidelines. Williams was expected to ride Thyme White in the Brown Advisory.  CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

SECONDITIS … the marketing team are finalising their offers for the four-days of Cheltenham and there might be just be something quite eye-catching if you like concessions – especially when your horse finishes second. Details to follow soon and of course in our Racing Post adverts during the Festival.  CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

YES/NO … There’s still plenty of time to enter our popular Cheltenham YES/NO comp with a fantastic £500 FREE BET to be won. It couldn’t be easier to enter – just answer YES or NO to the 10 questions we’ve posed on what might happen at Cheltenham this year.  CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

ALL OUT … if you are travelling to Cheltenham by train from London on the Wednesday allow extra time (and money). A tube driver strike has been announced and if it goes ahead is likely to shut down most of the London Underground network.  CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐

THE WEATHER FRONT … We couldn’t resist a look at what the weather might* be. (* forecasts have been known to be wrong). If AccuWeather are right you won’t need sunglasses but might get wet 🙁 11 degrees and 61% chance of rain on the opening day. National Hunt weather as they say!  CHELTENHAM MARKETS ⭐


Hot off the press!
Our popular CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL POCKET GUIDE with Star’s brand ambassador DAVY RUSSELL.

Packed with stats and Davy’s views on the big races …

⭕ CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF ⭕


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