Five Rivalries to Ignite the Cheltenham Festival 2018


Five Rivalries to Ignite the Cheltenham Festival 2018

The Cheltenham Festival (13th-16th March) is just around the corner and it seems this year’s event is once again going to be an intriguing affair. As ever, the cornerstone of the Festival is based on the rivalries – always fierce, yet friendly – that spring up around the event. These add an extra dimension to the races, making the action must-see. Five battles that could make Cheltenham 2018 special are discussed below:

Britain vs. Ireland:

A few days before Ireland take on England on St Patrick’s Day in one of the biggest Six Nations Rugby games in history, we will get to see Irish trainers try to reassert their dominance over the Cheltenham Festival. Last year, Irish-trained horses took 19 wins from the 28 races – a record for the Festival. There is a general feeling that the British trainers can get much closer this year however, with the likes of Nicky Henderson brining a strong contingent to Prestbury Park.

Gordon Elliott vs. Willie Mullins:

Much of that Irish dominance was down to the brilliance of two trainers – Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott. They took six wins each at the Festival last year and look likely to be very close again this year. Their rivalry is very personal too: Mullins lost 60 Gigginstown Stud horses after a fall out with Michael O’Leary over training fees and Elliott was the trainer who gained the majority of those talented runners. On Day 1 Elliott has Apple’s Jade, currently priced as 8/13 favourite in the Mares’ Hurdle, and Mullins has Let’s Dance as second favourite at 5/1 – that’s just a taste of the fascinating battle between these two top trainers.


Faugheen vs. Buveur D’Air:

It’s amazing to think that Faugheen was first bought for €4000, which goes to show you never know what you could get when buying horses. He was the talk of Cheltenham for several years but, unfortunately, now most are forecasting the end of his career. Have they spoke too soon? Faugheen is 6/1 for the Champion Hurdle and takes on the highly fancied Buveur D’Air (4/9). Can the 10-year-old delight the crowds one final time? Plenty of Irish punters will hope that is the case.


Sizing John vs. Native River vs. Might Bite:

All of a sudden, the Cheltenham Gold Cup looks like it could be a cracker. Might Bite, who was installed as 4/1 favourite after winning the King George VI Chase, looks like he has some competition on his hands in the form of Sizing John and Native River. The former, of course, was the winner of the race last year and should be respected. However, Native River returned to action with a win in the Denman Chase and has rocked the odds. Both horses are available at around 6/1. This could be a three-way battle for the ages. Want the best value and latest odds? Check out Cheltenham Betting Offers & Odds for 2018


Ruby Walsh vs. Everyone:

When Ruby Walsh finally calls time on his career, he may finally be acknowledged with the tag he deserves – one of Ireland’s all-time sporting greats. He is recovering from a broken leg suffered in November, but that should not stop him bouncing back with more wins at the 2018 Festival. Walsh is mercurial at Cheltenham, leading the way with 56 wins as a jockey. He has won the top jockey award nine out of the last ten years and is priced at 4/6 to do it again this year. That could be the surest bet of the Festival.