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Cheltenham Festival Review 2023

What a 4 days of racing that was at the Cheltenham Festival 2023. It had it all from Honeysuckle winning the Mares Hurdle which has to be the story of the festival, as it was so much more than Horse Racing when the Mare won. 

Constitution Hill winning the Champion Hurdle, just wow to Galopin Des Champs winning the Gold Cup. It was a festival like no other and we will go over every race and include a few horses to follow.
We came away with 12.2 points profit and that is now 15 from 15 Cheltenham Festivals in profit. 


That is a decade and a half without a losing festival, a stat I am very proud of. I put in a hell of a lot of work at the Cheltenham Festival and those who work the hardest, always get rewarded.
If truth be told we were never really on the back foot all week, we were always comfortably in profit from Day 1. We came away with 10 winners for the week, with Sire Du Berlais at 50/1 being the highlight and we had one horse let us down on the doubles and treble, as well as one horse in the Lucky 15s that we sent out. 
If truth be told, I don’t think the 12.2 points profit does us justice as along with the 10 winners we had 8 places. A couple more winners in the right places and we are probably looking at a 30 – 40 points profit job, it really was that close.
We have had lots of emails from customers asking how they can sign up so before producing the full review, I will go over that. 
We have just over a month left for the National Hunt Season and two festivals to get through with the Grand National Festival and Punchestown Festival. Obviously in between we also have our midweek and weekend tips.
The best and cheapest way to incorporate everything we send out over the next 36 days is to sign up for the remainder of the National Hunt for just £20.00 as this includes both festivals and all our midweek and festival tips.
Alternatively we will offer Festival subscription for both Aintree and Punchestown but the combined total of both will be more than £20.00, hence pointing you towards the remainder of the National Hunt Season. 
Anyway time to get on with the review but hopefully we look forward to welcoming you to JPW Racing Tipster where we will continue to smash the bookies over the next 36 days.
Just for fun at the bottom of this we have included an Ante Post Lucky 15, why not hey…
Supreme Novice Hurdle Review
Selections – Marine Nationale  (WIN), Doctor Bravo (E/W)
We got off to a fine start with MARINE NATIONALE easily dispatching the field. I was all over MARINE NATIONALE from a long way out although I must admit, the softer ground and weather forecast, leading up to the festival, was not ideal. The fact he was able to do that on soft ground, which is ground totally against him, tells us he is an even smarter horse than we all thought. He was given a great ride by Mikey O’Sullivan who always knew that if he covered Facile Vega to the last hurdle, the speed of MARINE NATIONALE would always win the race up the hill.
Where do they go with Marine Nationale next season? Well the shrewd trainer Barry O’Connell keeps his horses in training a year longer than others might, before running them, so MARINE NATIONALE is now a 6 year old and at next year’s festival he will be a 7 year old. With Constitution Hill on the scene over hurdles and the fact Marine Nationale is built like a chaser, I am pretty confident he will go over fences. I am sure they will stick to 2 miles as the horse has speed to burn. In the meantime, I would like to see Marine Nationale at Aintree, a course which would play to his strengths even more than Cheltenham in my opinion.
Marine Nationale also set up our double on Good Land who was running in the Ballymore on the Wednesday.
Our other selection was Doctor Bravo who ran a fair race. This is a horse who didn’t make his debut until December and he travelled well throughout. Maybe the lack of experience was his undoing but I imagine on a mark of 140, he is well handicapped.
Marine Nationale on better ground will improve again and next season I imagine we will see him chasing. Currently 5/1 for next year’s Arkle and with Impaire Et Passe likely to stay over hurdles and the same could be said about Constitution Hill, there is not much around in the 2 mile division which would beat him if he takes to fences like I think he will.
If we see Doctor Bravo line up in a handicap off 140, at the right course, I think he may go close now that he has more experience under his belt.
Arkle Chase Rreview
Selection – Jonbon (WIN)
Jonbon was easily put in his place by El Fabiolo. Credit where it is due to the winner who I thought would make mistakes but it was our selection, Jonbon, who came off worst in the jumping department. I always felt Jonbon wanted further and I am sure he will be aimed at the Ryanair Chase next season. As for the winner, Energumene has some serious competition on his hands in the Queen Mother Chase next season.
Nothing at the moment, although I will stick to what I said at the start of the season, Jonbon wants a trip. I said the same with Shishkin and even said he should have gone for the Gold Cup this year, which again looked the case. Give Jonbon 2m 5f and you will see an even better horse. 
Ultima Handicap Chase Review
Selections – Corach Rambler (E/W), Monbeg Genius, (E/W), The Big Breakaway (E/W)
The race I have made my own over the last 13 years, and that is now winner number 10 from 13 in the Ultima Handicap Chase. Corach Rambler was given a great ride on the inside from Derek Fox and he was always travelling. He is a horse who can sometimes hit a flat spot but today he was going easily. As soon as they kicked off the final bend and he was just off the pace, I knew nothing was getting home better than him. He now goes to the Grand National and he is the worthy favourite at 8/1. The further he goes the better and he has got to be 5lb – 7lb well in for the race.
We also came away with place money for Monbeg Genius who ran a mighty race to come home 3rd. He is only a novice who has only had 5 starts over fences. Don’t be surprised to see him line up in next year’s National as he is a very good jumper. 
Our other selection was The Big Breakaway who just couldn’t keep up with the pace. He wants deep deep ground and a huge trip. He is entered for the National and although he does not come into my consideration at this stage, if it did come up on heavy ground, I wouldn’t totally rule him out. 
If Corach Rambler takes to the National Fences, he will be a tough horse to beat in my opinion. Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox won the National with One For Arthur in 2017 and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them win it again, 6 years on. 
Champion Hurdle Review
Selection – Constitution Hill (Over 10 lengths)
Never any doubt that the superstar was going to win this race and I was confident it would be by a distance, so we went in with a over 10 lengths job. We have got to feel hard done by as Nico De Boinville didn’t ride him all the way to the line. It could have easily been a 15 length job.
What a machine and nothing is going to beat this horse for many years to come. Constitution Hill is a horse that National Hunt Racing needs as these horses don’t come around very often and we can enjoy a freak of a horse for a number of years now.
Mares Hurdle Review
Selection – Honeysuckle (WIN), Epatante (E/W)
The story of the festival has to be Honeysuckle. It was so much more than Horse Racing with Honeysuckle. Trainer Henry De Bromhead lost his young son Jack, in a freak accident over the summer. Absolutely devastating news for everyone. Honeysuckle was lining up in her 4th Cheltenham Festival and could she make it her 4th win? 
Many shrewdies in the industry were saying she was on the ‘decline’, she was the ‘lay’ of the festival’ and so on. I totally agree that she was on the decline but what they were all mistaking was the fact that this race was not the Champion Hurdle and a 85% Honeysuckle was easily good enough to win the race.
The rest is history and she was always going to win this in my opinion. She was 2nd on her previous start behind State Man, the form really was not that bad.
To be there at the course and to clap her into the winners enclosure was a very special moment for me. It was a ‘I was there’ moment and I have only ever had that feeling once before, when Sprinter Sacre came back to win the Champion Chase. To see the joy on the faces of Henry De Bromhead and everyone involved was just magic. Nobody should go through what they have over the last 6 months and young Jack was certainly smiling down on them. What a special moment that was and to be part of.
Our other selection Epatante was never really travelling like she can. I am afraid the ground went for her. I thought she might be good enough to sneak a place but it wasn’t to be.
Nothing for the notebook as such but I wouldn’t mind seeing Love Envoi line up in next year’s Stayers Hurdle. If it came up on soft ground she would have a great chance in my opinion with her 7lb claim.
Boodles Handicap Hurdle
Selections – Fils De Roi (E/W) Perseus Way (E/W)
No joy in this race although Fils De Roi did outrun his huge odds while Perseus Way probably did too much up front early on. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but Jazzy Matty could and should have been a play for us. I rate Mikey O’Sullivan very highly as a jockey and he was riding for Gordon Elliott and claiming 3lb. Jazzy Matty also had form behind our Ante Post pick who didn’t run, Common Practice. We learn from it and we move on. 
I have a few in here who I think will be better than their handicap marks but I will keep them to myself for now rather than broadcast them everywhere. I don’t mind at Grade 1 level as there is liquidity in the market and everyone has an opinion. In these handicaps, especially juvenile handicaps, I can’t do others work for them. As long as you are a member though, you will know about them before anyone else once they go out. 
National Hunt Challenge Cup
Selection – Galliard Du Mensil (Double with Shishkin)
He won well in the end but I am not so sure we would have if Mahler Mission stayed on his feet. Some say it was a tired fall, some say he would have won, I guess we will never know. Patrick Mullins made hard work of it and he was some way off but in the end he got home better than Chemical Energy, who in fairness, would have hated soft ground.
If Chemical Energy goes for the Irish National and it comes up decent ground, he would be on my radar. 
Ballymore Novice Hurdle
Selection – Good Land (E/W + plus double with Marine Nationale), Hermes Allen (WIN)
What a dream start this would have been had Good Land gone in. We were in singles and a double with Marine Nationale. If Good Land goes in, after just 8 races, it was a profitable festival. This is one of the many horses which could have made it a 30 – 40 points profit festival. It wasn’t to be and Good Land could only manage 4th place. A shame as going into the race I really fancied him but take nothing away from the winner, Impaire Et Passe, he was one of the best winners of the week. He drifted to 5/2 on the day which looking back was a great price.
We tried to play clever with Hermes Allen as a backup selection but it didn’t come off. 
Impaire Et Passe would go into many notebooks but the trouble with him is he will come up against Constitution Hill next season. Even though he ran a stinker, I think Hermes Allen will be a very good chaser and when he grows and matures next season, chasing will be his game. Paul Nicholls took a similar path with Bravemansgame and look at the improvement he has got out of that horse. 
Brown Advisory Novice Chase
Selection – Thyme Hill (E/W)
Very disappointed with Thyme Hill, his jumping was terrible and spent far too long in the air. He is a talented horse but the trouble with him is you don’t know which horse is going to turn up over fences.
The winner The Real Whacker, I just couldn’t have and if you give me 5 stabs, I still wouldn’t have backed it. Credit where it is due to trainer Patrick Neville though, a great training performance. 
Gerri Colombe was given a bad ride by Jordan Gainford and he was always too far back. Had he had him just a little closer, he may well have won.
Sir Gerhard cruised into the race but he just didn’t get home over 3 miles. I bet Willie Mullins wishes he went for the Turners Chase as he is sure to have gone close in that race. A drop in distance and no with some more experience under his belt, Sir Gerhard could be winning next time out. 
Coral Cup
Selections – Langer Dan (E/W), Good Risk At All (E/W)
Another handicap and another winner for us as Langer Dan got his deserved win. I said in the write up he deserved the win after falling last year and bumping into Galopin Des Champs in 2021. He was given a great ride and to be fair to Harry Skelton, he got a tune out of the horse up the hill. I was expecting it to be the other way around, for him to be travelling and the hill stopping him. He was off the bridle coming around the bend but then flew up the hill. 
Our other selection was Good Risk At All who came wide throughout and ended up with 7th place. Although we didn’t officially collect on the results, lots of bookmakers were paying 7 places so well done to those who got paid out.
Like in the Boodles Handicap Hurdle, I have many horses lined up in this race, given the right conditions but for now I won’t reveal them and do other people’s work for them. As always though, if you are a member, you will be the first to know.
Queen Mother Chase
Selections – Energumene (WIN), Greaneteen (E/W 3 places, Ante Post)
Another winner in the bag and if truth be told, I didn’t see it any other way. Back to the old course, as I always say I can forgive a horse a bad run and I always felt Willie Mullins didn’t have him spot on at Festivals Trials Day, he thought 90% would win the race. It really was easy work and Energumene won as easily as you like.
We also sent out Greaneteen as an Ante Post bet so we could take full advantage of the 3 places, which I mentioned in the write up back in February. I get some new customers may have missed that boat but it was an advised bet for 80% of our customers. 
As long range bets go, Energumene looks solid at 7/2 for next year. El Fabiolo looks sure to test him but other than that, I can’t see many other threats next season. I wouldn’t say go and lump him Ante Post but for those who like early accumulators for a couple of quid, I wouldn’t be putting anything else in other than Energumene who will be bidding for his 3rd Champion Chase. He is only going to be 10 next year and with only 14 runs in his career, he is very lightly raced. 
Cross Country Chase
Selection – Delta Work (Treble with Constitution Hill and Mighty Potter)
With the soft ground and the experience around the course, there was only going to be one winner this time around. Credit where it is due to Galvin though. This was his first time over the circuit and he only went down by 2 lengths. The pair pulled 30 lengths clear of 3rd and it really was a demolition job from the front two in the market.
No betting available yet but I would be interested to see how they open. If the ground was better next year and with more experience and with Delta Work being a year older, I fancy Galvin to turn the form around. Galvin is only a 9 year old whereas Delta Work is a year older. 
Grand Annual Chase
Selections – Elixir De Nutz (E/W) Andy Dufresne (WIN)
Not to be in this race and although Elixir De Nutz ran a great race for a long way, he just could go with them up front. Maybe a step up in trip is needed for him. Andy Dufresne was clearly too high in the handicap and his rating of 155 with surely come down to around 151 after that.
The winner was not even on my radar so with 10 selections I wasn’t picking him.
Once again I will be keeping my cards close to my chest with the handicaps. I have a few in my notebook, that is all we need to know for now.
Champion Bumper
Selection – Better Days Ahead (E/W)
It wasn’t to be for Better Days Ahead who finished well down the field. He will be a better horse once he goes jumping and gets a step up in trip. The winner Dream To Share was purchased by JP McManus after winning at the Dublin Racing Festival and he confirmed the form with Fact To File. He probably was a bet looking back at how well he won at the Dublin Racing Festival but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Let’s just say Paul Townend didn’t get serious on It’s For Me and was given a rather tentative ride like his best days were ahead of him. 


Turners Novice Chase
Selections – Mighty Potter (Last leg of treble), Appreciate It (WIN)
We tried to be clever once again and for the 2nd time came unstuck. Lessons to be learnt and another point wasted. Mighty Potter was terrible and was given a bit of a stinker by Davy Russell. I can’t put my finger on it and maybe it was the course or he was having a bad day. He stayed on up the hill but was never travelling in the race.
Appreciate It came there strongly but couldn’t get up the hill and to rub salt in the wound, one of our selections on Trials Day, Stage Star went and won. I was a bit annoyed with the result as I am a sucker for course form and Stage Star had it in the bag from Festival Trials Day. The thing that got me here was the poor effort from Hermes Allen and how far ahead I thought the Irish horses were. A bad start to the day.
I am all for giving horses a 2nd chance and if Jack Kennedy is in the saddle next time out on Mighty Potter, I am sure we will see a better horse. 
Pertemps Hurdle Handicap
Selection – Walking On Air (E/W)
What a stinker Nico De Boinville had here on Walking On Air. Not saying I am sure he would have beaten the winner, Good Time Johnny, but Nico let him through a gap which he should have taken on Walking On Air. That would have closed the gap on Good Time Johnny who would have had to switch. That is called race riding and given how sweetly Walking On Air was travelling, if he was kicked on and found that gap, we may have been on the winner. He is certainly one that got away and I am not one to blame jockeys normally but Nico needs to have a word with himself after this ride. We picked up place money but it could and should have been different. Go back and watch the race back, Liam McKenna gave the winner a great ride but if we closed the gap for him as Nico should have, it is a different story.
I don’t think Walking On Air went unnoticed so I don’t need to keep my cards close to my chest. In reality it could be a blessing in disguise as maybe he will come down the handicap a pound or two. I still think Walking On Air is ahead of the handicapper and we will get him next time out or at some point. 
Ryanair Chase
Selection – Shishkin (Double with Galliard Du Mensil), Chacun Pour Soi (E/W)
The day was going from bad to worse and of all the horses to win the race, Envoi Allen, our King George selection. Shishkin hit every fence and only got beat by 2 lengths so the best horse lost but jumping is the name of the game. As I said in the write up this horse wants 3 miles plus and next up Shishkin will run over 3 miles at Aintree.
Chacun Pour Soi was a speculative small each way but he just didn’t stay the trip, as simple as that. 
I have watched this race back 20 times and how the hell did Shishkin only get beat by 2 lengths. It was one shuddering mistake after another and any other horse would have been pulled up. The engine on Shishkin is just amazing but he will have to jump way better next time out. After he won the Supreme Novice I said he wants 3 miles and next time out he is over 3 miles for the first time in his career. I doubt we will get any sort of price but saying that I am sure plenty will want to take him given how bad his jumping was. 
Stayers Hurdle
Selections – Home By The Lee (E/W), Sire Du Berlais (E/W)
Finally we got our winner on the board at a huge 50/1. What a winner and what a price. Unbelievable scenes when Sire Du Berlais flew up the hill. On Wednesday morning prior to racing I had already lined him up and he was 80/1 for the Thursday. Obviously went racing and come home to finish write ups, to find him at 50/1 which was still a huge price. A tad gutted we missed the 80/1 but I will take a 50/1 winner any day of the week. How he went off 50/1 given his festival form is beyond me. He is a spring horse who has won 2 pertemps hurdles and finished 2nd in this very race in 2021. Whatever he did over the winter, can always be written off as he just comes alive at Cheltenham. Once a Cheltenham horse, always a Cheltenham horse. The amount of horses who just keep coming back year in year out and running their races at Cheltenham is amazing. Sire Du Berlais was given a great ride by Mark Walsh and that hill just brings out the best in him.
Home By The Lee ran a great race he made a very bad mistake 5 hurdles out which would have knocked the stuffing out of him. To still run on for 5th place was an excellent effort. WIthout that mistake he places at the very least as he flew up the hill.
Home By The Lee goes into my notebook along with Blazing Khal. I thought Blazing Khal travelled strongly into the race and with the reports he was 50/50 a week before the race, he was clearly not at his 100%. To travel into the race like he did, not at his best, tells me if they can keep him right, he will go close next time out.
Plate Handicap Chase
Selections – IL Ridoto (E/W), Midnight River (E/W)
To be fair I was never backing Seddon with 10 selections if truth be told. Credit to John McConnell he really got his horse firing at Cheltenham and after Mahler Mission falling with the race at his mercy, he deserved this. 
IL Ridoto ran with credit to get some pace money but he was obviously high enough in the weights. The same can be said about Midnight River but I also feel he wants a bit of better ground. 
A race in which I haven’t really got a handle on, post festival. A bit of a false result I feel so needs more time and more angles.
Mares Novice Hurdle
Selection – Princess Zoe (E/W)
Princess Zoe made a huge mistake at the last hurdle which cost us the place. Doubtful that she would have won but she lost all momentum and still stayed on up the hill. If he pings the last she is in the first 3 without doubt.
Again another race which is hard to get a handle on. Luccia was poor but once again so was Nico De Boinville. The winner won well and I could see her going up in trip but whether she would be good enough to trouble the boys, is doubtful. Magical Zoe travelled well. Funny old race.
Kim Muir Handicap Chase
Selection – Dunboyne (E/W), Musical Slave (E/W)
Dunboyne came home 4th for each way money while Musical Slave was well beaten. A nothing race really and I would only take the 2nd out of the race. 
Triumph Hurdle
Selection – Lossiemouth (WIN)
As easy a winner as you will see all week. Lossiemouth cantered around and virtually won on the bridle. She is a very smart juvenile and will take some stopping in the Mares Hurdle next year at the Cheltenham Festival. She is only a 4 year old and has so much more improvement to come next year.
With how good Willie Mullins is with his Mares, I am sure he has another very smart mare on his hands. As already noted she will take some stopping in the Mares Hurdle next year if kept fit and well.
County Hurdle
Selections – Sharjah (E/W), Pembroke (E/W)
Sharjah ran a cracking weight given he was carrying lumps of weight. I am sure had the ground been a bit better, he could have won the race. The gap closed on him approaching the final hurdle and just like Walking On Air in the Petemps, Faivoir (the winner) found the gap. If that gap is closed Sharjah has the first run. He will remain on 155 and maybe if Paul Townend rides next time, he could still win a handicap.
Our other horse was  Pembroke and it was all based on the form of Dan Skelton in this race with 3 winners in the last 7 years. Guess what… Faivoir is also trained by Dan Skelton..a bit of a tough one to take.
As with a few handicap races, I am keeping my card close to my chest. I have a few lined up from this race in the right conditions. 
Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle
Selections – Three Card Brag (WIN), Favori De Champdou (E/W)
Both of our selections were disappointing, especially Three Card Brag who I was quietly confident going into the race. Favori De Cahmpdou was far too keen and the winner Stay Away Fay was a winner that got away. I narrowed the race down to 3 horses (Stay Away Fay being one of them) but got roped into the Gordon Elliott angle which I mentioned. Stay Away Fay got away. We live and learn.
A few in this race will make nice chasers next season. The reason I left Stay Away Fay out was because I felt chasing will be his game next year. Corbetts Cross who ran out at the last will also be another good chaser. As will Three Card Brag. Some nice stayers in this field once they see a fence. 
Gold Cup
Selections – Bravemansgame (E/W), A Plus Tard (WIN), Royal Pagaille (E/W)
What a winner Galopin Des Champs was, credit where it was due. I said he would be a tough horse to take on and so it proved. He hit about 4 or 5 fences and still got the job done. He is going to take some stopping.
Bravemansgame, a horse I have always had a soft spot for ran with credit and came home 2nd, beaten by an outstanding horse on the day.
A Plus Tard was very unlucky when Ahoy Senor fell in front of him. He was still travelling and starting to creep into the race. It would have taken some performance to beat Galopin Des Champs but it would have been nice to see A Plus Tard finish the race without and problems, at least we would have known where we stand.
Royal Pagaille plugged on for 6th place and we played him to pick up some pieces, not far away.
Galopin Des Champs will take some stopping next year as he is only going to improve again but he will be no price. Bravemansgame has the King George Chase at his mercy and he showed everyone he really is a force to be reckoned with and Cheltenham is no problem to him. A Plus Tard has now had his best days and will decline next year and I can’t see any novices coming through the ranks apart from Mighty Potter who disappointed on Thursday. 
Foxhunters Chase
Selections – Chris’s Dream (E/W), Famous Clermont (E/W)
A funny old race and I was never having the first 2. I thought Famous Clermont was coming with a nice run but it fizzled out while Chris’s Dream stayed on for place money.
Nothing to take out of the race really, it was messy.
Mares Chase
Selection – Allegorie De Vassy (WIN)
She came there cruising but she didn’t get up the hill as good as Impervious, as simple as that. I am sure on a flat track she could reverse the form and Allegorie De Vassy has more improvement to come. The best horse won on the day though and the horse who got up the hill. 
Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
Selection – Might I
He came home 4th for place money and ran a very good race. He should come down the handicap a pound or two and should have a race in him sooner rather than later. The winner Iroko is only a 5 year old and was there to be backed given he was on the improve. 
I will take 12.2 points profit and that is now 15 from 15 Cheltenham festivals in profit. A decade and half of profit is as good as it gets. I hope everyone appreciates the hard work which went in and we left nothing on the line. Hard work will always be rewarded and to nail a 50/1 winner was a great feeling.
We move on to the next festival at Aintree and we still have the remainder of the National Hunt Season left which I intend to finish in style.
If you are not on board yet and like the work produced, come and join us for the remainder of the National Hunt Season. If not then our next festival will be the Grand National Festival followed by Punchestown. 
Over and out and any feedback is always appreciated. 
Arkle Chase 2024 – MARINE NATIONALE 5/1
Mares Hurdle 2024 – LOSSIEMOUTH 5/1
Champion Chase 2024 – ENERGUMENE 11/4
Ryanair Chase 2024 – JONBON 8/1
All with Bet 365

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