It’s a matter of weeks until the Cheltenham Festival 2023 kicks off in earnest. Last year’s festival was a real celebration of jump racing, given that spectators were also allowed back into the Prestbury Park racecourse following a two-year hiatus.
Described by many as the “World Cup of Jump Racing”, it could quite conceivably be considered one of the leading sports competitions on the planet. Cheltenham attracts many sports enthusiasts across its four-day event, who look on with interest at the most talented steeple chasers and stayers.
The Cheltenham ante post markets are some of the most talked about in British horse racing, with punters taking their time to research and find the best selections for the festival. Of all the Cheltenham Festival ante post favorites, Constitution Hill is the shortest-price favorite in the Unibet Champion Hurdle. Have a look at the biggest priced winners at last year’s Cheltenham festival trained by Nicky Henderson, this thoroughbred has all the ingredients to become the next jumping star after five unbeaten races over hurdles to date.
Currently, Constitution Hill is available at a best price of 4/11 in the Champion Hurdle ante post market. It’s possible that punters will be able to get a special price on him nearer the festival. One option some bookies take is to offer inflated odds with a maximum permitted stake. This is one of several alternatives to straight-up Cheltenham free bets, that keep things fresh year after year for wagering on the so-called “Greatest Show on Turf”.
Owned by Michael Buckley, Henderson’s long-time friend, Constitution Hill is hotly tipped to make it nine Champion Hurdle victories for the yard. When questioned about Constitution Hill’s preparation for Cheltenham, Henderson was extremely bullish, insisting that “nothing can frighten him” on the course. Henderson said that the six-year-old is “doing freakish things” despite only having “five runs in his life”.
Most potential winners of the Champion Hurdle will have had around a dozen races over hurdles, but Constitution Hill has had less than half of this experience and is still being primed to go all the way at Prestbury Park. Henderson even believes it could be possible to switch codes and pitch Constitution Hill into chasing; perhaps even attempting to emulate Dawn Run which remains the only horse to win the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The other short-price favorites ahead of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival
The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase is one of the most unique races in the festival schedule. Raced over Cheltenham’s cross-country circuit, this captures the imagination for traditionalists. Last year, Tiger Roll was primed for the final race of his career in the Cross Country Chase but was pipped in the closing stages by his stablemate Delta Work, who strolled to victory. The Gordon Elliott-trained Delta Work is just above even-money for the 2023 Cross Country Chase, with the likes of Galvin and Franco de Port expected to be hot on his heels this year.
Even the Cheltenham Gold Cup ante post market has a relatively short-priced favorite at the time of writing. Galopin Des Champs has been cut to 13/8 with most bookmakers, with punters believing that trainer, Henry de Bromhead, has the know-how to win another Gold Cup after his exploits with Al Boum Photo in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Galopin Des Champs won the Martin Pipe Conditional race at the 2021 festival and is the one to beat in the festival’s ‘Blue Riband’ race.
The feature race of Day Two, the Champion Chase, looks like being a two-horse race if the ante post markets are anything to go by. Energumene won the 2022 Champion Chase, showcasing blistering pace, and is the bookmakers’ 13/8 favorite to win back-to-back races. However, Edwardstone is also fancied by many punters, having stormed to victory in the 2022 Arkle Challenge Trophy. He’s also priced at 15/8 with some sites, although others have both selections priced at 13/8 with nothing to split them at present.