Assessing the Cheltenham Festival market movers following the thrilling festive period’s racing


The festive period is a feast for sports fans, which certainly applies to avid horse racing followers — as there were major meetings across the United Kingdom and Ireland across the Christmas season.

From the Leopardstown Christmas Festival to the prestigious King George VI at Kempton and the New Year’s Day meeting at Cheltenham, there was non-stop action between Boxing Day and January 1.

Of course, one of the main things punters are keeping a close eye on at this time of the year is hints for the Cheltenham Festival in March — and with some of the biggest names in racing on display, there were plenty of potential indicators.

With that in mind, let’s look at the market movers for the Festival’s biggest contests in the horse racing odds.

Jeriko Du Reponet – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Despite two classy wins over hurdles, including a victory at Newbury on December 30, not everyone seems convinced by Jeriko Du Reponet.

Last month, Nicky Henderson claimed that his five-year-old’s odds of 12/1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle were ridiculous.

However, after that aforementioned second win at Newbury, the JP McManus-owned horse is now as short as 5/1 in the bet on horse racing markets for the opening race of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

Henderson remained cautious following that recent success, claiming that if he can’t get another run in before Cheltenham,the horse won’t compete in the Supreme.

Marine Nationale – Arkle

Marine Nationale firmed up massively as the favourite for the Arkle Novices’ Chase following a commanding debut over fences in a Beginners Chase at Leopardstown on December 27.

The Barry Connell-trained horse was previously available at a general 5/2 for the second race of the Festival but after his eight-and-a-half-length win over Firm Footings, he’s now odds-on for the Arkle.

Marine Nationale’s hopes of winning the Grade 1 contest will have also been boosted by the fact Facile Vega was last of four runners at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.

Galopin Des Champs – Gold Cup

Last year’s Gold Cup heroin, Galopin Des Champs, left racing fans in awe with a stunning display in the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown on December 28.

The eight-year-old desperately needed a return to form after being beaten by Fastorslow twice since his Gold Cup win last March, and he delivered and then some with a 23-length win over Gerri Colombe.

That has resulted in Willie Mullins’ star becoming the outright favourite at 11/10 in the racing tips to defend his Gold Cup crown.

At the same time, Gerri Colombe — who was once practically neck-and-neck in the market for the Cheltenham showpiece with Galopin Des Champs — has drifted out to 11/1.

Dinoblue – Mares’ Chase

Another Mullins-trained horse who made headlines over the festive period, Dinoblue landed the Grade 1 Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase at Leopardstown by an impressive seven-and-a-half lengths from stablemate Gentleman De Mee.

It was a second successive win for the seven-year-old this season after she won the Grade 3 Barberstown Castle Chase at Naas in November and a fourth win in a row overall for Dinoblue following back-to-back wins in handicap chases at the end of last season.

Dinoblue is now the 7/4 favourite for the Mares’ Chase from 7/2, while her stablemate Allegorie De Vassy is out to 6/1 after being beaten by 33 lengths by Riviere D’etel in a Grade 3 Mares Chase at Fairyhouse on New Year’s Day.