Willie Mullins Expected to Dominate the 2018 Cheltenham Festival
There were a record 19 Irish winners at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival with Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott training six apiece. The Mullins yard sends a suitably strong string to Prestbury Park for the 2018 event which gets underway on March 13th. The 61-year-old made a slow start to last year’s Festival but landed a four-timer on the Thursday and he’ll be hoping to get off to a stronger start this time around.
Getabird is the overwhelming favourite in the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle at 7/4 and will be aiming to get his trainer off to the perfect start in Gloucestershire. Ruby Walsh, who made a winning return to the saddle at Thurles on March 8th will be aiming to guide the six-year old to victory and reward ante-post backers. Kalashnikov could provide the biggest threat for British trainer Amy Murphy and is priced at 7/2 with Ladbrokes.
One of the most talked about horses of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is Footpad, who will be hoping to continue his fine run of form in the Arkle. The chaser has been excellent this season and has been heavily backed in the ante-post markets and is currently available at 5/4. The race has attracted just a small field this year and Footpad’s nearest challenger is likely to be Petit Mouchoir, who is rated as a 9/4 chance by Paddy Power.
Douvan Gunning for Glory in the Ryanair
Douvan arrives at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival with entries to a number of races. Willie Mullins revealed that connections are keen to keep the French-bred star and his stable-mate Min apart which could mean a crack at the Ryanair Chase. He was originally scheduled for a comeback run in the Red Mills Chase but wasn’t deemed fit enough to compete at Gowran Park and fans are looking forward to seeing the eight-year old back in action. He is currently listed as the 5/2 second favourite to stable-mate Un Des Sceaux, who is available at 5/4.