Cheltenham Festival 2024: Who could win the championship races?

Cheltenham Festival 2024: Who could win the championship races?

The Cheltenham horse racing festival is arguably the standout event of the jump racing season. It is the first of the United Kingdom’s major multiple-day meetings each year.

In 2024, some of the leading horses that excel on tracks featuring fences or hurdles will flock to the South of England yet again to star in the festival’s biggest races.

The four championship races will again take precedence as they carry the biggest prizes and the greatest media attention. Here we will preview the quartet of headline events, looking at the horses that are poised to be the frontrunners.

The Gold Cup

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a world-famous event which closes out the festival annually. It is reserved for the final day as it is the most significant race on the four-day schedule – in theory, it determines the leading racehorse when it comes to jumps each year.

There is a huge expectation this time around that the title will be retained by last year’s emphatic champion Galopin des Champs. The horse won by a remarkable seven lengths in the 2023 Gold Cup, and in odds for betting on Cheltenham races for 2024 he is offered at 8/11 to win again.

With Galopin des Champs being a significant odds-on favourite, the horse will likely be a convincing winner for a consecutive year. However, other key contenders could take advantage if the French horse encounters any issues.

Fastorslow is probably the most likely to cause an upset according to Cheltenham tips. The horse won at Punchestown twice in 2023, and will now look to build on that with Cheltenham success at the third time of asking.

Shishkin will likely also be amongst the frontrunners in the race after winning the Denman Chase to begin 2024 in excellent form.

The 2024 Gold Cup will be filled with a range of top-level racehorses as is typical for the event. However, Galopin des Champs stands out above all of the rest. The horse is arguably the greatest in the world in terms of jump racing, and it would be a shock if his status is not cemented with a Cheltenham win to open the year.

Champion Hurdle

The Champion Hurdle runs on the opening day of each annual offering of the Cheltenham Festival. Hurdle races typically involve less experienced jump horses as they are smaller than fences – which are used in the Gold Cup – but that does not mean there are not many exciting talents set to star at the first feature event this year.

Constitution Hill is an overwhelming favourite to win the Champions Hurdle offered at 1/4. Galopin des Champs is another horse looking to retain his 2023 Cheltenham title in its respective race.

State Man, who finished runner-up in 2023, is predicted to provide the strongest competition for last year’s champion again – he is offered at 5/2 to win the headline race of the first day.

He went on a streak of four wins since losing out at Cheltenham last year and is the only horse who should realistically cause any problems for Constitution Hill.

Champion Chase

The Champion Chase is the feature event of Cheltenham’s second day, and it also has an outstanding favourite who is expected to romp to victory in Gloucestershire.

El Fabiolo is offered as a huge 2/5 favourite to build on his 2023 Novices’ Chase win with a victory in the more prestigious race of the same format this year.

The French horse could extend his winning streak to eight races at Cheltenham and in some of those wins he was as far as 19 lengths ahead of the runner-up.

It would be a massive shock if his remarkable speed were to be topped by another horse in the Champion Chase. El Fabiolo will surely secure the biggest success of his career so far.

Stayers’ Hurdle

The Stayers’ Hurdle acts as the final feature event of Cheltenham before the big one – the Gold Cup.

This year it could be the most exciting race as there is no clear favourite to triumph on Cheltenham. Teahupoo (3/1) and Irish Point (7/2) are expected to go head-to-head at the front.

The former has valuable experience under his belt, having recorded a third-place finish in the same race last year. The latter will make his debut run at Cheltenham, although he earned an impressive win at Aintree last year in the Novices’ Hurdle.

This event cannot be confidently predicted, which could make it a much more intriguing spectacle when the festival comes around.

Cheltenham 2024 is set to feature incredibly dominant racehorses from all around the world, and regardless of the eventual winners, it will undoubtedly offer some of the greatest horse racing action of the overall calendar this year.