Cheltenham Festival 2024: Handicaps Tips, Preview and Best Bets

Herrin Kendrick delves into the Cheltenham Festival 2024, focusing on the handicaps races where we he could find some good early value.

Selecting a winner for a Festival handicap on the day itself presents quite the challenge, but attempting to foresee the results at the end of January borders on the Herculean. Nonetheless, this daunting task hasn’t deterred Herrin from offering a few preliminary handicap tips at this early stage. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it…

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Road To Cheltenham Festival 2024: Best Four Handicaps Tips

£10 Returns £210

Reason for tip: Chianti Classico, showing consistent speed and stamina, is a top contender for the Ultima Handicap Chase, excelling in extended distances and challenging hurdles, making him poised to win.

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£10 Returns £170

Reason for tip: Kabral Du Mathan, trained by Paul Nicholls, shows great promise with impressive agility and potential for improvement, making him a strong contender for the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

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£10 Returns £SP

Reason for tip: Ballyadam, trained by Henry de Bromhead, known for consistency, resilience, and agility, is a strong favourite for the Coral Cup, excelling in varied race conditions and under pressure.

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£10 Returns £110

Reason for tip: Saint Roi, a Grade 1 winner with exceptional jumping skills, excels in high-pressure, crowded races, making him the top pick for victory in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase.

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Cheltenham Festival 2024: A Showcase of Handicap Racing Mastery

Introduction to Handicap Races at Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival, a pinnacle of National Hunt racing, presents an exhilarating display of handicap races, where skill, strategy, and stamina converge. Handicap races at the Festival level the playing field, assigning weights based on each horse’s previous performances. This ensures a competitive and unpredictable race, turning every contender into a potential winner. The festival’s handicap races, including the Ultima Handicap Chase, Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, Coral Cup, and more, offer a spectacle of equine athleticism and tactical jockeying.

Key Factors for Victory

Victory in these races demands more than just raw speed; it requires a blend of endurance, adaptability, and strategic race planning. Horses must navigate varying distances and hurdles, adapting to the unique challenges each race presents. Additionally, jockey experience and the ability to gauge the race’s tempo are crucial in making split-second decisions that could mean the difference between triumph and defeat.

Introduction to Handicap Races at Cheltenham Festival 2024 with Key Contender

The Cheltenham Festival, a celebration of National Hunt racing, features an array of captivating handicap races. These races embody the essence of horse racing, where strategic acumen, endurance, and skill are crucial for success. Here, we take an extensive look at some of these notable races and their distinguished contenders.

Ultima Handicap Chase A quintessential display of endurance and resilience, the Ultima Handicap Chase stretches over 3 miles and 1 furlong. It’s not just a race; it’s a test of a horse’s ability to endure the undulating and challenging course of Cheltenham. The race’s history is rich with stories of horses who, having triumphed here, have gone on to etch their names in the annals of races like the Grand National. This race demands not just physical stamina but also mental toughness and strategic racing from both horse and jockey.

  • Contenders: The likes of Chianti Classico and Meetingofthewaters are not just participating; they are challenging the legacy of this storied race. Their participation adds layers of excitement and anticipation, making this race a highlight of the festival.

Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle This race is a crucible for the stars of tomorrow, covering approximately 2 miles. It demands agility, speed, and quick decision-making, qualities essential in the world of hurdling. The Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle serves as a pivotal milestone in the careers of young hurdlers, often being a launchpad for them to reach the zenith of racing success.

  • Contenders: Horses like Kabral Du Mathan and Batman Girac, who possess the perfect amalgamation of raw talent and emerging skill, are set to turn this race into a spectacle of youthful exuberance and competitive spirit.

Coral Cup The Coral Cup is a harmonious blend of speed and stamina over 2 miles and 5 furlongs. It’s a testament to strategic brilliance, where jockeys and their mounts must find the perfect balance between conserving energy and seizing the opportune moment to strike. The race is renowned for its large field, which adds a level of unpredictability and excitement, making it a fan favourite.

  • Contenders: Horses like Ballyadam and Theatre Glory exemplify the essence of the Coral Cup. With their consistent performances and strategic prowess, they are expected to shine in this race, adding to its allure and thrill.

Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle This 3-mile hurdle race stands unique with its qualification criteria, making it a coveted goal for many. It tests the limits of stamina and hurdling ability, demanding excellence in both areas. The race’s history is peppered with stories of horses who have used this platform to catapult themselves into the limelight of National Hunt racing.

  • Contenders: Entrants like Icare Allen and Absolute Notions are not just participants but embodiments of the race’s spirit. Their potential and skill make them noteworthy competitors in this enduring test of equine prowess.

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase As the oldest race at the Festival, the Grand Annual is a fast-paced 2-mile chase that tests the mettle of the best chasers. It requires precise and agile jumping, coupled with the ability to maintain a blistering pace. The race has been a stepping stone for many chasers, leading them to greater achievements in the realm of National Hunt racing.

  • Contenders: Saint Roi and Sa Fureur, with their impressive form and adept jumping skills, are poised to add their names to the illustrious list of winners, elevating the status of this historic race.

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle Restricted to conditional jockeys, this race over 2 miles and 4 furlongs is a showcase of emerging talent in the jockeying world. It demands a fine balance of patience and timely aggression, skills that are essential for navigating through the typically large field.

  • Contenders: Stellar Story and King Of Kingsfield are set to display the strategic depth and racing acumen required in this race, highlighting the bright future of the sport.

Kim Muir Challenge Cup Spanning 3 miles and 2 furlongs, this race is an intriguing mix of experienced amateur riders and promising newcomers. It’s not just a race; it’s a narrative of passion and skill, where both horse and rider are tested to their limits.

  • Contenders: Cool Survivor and Yeah Man stand out as embodiments of the race’s ethos, blending experience with raw talent in this unique test of endurance and skill.

County Handicap Hurdle Covering 2 miles and 1 furlong, this race is a celebration of speed and agility over hurdles. It requires precise jumping and a robust sprint finish, often leading to a thrilling climax.

  • Contenders: Luccia and Bialystok, known for their swift and accurate hurdling, promise to make this race a highlight of the festival, showcasing the pinnacle of speed and agility in hurdling.

Cheltenham Festival 2024: Ante-Post Tips For Cheltenham Festival Handicap Races

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1. Ultima Handicap Chase: In-Depth Contender Analysis

Chianti Classico – This season, Chianti Classico has exhibited an impressive combination of attributes crucial for the Ultima Handicap Chase. His consistent performance showcases not just speed but a remarkable stamina, vital for the grueling 3m1f distance of the Ultima. His ability to maintain a strong pace over extended distances, coupled with an agile response to challenging hurdles, makes him a top contender. While Meetingofthewaters has also shown impressive form, the historical trend favours UK-based horses in this race. Chianti Classico’s track record, especially over similar distances, positions him as a frontrunner in this challenging event.

Prediction: Considering his robust performances and suitability for the race’s unique demands, Chianti Classico is poised to clinch the title in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

2. Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle: Detailed Contender Analysis

Kabral Du Mathan – Under Paul Nicholls’ expert tutelage, Kabral Du Mathan has emerged as a promising young talent. His performances in France and at Huntingdon have been nothing short of impressive, showcasing a blend of agility and a burgeoning ability to handle pressure. With a current rating of 122, he has the scope for significant improvement, which could be pivotal in the fiercely competitive environment of the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. His adaptability and growing confidence make him a formidable contender.

Prediction: Kabral Du Mathan, with his potential for growth and inherent talent, is likely to dominate in the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

3. Coral Cup: Comprehensive Contender Analysis

Ballyadam – Trained by the renowned Henry de Bromhead, Ballyadam has been a model of consistency over the past racing year. His performances have exhibited a rare blend of resilience and agility, key traits for the diverse challenges of the Coral Cup. Ballyadam has shown he can adapt to varying race conditions, a critical factor in a race as unpredictable as the Coral Cup. His track record of performing under pressure, coupled with his agility over hurdles, makes him a strong favourite.

Prediction: Ballyadam, with his impressive consistency and adaptability, is expected to rise to the occasion in the Coral Cup.

4. Grand Annual Handicap Chase: Thorough Contender Analysis

Saint Roi – As a Grade 1 winner, Saint Roi has already proven his calibre in high-stakes scenarios. His jumping skills are exemplary, an essential attribute for the Grand Annual Handicap Chase. His performance at Fairyhouse was a testament to his readiness for the pressures of a large field like that in the Grand Annual. His ability to navigate through crowded scenarios while maintaining speed and precision sets him apart as a top contender for this race.

Prediction: Given his track record and adaptability to high-pressure race conditions, Saint Roi is the top pick for victory in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase.

£10 Returns £210

Reason for tip: Chianti Classico, showing consistent speed and stamina, is a top contender for the Ultima Handicap Chase, excelling in extended distances and challenging hurdles, making him poised to win.

Best Bookmaker for this selection:

Don't Have a Fitzdares Account? Best Sign Up Offer Here

New customers only, aged 21+. Min deposit £10. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of Evens (2.0) or greater. Get 50% back on first day losses (up to 23:59) as a Free bet, up to £50, plus 10 Free Spins on Reel King, credited within 24 hours. Free Bet & Spins expire in 7 days. Additional T&Cs apply. Please bet responsibly. #Ad. 21+Only, begambleaware.org

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£10 Returns £170

Reason for tip: Kabral Du Mathan, trained by Paul Nicholls, shows great promise with impressive agility and potential for improvement, making him a strong contender for the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Best Bookmaker for this selection:

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£10 Returns £SP

Reason for tip: Ballyadam, trained by Henry de Bromhead, known for consistency, resilience, and agility, is a strong favourite for the Coral Cup, excelling in varied race conditions and under pressure.

Best Bookmaker for this selection:

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£10 Returns £110

Reason for tip: Saint Roi, a Grade 1 winner with exceptional jumping skills, excels in high-pressure, crowded races, making him the top pick for victory in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase.

Best Bookmaker for this selection:

Don't Have a Bet365 Account? Best Sign Up Offer Here

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Odds corrects at time of posting and subject to change; Stake Limits Might Apply; T&C's Apply; #Ad

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Herrin Kendrick
Herrin Kendrick is a sports journalist with 10 years of experience in the sports betting industry. His work has been referenced by many sports publications over the years. Sport passionate.