Haydock winners to watch at this year’s Cheltenham Festival
The Cheltenham Festival is now just under a week away with four days of top-class action set in the rolling hills of Gloucestershire.
With the likes of Envoi Allen, Paisley Park and Al Boum Photo set to light up Prestbury Park, this year’s meeting promises to be a fantastic spectacle despite being held behind closed doors.
Haydock Park stages a number of trials for the Cheltenham Festival throughout the season and we have picked out some horses who have flourished at Haydock this term who look set to play a leading role at Prestbury Park next week.
Royale Pagaille – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase / National Hunt Chase / Cheltenham Gold Cup
One of the most fascinating runners at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Royale Pagaille has three entries at the meeting, but looks more likely to run in either the National Hunt Chase or Jump racing’s Blue Riband event, the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Trained by Venetia Williams, Royale Pagaille’s form this season has been nothing short of extraordinary. The seven-year-old was an easy seven-length winner at Haydock on his debut this term, before backing that victory up with success at Kempton in a competitive handicap over the Festive period.
However, the Blue Bresil gelding really outlined his credentials for the Cheltenham Festival with success in the Grade Two Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock in January. Despite having to carry top-weight in testing ground over an extended three miles and one furlong, he was far too good for his rivals, coming clear to win by 16 lengths.
That performance immediately earmarked him as a contender for the Gold Cup, for which he is a general 8/1 chance. Royale Pagaille would be seeking to emulate Coneygree (2015) and Captain Christy (1974) as novice chasers who went on to win the Gold Cup in the same season.
Royale Pagaille is also the 6/4 favourite for the National Hunt Chase over three miles and six furlongs, which currently makes him the shortest-priced favourite in the history of the event.
Alaphilippe – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
Another horse who has been the subject of interest in the lead-up to the Cheltenham Festival is Alaphilippe. Trained by Fergal O’Brien, the seven-year-old was purchased for just €12,000, but has gone on to already earn over £23,000 in prize money during his career.
The Morozov gelding produced his best performance to date when capturing Grade Two honours in the Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock. He kept on gamely in testing conditions that day, scoring by 14 lengths and outlined his credentials for the Albert Bartlett in the process.
A 10/1 chance for the three-mile event, he looks one of the leading players for that event.
Third Wind – Coral Cup / Pertemps Network Final
The Hughie Morrison-trained Third Wind is another horse who has taken his form to another level this term. An excellent second at Haydock in November in a competitive handicap event he went on to finish a fine fifth in Grade One company at Ascot in December behind Paisley Park.
The seven-year-old entered the Cheltenham picture with his latest success when gamely seeing off 2020 Stayers’ Hurdle hero Lisnagar Oscar in the Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock in February.
Third Wind demonstrated his stamina-laden credentials that day and connections are now targeting either the two and a half-mile Coral Cup (20/1) or the Pertemps Network Final for which he is also a 20/1 chance and is sure to be suited by thew three-mile trip.
Admirel – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
Tom Lacey’s stable star Admirel has progressed rapidly over hurdles this term and remains unbeaten in three starts over timber. Successful at Sandown on his hurdling debut, the six-year-old produced a smart display to justify odds-on favouritism at Haydock in December.
Admirel has since backed up that victory with a game success in Graded company at Warwick in January over two and a half-miles and looks set to step up to three miles for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, for which he is a 14/1 shot, at Cheltenham next week.
Bushypark – Pertemps Network Final
One of the real success stories of this term. Bushypark won his first race this season off a mark 83 and has now won five of his last six starts.
The seven-year-old is a dual winner at Haydock this term, scoring by 19 lengths in December, whilst recording an eight and a half-length win in a competitive handicap back at the Merseyside venue last time out.
He looks a fascinating runners in the Pertemps Network Final, where he is generally available at 20/1 for the three-mile event.
Analysis via Betting Expert