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In national hunt racing, the dawn of a new year means but one thing – the Road to Cheltenham. The four-day festival is the climax of the jumps racing season in the UK and Ireland, acting as a kind of finale to all that has preceded it in the months beforehand. Sure, there are other big events like the Aintree Grand National and the Punchestown Festival (IRE), but ask any top trainer or jockey where their thoughts are right now, and they will all tell you the Cheltenham Festival (14th-17th March, 2023).

As with all major racing festivals, the cauldron of action allows new stars to be born. But there will also be many returning heroes wanting to consolidate their status as Cheltenham legends. Below, we want to pick out a mélange of those, looking at five horses who could be making headlines at Cheltenham 2023.

Constitution Hill

At the time of writing, Constitution Hill boasts the shortest odds in the horse racing betting for any race at the Festival. That just happens to be one of the key races – the Champion Hurdle. Odds of just 1/3 in the ante-post markets tell you just how highly-rated this horse is. Trained by Nicky Henderson, Constitution Hill was stunning in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2022, winning over the brilliant Jonbon by 22 lengths. He was close to perfect in reappearing over the winter months, and he looks to have the world at his feet. The closest thing we have to a sure winner at Cheltenham this year.

Galopin Des Champs

Sometimes in horse racing you just have to stand back and admire greatness. Is Galopin Des Champs there yet? No. But the horse looks like he is something special, very special. He duked it out with Bob Olinger at Cheltenham last year, beating his rival before inexplicably falling at the final fence. While that defeat obviously taints his record, his reputation was enhanced – something akin to a supreme boxing performance falling to a sucker punch. He is favorite for the biggest race at Cheltenham – the Gold Cup – and from what we have seen, he deserves to be there.


Last year’s Champion Chase winner will come back for another bite at glory, and it’s hard to go against the stablemate of Galopin Des Champs. Energumene has been close to perfect for the last two years, only narrowly losing to Shishkin in a race for the ages in the Clarence House Chase last year. He will return to that stage in preparation for Cheltenham again in a couple of weeks, and it is hard to look past him. He is odds-on favorite for the Champion Chase, but there is competition from the likes of Blue Lord and Edwardstone.


Hmmm. Honeysuckle’s record reads 16 wins from 17 races, making the mare one of the best we have seen in the 21st century. The record includes three Grade 1 wins at Cheltenham, including two Champion Hurdle wins. So how are we in the position of casting doubt on this queen of jumps racing? The problem comes in that the only blot on her resume came in her last outing, a tepid performance when coming third in early December. Some might worry that the brilliant mare has lost her mojo. Regardless, all eyes will be on her as she aims for a fourth Cheltenham win.


Another one from Willie Mullins’ endless production line of brilliant horses. Allaho is interesting not just because he is a great horse – he undoubtedly is – but more so because he doesn’t seem to have a defined role. It is possible that Mullins puts him into the Ryanair Chase, a race he has won on two occasions. But might bigger goals lie ahead? He is also the favorite for the feature race on St Patrick’s Thursday – the Stayers’ Hurdle.

There are more interesting articles in our section on Racing & Wagering.

Equine Info Exchange

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