Haydock winners heading to the 2022 Cheltenham Festival

The 2022 Cheltenham Festival promises to be a fantastic meeting with a capacity crowd back at Prestbury Park this year.

By Sports reporter
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 5:01 pm
The Cheltenham Festival starts next week
The Cheltenham Festival starts next week

Some of the sport’s leading names such as Honeysuckle, Shishkin, Minella Indo, Allaho, A Plus Tard, Bob Olinger, Galopin Des Champs and Bravemansgame are all in action.

Haydock Park Racecourse has played host to a number of performers who are set to line up at Cheltenham next week and we have previewed the pick of those contenders below.

Jonbon Race: Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Tuesday, 1.30pm) Odds: 9/2 with BetfairNicky Henderson looks to have a strong hand in the curtain-raiser of this year’s Cheltenham Festival with Constitution Hill and Jonbon. The latter, a £570,000 purchase by JP McManus is unbeaten in two starts over hurdles for the Seven Barrows maestro, backing up a smooth win on his debut over the smaller obstacles at Newbury with success at Haydock last time out. Despite a mistake at the third-last, Jonbon displayed a good attitude to score on testing ground. Whilst that performance has been crabbed in certain areas, that performance should have helped Jonbon with his experience with that effort helping him become battle-hardened, a factor which could prove pivotal in this event. Better ground should also see him in a better light and he is taken to get the better of his stable companion who has looked brilliant in two wins at Sandown this term.

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Tommy’s Oscar Race: Champion Hurdle (Tuesday, 3.30pm) Odds: 25/1

One of the success stories of the season for Ian and Ann Hamilton. The training partnership based in Northumberland have enjoyed a brilliant season, amassing over £222,000 in prize with 12 winners from 28 runners at a 43% strike-rate. Following Listed glory for Nuts Well in the Premier Chase at Kelso earlier this month, the husband and wife duo chase more big-race success when the ultra-progressive Tommy’s Oscar takes on the likes of Honeysuckle and Appreciate It. The stable star has won his last four starts, which culminated in a facile victory in Graded company in The New One Hurdle. Tommy’s Oscar clearly needs to step up on that form if he is going to down the colours of former winners Honeysuckle and Epatante. However, he remains thoroughly unexposed and is progressing at a rate of knots. He is certainly one to watch in the two-mile hurdling championship in a race full of quality.

Hillcrest Race: Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Friday, 2.50pm) Odds: 3/1

Henry Daly’s charge has won four of his five starts over hurdles and this strapping individual has plenty of ability. He recordedd his latest success when powering to success in the Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle, a recognised trial for this event and he looks sure to go close for connections if they decide to run here.

A Plus Tard Race: Cheltenham Gold Cup (Friday, 3.30pm) Odds: 5/2

In one of the stand-out performances of the National Hunt season, A Plus Tard was a stunning XX-length winner of the Betfair Chase for Henry De Bromhead. The xx-year-old galloped his rivals into submission on that occasion, jumping with aplomb, before staying on strongly to record a facile success under Rachael Blackmore. A Plus Tard was then narrowly beaten when attempting to defend his crown in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December. The victor that day was the Gordon Elliott-trained Galvin and he also commands respect. However, A Plus Tard proved he stays the Gold Cup when only narrowly beaten by stable companion Minella Indo in the Blue Riband event last term and he is a deserving favourite for the feature race of the meeting.

Royale Pagaille Race: Cheltenham Gold Cup (Friday, 3.30pm) Odds: 16/1

The Venetia Williams-trained Royale Pagaille looks like being one of the leading British contenders in Jump Racing’s Blue Riband event. The Rich Ricci-owned gelding comes into this event following successive victories in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock. He produced a fine performance on that occasion, keeping on strongly to score in testing ground. Royale Pagaille was last seen finishing second in the Dernman Chase at Newbury with Williams and team delighted with the performance. Their stable star would clearly be suited by testing ground, but he stays the trip and is taken to better his sixth-placed effort in the race last term. Other leading contenders for the race include the 2021 1-2 Minella Indo and A Plus Tard, along with dual Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo.