Cheltenham Festival Odds: Who Will Be Top Trainer in 2024?

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Cheltenham Festival Odds: Who Will Be Top Trainer in 2024?
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To say that we have a hot favourite for the leading trainer award with betting sites at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival would be something of an understatement.

Willie Mullins’ domination of National Hunt racing is such that he’s been top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival in each of the last five seasons and nine of the last 11 in all. 

His stunning haul of 10 winners in 2022 is a record number from a single yard at the sport’s showcase meeting.

Mullins, who has trained more Cheltenham Festival winners than anyone else in the sport, is trading at 1/10 to annex the trainers’ prize yet again and it’s hard to see the Closutton maestro not justifying those hugely restrictive odds.

Cheltenham Offers 

At the time of writing, Mullins is responsible for no less than 11 ante-post festival favourites, including Gold Cup hot-pot Galopin Des Champs, many people’s idea of the banker of the entire meeting.

Mullins’ team of novices looks particularly strong and anyone looking to oppose him in the top trainer section is likely to be in trouble after the very first race of the meeting if Ballyburn follows up on his Dublin Racing Festival victory.

So, can anyone challenge Mullins for the top trainer title at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival?

Cheltenham Top Trainer Odds

TrainerOddsBookie
Willie Mullins1/8Bet365
Gordon Elliott6/1Ladbrokes
Nicky Henderson16/1BetVictor
Henry De Bromhead100/1William Hill
Paul Nicholls100/1Bet365

The Elliott Challenge

The obvious starting point is Gordon Elliott, the only trainer to dethrone Willie Mullins in the last decade.

The Elliott team managed just three winners in 2022 but they return with a strong squad again this time around.

The likes of Irish Point, Teahupoo, Gerri Colombe and Delta Work all have strong chances in their respective divisions, not least the last-named, who will be a warm order to win the Cross Country Chase for the third successive year.



Given Elliott nearly always pitches in with at least one handicap winner during the week, it’s easy enough to see him hitting at least four winners. 

Whilst that sort of total wouldn’t have troubled Mullins in 2022, it certainly would have in 2019 and 2021, so if Elliott’s fancied horses can strike, he might be able to make a fist of the top trainer battle, for all that it remains a tough task against the might of the Mullins battalions.

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De Bromhead Not The Force Of Old

Henry De Bromhead became the first trainer ever to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup all in the same year in 2021 but his squad looks nothing like as strong as in recent years.

A Plus Tard was a brilliant winner of the Gold Cup for the De Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore combination in 2022 but that horse along with Honeysuckle have been retired so he's now depending on a few up and coming novices.

Slade Steel and Monty's Star both hold huge chances in their respective novice races, while the more experienced duo of Minella Indo and Envoi Allen could go off favourite for the Cross County and Ryanair Chase.

All in all, it’s difficult to see De Bromhead hitting the target enough times to justify those juicy 100/1 top trainer Cheltenham odds.

Best Of The British

Nicky Henderson has the strongest squad of the home brigade by some distance and he is the only trainer expected to challenge Mullins and Elliott for top trainer honours.

Henderson has won or shared top prize in the trainer’s division nine times but hasn’t troubled the judge since bagging six winners in 2012. 

The master of Seven Barrows has assembled a strong team for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival with the likes of Jonbon, Shishkin, Sir Gino and Jeriko Du Reponet all big runners in their respective contests. 

Even if Nicky gets off to a slow start, don't rule him bagging a few winners on Gold Cup day, as Sir Gino, Iberico Lord, Shanagh Bob and Shishkin all trade at single figure prices.

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However, Henderson is in a similar position to Gordon Elliott in that he probably needs all his big guns to win if he is to have any chance of bustling up the favourite in this market.

Paul Nicholls has trained 48 Cheltenham Festival winners and dominated the training ranks at this meeting from 2004 to 2009. 

Remarkably, Nicholls’ didn’t have a single winner at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival but he got on the board in 2023 with Stage Star and Stay Away Fay who both hold big chances at this year's festival again.

Nicholls could also cause something of a surprise in the festival’s blue-riband event because he appears to harbour significant confidence in the chances of Bravemansgame in the Gold Cup.

However, the 13-time champion trainer just doesn’t have the strength in depth of horses for this meeting, primarily because he targets other meetings with so many of his horses throughout the season.

Top Trainer Verdict

The issue for anyone looking to play in the Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer market ahead of the meeting is that no betting apps are offering each-way betting (unsurprisingly).

Willie Mullins is the standout option and is impossible to oppose but Gordon Elliott would appeal as an each-way alternative at around 6/1 should the place section of the bet become available.

Ultimately, though, the 2024 Cheltenham Festival looks set to be yet another Willie Mullins show.

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Cian Kirby

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