Irish Domination At Cheltenham Looks A Racing Certainty

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Irish Domination At Cheltenham Looks A Racing Certainty
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  • GB trained runners are currently favourite to win in just three out of 28 races
  • Constitution Hill, the home banker for Team GB is now a huge doubt to take part
  • Cheltenham could deliver the lowest number of home trained winners ever
  • It could be worse than 2021 when Team GB left Cheltenham with just 5 winners

The Cheltenham Festival gets underway in less than two weeks with four days of star-studded jump racing between Tuesday, March 12 and Friday, March 15. With news that the home team banker Constitution Hill may miss his defence of the Champion Hurdle it's looking bleak for the home team in terms of winners.

As many as 70,000 people per day will flock to the famous course to witness the best against the best but our Cheltenham experts are adamant that if the Irish didn’t bring their runners over for the UK patrons to see, then the once greatest show on turf would represent very little of the quality that is essential to its success.

So much so that we asked leading bookmaker Betfred to price up the possibility that Team GB could go four days at Cheltenham without registering even one winner on the famous Prestbury Cup scoreboard!

They didn't disappoint with the traders chalking up odds of 150/1 now available for a complete Irish rout at this years Cheltenham Festival. Could it happen? 

Horse Racing expert Dean Ryan of takes a look in more detail.

Such is recent the shift in power and control of the best horses to the top Irish based stables it is truly stark to consider that the pinnacle meeting of the whole jump racing season in England will see just a small fraction of the winners, and the prize money, stay at home.

Cheltenham is all about crowning champions. With 14 of the 28 races at Grade 1 level, the highest in the sport - including the big four the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers Hurdle and the blue riband of the Cheltenham Gold Cup; it seems a real chance that the UK will win none of them at all, based on the latest odds with the leading horse racing betting sites.

With just days until the famous first day Cheltenham roar for the betting markets to adjust, currently the UK have only three favourites across the whole of the four days and the 28 races at the Festival.

With the news breaking this week that the home banker Constitution Hill is now a serious doubt to take part and defend his Champion Hurdle crown on the opening day of the meeting, it could reduce the UK to just two horses that UK betting sites think will win during the whole week.

The Prestbury Cup, launched in 2014 to celebrate the new found fun and rivalry of a strong Irish contingent challenging at the Cheltenham Festival each year now seems a disaster. 

Ireland are currently 1/12 to win this year, a tie at 12/1 and the home team of Team GB a whopping 14/1 with Betfred.

Prestbury Cup Odds

Great Britain14/1Betfred

It all started so well 10 years ago with Team GB having the most winners in 2014 and 2015 but, apart from a draw in 2019, it’s been plain sailing for the arriving Irish contingent and it's seen them cleaning up at Cheltenham ever since.

As recently as 2021 Ireland won 23 races and left Team GB with just five winners. This year could be worse, and it will take a fair few upsets at the odds for the home team to match or better that drubbing in just under two weeks’ time.

Asked about this year’s Prestbury Cup Horse Racing Expert Dean Ryan said:

“It’s not looking good at all for Team GB at the Cheltenham Festival. With doubts about Constitution Hill taking part the possibility of a completely blank week at the meeting isn’t totally ridiculous.” 

“Shocks will be needed to leave with a respectable score on the board and that’s a sad situation for the home team. 

“Leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins will probably have more winners than the whole of the British trained contingent on his own. English racing has fallen so far back it could be stark viewing this year. 

“Punters should concentrate on the Irish form and it will be a while before that changes given the current stock of horses in the UK at present.

“Leading UK based trainers like Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls will hope to keep some of the prize money at home but it is not going to be an easy task. 

“A look at the betting for each race tells you that, if the home team can better 2021 when only five winners weren’t trained in Ireland it will be a surprise.”