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Cheltenham Festival - The Willie Mullins Challenge

The top trainer prize at the Cheltenham festival looks a three-horse-race between Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson.

Cheltenham Festival - The Willie Mullins Challenge - Cheltenham Betting -

William Hill Top Trainer Prices

Willie Mullins 6-4
Gordon Elliott 6-4
Nicky Henderson 5-2

Bar   20-1

ARAMON - Supreme Novices Hurdle. 12-1 with William Hill 12/1 William Hill

The Willie Mullins Challenge Is Likely To Be Headed By The Following Horses:

Champion Hurdle

Three possible runners with live chances. Laurina 4-1 with Ladbrokes. Melon 9-1 with William Hill and Sharjah 10-1 with Betvictor. Reigning champion Buveur D’Air looks to stand in the way of a Mullins’ victory although Laurina is very much the dark horse of the race while Sharjah has shown the best form in Ireland this season and Melon went close to beating Buveur D’Air at Cheltenham 12 months ago.

Mares Hurdle

Benie Des Dieux – 4-1 with William Hill in the ante-post Cheltenham betting odds. Unbeaten in five starts since joining Mullins, three over fences and two over hurdles including this race last year with Apple’s Jade back in third. Also has Laurina as a possible but with that mare almost certain to go the Champion Hurdle route the daughter of Great Pretender looks to have the Gordon Elliott runner to beat once again in one of the least competitive races at the festival.

Champion Chase And Ryanair

Footpad, Min and Un De Sceaux all have entries in the Champion Chase but with Altior heading that way at least two are likely to represent Mullins in the ‘ easier ‘ Ryanair Chase. At this stage Min heads the betting at 6-1 with William Hill and 9-2 (nrnb) with bet365. Willie Mullins is 6-4 with William Hill to be too trainer in their Cheltenham special betting offers.

Stayers Hurdle

Penhill is a 6-1 chance with William Hill to retain the title he won 12 months ago when beating Supasundae by two lengths. The eight-year-old has not seen a racecourse however since finishing second to stablemate Faugheen at Punchestown in April. The most likely winner if Mullins can get the gelding to the festival in tip top shape. Watch out for all Cheltenham free bet offers from bookmakers in the run up to the festival.

Best of the Rest

Unlike in previous years the Closutton trainer does not appear to have a ‘ banker ‘ in any of the novice races but that could change in the weeks leading up to the festival. Several highly regarded horses who could shorten up in the betting when given a prep run during the next few weeks are:

ARAMON – Supreme Novices Hurdle. 12-1 with William Hill and bet365.
BLACKBOW, CAREFULLY SELECTED and RELEGATE – Ballymore Novices Hurdle. All priced between 16-1 and 25-1.
MT LEINSTER, EL BARRA. Champion Bumper. 20-1 and 25-1 respectively with bet365.
TIGER TAP TAP – Triumph Hurdle. 14-1 with bet365.