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Britain v Ireland at Cheltenham could be one-sided battle


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British jumping stables face another almighty pasting at the hands of their Irish counterparts at the Festival next month

The 2023 Cheltenham Festival opens two weeks on Tuesday, the significant trials have all been run and the ante-post markets suggest British jumping stables face another almighty pasting at the hands of their Irish counterparts in the West Country next month.

Ireland left Cheltenham with “just” 18 of the 28 winners last year, five down on their record haul of 23 in 2021. Any lingering hopes on the home side that Irish dominance might be waning, however, now seem woefully premature. Just six of the 28 races at the meeting next month have a British-trained favourite, while Willie Mullins alone has the favourite or joint-favourite in 13. Ireland’s perennial champion is quoted at around 7-4 to either equal or extend his own record of 10 winners at a single Festival, which he set 12 months ago, and could conceivably get the dozen he needs to become the first trainer to saddle 100 Festival winners.

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