The greatest show on turf returns to the Cotswolds between March 11-14 as the sensational Cheltenham Festival showcases the very best jumps horses in the world over four spectacular days and 27 thrilling races.
When it comes to Cheltenham Festival predictions, here are four that are almost certain to come true.
1) There will be a truly electric atmosphere at the Prestbury Park track like no other in the sport of international horse racing and arguably unmatched anywhere in world sport. Wait for the Cheltenham roar as the runners race away from the start in the opening Supreme Novices Hurdle at 2pm on March 11.
2) You can be assured that if you are at Cheltenham itself you will hear as many Irish accents amongst the crowd as English accents. Some say that taking money off English bookmakers is an Irish national sport, and the country’s best horses, top trainers and jockeys, will be out as always to fleece the locals. With the likes of Hurricane Fly and Quevega considered bankers for the Emerald Isle, the stage is set for some serious punting wars.
3) There will not be a dry eye in the house if the mighty Big Buck’s comes back from a season on the sidelines to win a fifth Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the ripe old age of 11. After showing that he retains most, if not all of his old ability with a bold effort when third at the track in January, the stage is set for the Andy Stewart-owned veteran to steal the show once again.
4) One of the easiest Cheltenham Festival predictions is that if last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth lands the crown again his hugely popular trainer Nicky Henderson will be wiping away more than a tear of joy. Henderson very much wears his heart on his sleeve and it will be a similar story if his mighty Sprinter Sacre recovers in time to defend his Champion Chase title.