Horse racing Native River

Where next for Cheltenham heroes?

10 months ago

Above: Native River on his way to victory in last week’s Cheltenham Gold Cup

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival has been and gone, our free horse racing tips more than paid their way, and now we have to take stock and look at where the star horses will be seen for the remainder of this National Hunt season, and beyond.

Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air, who retained his Champion Hurdle crown in brave fashion, followed his Cheltenham success last year with victory the following month at the Aintree Festival over two-and-a-half-miles, and connections are likely to follow a similar route.

“I would think and hope we will go to Aintree,” Henderson reported,” as that is what we did last year and I imagine we will do that as long as the ground stays on the easy side, as he does need that.”

Buveur D’Air is a top-priced 7/2 in Bet365’s ante-post market to complete a Champion Hurdle hattrick at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

Another Henderson star, Altior, impressive winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, is also expected to follow a tried and tested route.

He won the 2017 Arkle Chase at Cheltenham before going on to land the Bet365 Celebration Chase at Sandown, and the likelihood is that he will again bid for the same event on the final day of the jumps season on April 28. Unibet offer 7/4 about Altior retaining his Champion Chase crown in March next year.

Penhill was one of the most impressive winners at Cheltenham last week. The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old hadn’t seen a racecourse since finishing runner-up at the Punchestown Festival last April, but showing a lethal change of gear he passed a wall of horses to beat the classy Supasundae by two lengths. He could well head back to the Punchestown Festival to bid for the Grade 1 Champion Stayers’ Hurdle.

Coral are offering 7/1 about Penhill defending his Stayers’ Hurdle title at next year’s Cheltenham Festival, and that looks a fair price.

Colin Tizzard’s Native River, ultra-game winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will not run again this season, but runner-up Might Bite may possibly take his chance at on April 12 at Aintree in the Grade 1 Betway Bowl.

Might Bite is 7/1 with Ladbrokes to land the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup, Native River is 8/1 with Betfred to defend his title, and impressive RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy, is a top-priced 7/1 with Paddy Power for the same championship race.


Paul Alster

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.