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13th Mar 2024

Cheltenham Wednesday live: All the tips, drama, interviews and results

Niall McIntyre

It was a terrific Tuesday for the Irish raiders at Cheltenham.

Don’t bet against a wonderful Wednesday. Keep up with all the action in our live-blog below. (It may take one-minute to load)

Ed Chamberlin and Richard Hoiles clash on ITV

Nicky Henderson rules out a number of his horses

Having had an utterly disastrous start to his Cheltenham on Tuesday, with Constiution Hill’s no-show followed up by a string of disappointing finishes on Tuesday, Nicky Henderson has decided to rule out a number of his runners on Wednesday, with the prospect of even more to come.

Jonbon, one of his stable stars and a big hope for Wednesday’s show-piece race, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, is now a non-runner, as are Kingston Pride and First Street. Shishkin, meanwhile, has been ruled out of Friday’s Gold Cup.

Jeriko Du Reponet and Iberico Lord were among five of his horses that failed to finish their respective races on Tuesday.

Henderson (73) issued a statement on Wednesday morning where he said that as well as Wednesday’s trio, further non-runners expected before the end of the meeting.

The news is slightly better for Triumph hurdle favourite Sir Gino – a feature of many ante-post accumulators – who Henderson described this morning as a ‘likely runner.’

Betting markets have already been turned upside down, however, with the horse drifting from even money out to 7/4 as things stand.

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Nicky Henderson poses at Cheltenham Racecourse on January 01, 2019 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

“I’m afraid we have had to make some very tough decisions following the very disappointing performances of all bar one of our horses yesterday,” the statement read.

“It was there for all to see that there is obviously something affecting nearly all our horses and consequently we have reluctantly decided that Jonbon, First Street and Kingston Pride will not run today.

“It is impossible to identify any reason for all the disappointments and none of these three horses have given us any cause for concern and all yesterday’s runners were scoped clean post-race and I am glad to say are all sound this morning.

“There will unfortunately be further non-runners on Thursday and Friday.

“I hope everybody will appreciate that we have to do this in everybody’s interests, particularly the horses.

“It is very, very disappointing for everybody,” read Henderson’s statement on Wednesday morning.

Cross country chase abandoned

Some heavy rain left Cheltenham’s Cross Country course in a ‘bog,’ with the race now abandoned after Wednesday morning’s inspection.

With only 2-4mm of rain forecast, a damaging 9mm fell on Tuesday morning, and with further ‘unsettled’ weather predicted, inspectors and organisers made the decision to abandon the race.

A ‘contingency plan’ had been drawn up for the race to take place on Gold Cup day (Friday), but that is not a runner anymore with ‘insufficient improvement’ expected in terms of the ground.

As a result, we will not get to see the clash of Delta Work and Minella Indo over the National fences.

The cancellation has altered the start-time of Wednesday’s races, with the schedule to run as followed as a result:

Race 1: 13.45 Race 2: 14.30 Race 3: 15.15 Race 4: 16.00 Race 5: NA Race 6: 16.50 Race 7: 17.30.

“Following 11mm of rainfall throughout yesterday,” read a statement from Cheltenham’s official account, “there has been no improvement in the conditions on the Cross-Country course and with areas of the track unraceable, the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase has sadly been abandoned.”

“The forecast for the remainder of the week continues to look unsettled, with further showers likely on both Thursday and Friday.

“There will therefore be insufficient improvement to the Cross-Country course by Friday 15th March, and the decision has been taken not to reschedule the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase at The Festival.”


Willie Mullins’ stranglehold over the National Hunt game has perhaps never been as pronounced.

The Carlow based trainer heads to Prestbury Park this week with a breath-taking 70-strong team of horses.

With a record-breaking 94 winners to his name as things stand, he is expected to surpass the century mark by the time this Friday rolls around.

11 March 2024; Trainer Willie Mullins on the gallops ahead of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

In truth, he could be into the 100s by Thursday morning. In the first day alone, the Closutton maestro saddled three winners with State Man, Lossiemouth and the mercurial Gaelic Warrior all recording Grade One victories.

Mullins is well on his way to yet another champion trainer crown, with a distinct possibility of a clean sweep of all of the championship races.

From here to Friday, he trains the favourite for two of the three championship races, with Gordon Elliott’s Teahupoo’s short odds in the world hurdle the only exception.

The Prestbury Cup

Perhaps as a consequence of Mullins’ continued success, Ireland’s dominance over England continues at the Olympics of horse-racing. In fact, over the last eight years, England have only won the Prestbury Cup once.

With Mullins supported by the likes of Henry de Bromhead and Gordon Elliott, the Irish are expected to have another successful week at the Cotswolds.

The ground

John ‘Shark’ Hanlon’s Gold Cup hopes are pinned on the shoulders of his horse Hewick. They lie in the hands of Wexford jockey Jordan Gainford but they all lie helplessly in the lap of the weather gods. Shark, the Kilkenny trainer, has said in the build-up to the festival that, should the weather go against him on Cheltenham week, ‘the people’s horse,’ will not race.

27 July 2022; Jockey Jordan Gainford celebrates on Hewick after winning the Tote Galway Plate during day three of the Galway Races Summer Festival at Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Hewick, just like Joseph O’Brien’s Banbridge (favourite for Thursday’s Ryanair chase) is a hard ground horse and will not race if the weather is wet, and the ground soft.