Top Trainer – Cheltenham 2017 Tips
The title race between Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott in Ireland has been fascinating and Elliott is now the odds on favourite to claim that crown for the first time at the end of the Punchestown Festival in April.
At Cheltenham next week Elliott will bring a team in and around the mid 20’s, while Mullins is likely to have a dozen or so more. As much as Elliott looks favourite to win the Irish championship, it would be an incredible feat if he could claim top training honours at Cheltenham next week.
It’s a massive mountain to climb but at 9/2 maybe it’s worth taking a chance.
Elliott has spoken little about the Irish Trainers’ Championship but there’s been a few notable pointers. After Mick Jazz won at Punchestown he admitted that winners in Ireland were more important than aiming the same horse at a valuable handicap in England the same week.
Last week he suggested that this team would be his strongest ever in Cheltenham and that nothing making the journey will do so unless the trainer feels they have a strong chance.
Now, Willie Mullins is undoubtedly the master of this meeting. He is a worthy favourite. However, there’s just a chance that Elliott can have a massive week here.
We’ve seen Willie Mullins rake in the Grade 1 winners at Cheltenham over the last number of years and I don’t expect anyone to train more Grade 1 winners here next week than Mullins, however, after all the Grand National weights chat, it would look like Gordon Elliott’s team of handicappers aren’t that badly treated.
Noble Endeavor, Tombstone, Diamond King, Squouateur and The Storyteller are all favourites in handicaps, with Automated, Mick Jazz and Dinaria Des Obeaux not far off the market leaders and that is just in handicaps alone.
Death Duty is the Irish banker for many, Cause Of Causes has been extremely heavily backed for the Cross Country Chase, Fayonagh was incredibly impressive when winning a Fairyhouse bumper by 20-lengths, Apple’s Jade will be fancied in the Mares Hurdle and Empire Of Dirt or Outlander won’t be massive prices for the Gold Cup.
It’s a strong team and maybe 9/2 is worth the punt about the Meath man.
Cheltenham Top Trainer – Gordon Elliott (9/2)
*Prices correct at time of publication.