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Cheltenham Festival

2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer Preview: Nicky Henderson And Gordon Elliott Set For Epic Duel

Thursday 14th February 2019
Nicky Henderson could recapture his top trainer crown at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival
Nicky Henderson could recapture his top trainer crown at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival

With equine influenza hopefully behind the racing world then the countdown to the 2019 Cheltenham Festival can gather speed, and with less than a month to go until the Prestbury Park extravaganza kicks off on March 12 trainers in the UK and Ireland will be planning their final few weeks' preparation before they unleash their star performers at the 'Greatest Show On Turf".

A sideshow to the 28 National Hunt races is the race to be crowned Top Cheltenham Festival Trainer and it's no surprise to see the elite handlers from the UK and Ireland ready to battle it out for glory.  We look at the leading contenders for the Top Trainer award and pick out our selection for the title.

Gordon Elliott - Last Won Top Cheltenham Festival Trainer in 2018 (8 winners) - 7/4 with William Hill

Having claimed the title in 2017, Gordon Elliott retained his crown 12 months on as he notched up a stunning eight winners at the 2018 festival and the Irish handler will unleash another strong battalion at this year's event.

Apple's Jade will spearhead Elliott's clan, but while she would've been a certainty in the Mares' Hurdle this season she is set to line up in the Champion Hurdle on the opening day instead, so while she may go close she isn't a guaranteed winner for the Emerald Isle legend.  Tiger Roll was victorious last season in the Cross Country Chase and will aim to land that prize again.

Last season's Pertemps hero Delta Work should go close in the RSA Chase with Battleoverdoyen a leading Ballymore player, while Elliott will have a whole host of lively handicap challengers throughout the week, so is entitled to be favourite, but he may just come up short when trying to land a hat-trick of wins.

Cheltenham Odds
Poll: Who Will Be Top Trainer At 2019 Cheltenham Festival? Vote Now
Gordon Elliott
33%
Nicky Henderson
33%
Willie Mullins
33%
Joseph O'Brien
33%
Paul Nicholls
33%
Colin Tizzard
33%
Other
33%
Vote
60 votes
Poll Ended

Nicky Henderson - Last Won Top Cheltenham Festival Trainer in 2012 (7 winners) - 15/8 with William Hill

We can almost put a 1 next to Nicky Henderson's winning roll at the 2019 festival as Altior is sure to retain his Queen Mother Champion Chase and cement his place as the best horse in National Hunt training.  But, Henderson has a stellar clan in a host of major races this season and can safely record five winners at least.

Angels Breath is a major player in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, while dual Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D'Air is fancied to make it a hat-trick of wins, while day two can see Henderson come to the fore again.  Champ is the one to beat in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, while Santini could prove a cut above his rivals in the RSA Chase.  Like Elliott, Henderson will have a host of handicap contenders to go to war with, and if he can claim one more win along the way then he could top the trainer charts once again.

Willie Mullins - Last Won Top Cheltenham Festival Trainer in 2016 (7 winners) - 11/4 with Betfair

Between 2013 and 2016 Willie Mullins was the dominant trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, but while the master of Closutton still possesses a strong yard he lacks those dominant figures that saw him take centre stage at GL50 for that four-year period.

With the above-mentioned Apple's Jade heading down the Champion Hurdle route then the Mares' Hurdle should be sewn up for Mullins, who not only has last year's winner in Benie Des Dieux, but could also line up with Laurina, but rumours have circulated for months now that she could head to the Champion Hurdle on day one.

Min should avoid a clash with Altior and line up in the Ryanair Chase, while Penhill will aim to retain his Stayers' Hurdle crown, but Paisley Park's emergence could thwart that double.  Mullins.  We know the Mullins brigade sparkle in the spring, so he can't be discounted, but at this year's festival he may just lack that flurry of stars needed to claim this gone.

Other Leading Challengers

A phenomenal Irish-trained army will make the trip to Gloucestershire next month and emerging trainer Joseph O'Brien (14/1 with William Hill) has some top notch contenders.  Sir Erec is a warm order for the Triumph Hurdle, while Le Richebourg (Arkle) and Fakir D'Oudairies (Supreme) are another exciting young duo taking their chance.

Paul Nicholls (25/1) and Colin Tizzard (40/1) add strength in depth to the home charge, but both may struggle to amass a decent amount of winners over the four days, and while both should venture into the winner's enclosure, neither has enough firepower.

2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer Tip

  • Nicky Henderson to win @ 15/8 with William Hill 

2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer Odds

Gordon Elliott 5/4 5/4 6/5 6/5 6/4 5/4 5/4 6/5
W Mullins 3 5/2 3 5/2 3 9/4 11/4 5/2
N Henderson 5/4 5/2 2 11/4 9/4 5/2 3 11/4
P Nicholls 10 12 14 12 16 14 11 12
Joseph O Brien 14 16 16 16 16 16 18 16
Any Other - - - - 33 - - -
Colin Tizzard 25 50 33 50 40 33 40 50
Henry De Bromhead 40 66 66 66 50 40 66 66
J Harrington - 66 - 50 - - - 50
Noel Meade 66 100 - 100 - 66 - 100
Nigel Twiston-Davies 66 - 100 100 - - - 100
Dan Skelton 66 - 100 100 100 - - 100
Venetia Willaims - - 100 - - - - -
Alan King 50 - 100 100 100 - - 100
Philip Hobbs 66 - - 100 100 - - 100

2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer Odds

BEST ODDS
FREE BET ODDS
6/4
5/4
5/4
5/4
5/4
6/5
6/5
FREE BET ODDS
3
3
3
11/4
5/2
5/2
5/2
9/4
FREE BET ODDS
3
11/4
11/4
5/2
5/2
9/4
2
5/4
FREE BET ODDS
16
14
14
12
12
12
11
10
FREE BET ODDS
18
16
16
16
16
16
16
14
FREE BET ODDS
50
50
50
40
40
33
33
25
FREE BET ODDS
66
66
66
66
66
50
40
40
FREE BET ODDS
100
100
100
66
66
FREE BET ODDS
100
100
66
FREE BET ODDS
100
100
100
66
FREE BET ODDS
100
100
100
50
FREE BET ODDS
100
100
100
66
Odds correct as of 11th Apr, 14:43 . Odds are subject to change.
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