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Cheltenham Festival

3 Emerging Talents To Light Up The 2019 Cheltenham Festival

Thursday 21st February 2019
Clan Des Obeaux is a major player in the 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup
Clan Des Obeaux is a major player in the 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup

We have become accustomed to seeing the likes of Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins, Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty walking into the winner's enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival, and this year should be no different with that elite quintet sure to launch into the limelight over the four days.

However, while those National Hunt figureheads continue to blossom at Prestbury Park there will always be some young guns that show their brilliance in sensational fashion, and we pick out THREE less well-known names that could propel into the forefront at the jumping extravaganza.

Harry Cobden

A jockey that has come of age over the last 18 months, Harry Cobden has become a real force of the weighing room this season and the 20-year-old is ready to enhance his already lofty reputation at next month's Cheltenham Festival.

Riding a host of top notch horses for Paul Nicholls and Colin Tizzard, Cobden will head to the festival with a major chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, as he is set for the plum ride on Clan Des Obeaux, who was superb when landing the Denman Chase last weekend and is a horse that has already won the King George VI Chase this season.

Cobden piloted 33/1 outsider Kilbricken Storm to Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle victory at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival and the young jockey has used that win as a springboard to bigger and better things this season.

He maybe a recognisable name to Jumps fans, but he could enhance his stock further at this season's National Hunt showpiece and has to be one of the young brigade to watch.

Cheltenham Festival Odds

Kayley Woollacott

Devon-based trainer Kayley Woollacott is in her first full year of being a National Hunt trainer following the loss of her husband Richard, but the 32-year-old has a golden opportunity to land a maiden Cheltenham Festival winner in the Arkle Challenge Trophy.

Lalor will be a leading contender for the 2m Grade 1 novice chase on March 12, and having shown in the Arkle Trial at Cheltenham a few months ago that he can produce the goods at GL50 then he could be Britain's main hope of claiming the coveted prize.

Third in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown Park last time out, when sent off an 8/11 favourite, Lalor will need to bounce back to form in the Arkle.  However, he has shown that he can produce his best form around the undulations of the Gloucestershire track, and a win would not only hand Woollacott her biggest career victory, but it would also provide a magnificent sense of achievement in light of the trauma she has suffered.

Keith O'Donoghue

Keith O'Donoghue will get the chance to ride the most versatile horse in National Hunt racing at the Cheltenham Festival, as the Meath-born rider will partner Tiger Roll, who is bidding for an epic fourth win at the festival.

Not only has Tiger Roll already bagged a hat-trick of festival wins, but the Gordon Elliott-trained superstar stormed to victory in the Grand National last April, and he will be one of the biggest talking horses of the entire week as he aims to retain his Cross Country Chase crown.

Now, Tiger Roll is sure to be spoken about by many, but following his meteoric rise of the nine-year-old it could be O'Donoghue's name that's talked about much more during the festival as he aims to pilot the Gigginstown House Stud-owned charge to a fourth festival win.  O'Donoghue will have a few other rides during the four days, but it's his partnership with Tiger Roll that will come to the fore and he completes our trio of exciting new talents.

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