Gigginstown Cheltenham Festival runners – 2021 Cheltenham Festival preview
Gigginstown Cheltenham Festival runners
The famous Gigginstown House Stud maroon and white colours are one of the most instantly recognisable in the horse racing world and the prolific and powerful operation is sure to enjoy further Cheltenham Festival success despite boss Michael O’Leary’s intention to wind down the operation. We’ve picked out a few possible Gigginstown Cheltenham Festival runners who could deliver big performances.
One of the dominant forces in recent seasons at the Cheltenham Festival there might only be a few more years watching the famous maroon and white silks of Gigginstown House Stud being carried at the Festival following a decision by boss Michael O’Leary to wind down the operation over the next few years.
Gigginstown has been a force to be reckoned with at the Cheltenham Festival ever since War Of Attrition first carried the silks to victory back in 2006 and since then they have been seen on the likes of Samcro, Sir Des Champs, Tiger Roll, Don Cossack and Balko Des Flos who finally gave the Ryanir boss a first winner in the race he sponsors on day three of the Festival.
While the operation scales back those famous silks will still be noticeable in the next couple of years and at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival they are once again sure to feature prominently. We’ve picked out a few of the possible Gigginstown Cheltenham Festival runners who could deliver big performances over the course of the four days at the ‘greatest show on turf’.
Gigginstown Cheltenham runners on day one of the Festival
Gigginstown could get an early winner on the board with COKO BEACH who arrives on a hat-trick of wins and the Cokoriko gelding has been progressive over fences this term.
Placed in three of his previous four starts he stepped up to three miles to grind out victory in the competitive Theystes Chase and added to his win tally by beating Espanito Bello at Navan in the Ten Up Chase.
That was a Grade Two and he’ll be returning to the handicap ranks for this competitive contest where he can make his presence felt.
ABACADABRAS brings previous Festival form into the day one Cheltenham Festival feature having finished fourth in the 2019 Champion Bumper and then finding only Shishkin too strong in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Things haven’t quite gone to plan for him this term despite winning the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, disappointing subsequently at Leopardstown when beaten a fair way by Sharjah in the Matheson Hurdle although the Gordon Elliott team was quiet around that time.
He fared better without matching Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle latest but the stiffer Cheltenham track and a strong pace could make him a different proposition and he has to be respected in the day one highlight.
National Hunt Chase
EUROBOT built on a promising chase debut when returning from eleven months off the track to readily beat Choungaya at Thurles in November before facing a stiff task against Monkfish at Leopardstown over Christmas.
He unseated his rider on that occasion having made a series of errors in the race before blundering at the 11th and his latest run might have seen him unsuited by the heavy ground when finishing sixth behind Eklat De Rire in a Grade Three at Naas.
He could have more still to offer over the larger obstacles although this will certainly demand improvement. He might find it though over this considerably longer trip and less testing ground and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him sneak into the frame.
Gigginstown Cheltenham Festival runners on day two
Both Column Of Fire and WIDE RECEIVER hold additional entries in a couple of other Festival races but the latter might well pitch up in the day two Cheltenham Festival handicap feature where he could go well having found Grade One company too much last time at Leopardstown behind Appreciate It.
Gordon Elliott’s charge had been running well previously with four finishes in the frame which included a win at Leopardstown on Boxing Day where he beat Decimation.
Given a mark of 130 by the Irish handicapper he’s likely to get a decent racing weight for this contest and it isn’t hard to see him running a big race if lining up here in preference to the Martin Pipe Hurdle or either of the Graded novice hurdle events where he might struggle.
Sent off favourite for last season’s Arkle Chase NOTEBOOK could give a good account stepping into the Champion Chase although the Samum gelding perhaps isn’t entirely suited by this track having disappointed in the 2019 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and then again running down the field in the Arkle twelve months ago where he finished sixth.
He had developed into a top-class chasing prospect however, reeling off a four-timer which included two Grade One wins prior to his Festival flop and he’s returned this term in good form with a win at Naas prior to chasing home Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Not seen at his best back there last time he needs to bounce back and he can run well if showing up on top form although reservations over his ability to handle the track tempers enthusiasm that he’ll be able to deliver.
There’d be no more popular winner over the course of the Festival should TIGER ROLL return to winning form and despite not being at his best in recent starts Gordon Elliott’s star will still likely attract some support and could be the subject of a few speculative Cheltenham Festival free bets.
Two wins in this race and two Aintree Grand National victories feature on an illustrious CV and the veteran Authorized gelding loves it at this venue where he could find a return to form after a few lacklustre efforts this term including in the November renewal of this race where he was never travelling under Robbie Power and he faded to finish a long way last in the recent Boyne Hurdle, a race he’d won before enroute to winning the 2019 edition of this race.
Given he’s shown nothing this seson it takes a leap of faith that he’ll come back to his best but the popular performer will be well supported to do so despite likely being vulnerable now.
Grand Annual Chase
EMBITTERED holds an Arkle entry but the Fame And Glory gelding is unlikely to take up that engagement and this looks a much more suitable assignment for Joseph O’Brien’s charge.
Third in last season’s County Hurdle he is yet to open his win account in any discipline, but he’s shown up well in chases this term behind the likes of Andy Dufresne, Easywork and Franco De Port and he was last seen finishing a creditable fourth behind Energumene at Leopardstown in the Irish Arkle.
An Irish rating of 144 over fences looks very workable if he switches to the handicap ranks for this contest and it isn’t hard to envisage him posting a big run.
Gigginstown Cheltenham Festival day three runners
Pertemps Network Final
Gigginstown have a few entries in the race where DALLAS DES PICTONS looks the pick of the bunch and Gordon Elliott’s charge can get back on the scoresheet if taking in this contest over any of his other entries.
The Spanish Moon gelding has seen his progress stall since finishing runner-up in the 2019 Martin Pipe Hurdle, not cutting much ice over fences last term and his runs this campaign haven’t set the heather alight.
He latterly beat only one home behind Bachasson when last seen racing at Punchestown on New Years’ Eve; but his mark is easing and having run well here previously he might be one to keep an eye on once the weights are announced.
Gigginstown would surely love to win this race again and SAMCRO could go well in his quest to oblige with the Germany gelding having won both his previous visits to the Cheltenham Festival.
Unbeaten in his first seven starts following his move from the point to point ranks he won the 2018 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and would likely have added the Punchestown Champion Hurdle to his tally had he not fallen three out.
The wheels came off his career somewhat, beaten on all three hurdles starts the following campaign before switching to the larger obstacles. He won twice over fences last term returning from wind surgery and a break to gain a nose verdict over Melon in this race twelve months ago but he’s been beaten on both starts this time around and pulled up when last seen in the Savills Chase.
He’ll appreciate the return to a shorter trip having possibly found his stamina stretched last time and a return to this venue could spark him back to life so he could be a viable each-way play for value hunters taking in the Cheltenham day three feature.
Gigginstown pair Fury Road and BEACON EDGE fought out the finish to the recent Boyne Hurdle and the latter could make his presence felt in the Stayers’ Hurdle, the highlight of the third day of the Festival and the Doyen gelding could give Noel Meade a Festival winner.
A winner on his sole start for Nicky Richards prior to joining this yard he’s shown smart and progressive form, beaten only a nose by Jason The Militant in a novices’ Grade Two at Naas last February and he’s continued his improvement this term with back-to-back wins at Downpatrick and Galway prior to getting to within a length of Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.
The trip was far too sharp for him at Naas on his return from a break in January but he bounced back with an improved effort at Navan latest where he thrived over the longer trip and he could improve again faced with this even stiffer test.
Paddy Power Handicap Chase
The Gigginstown colours are prominent again in the ante-post betting where FARCLAS heads the market and the Jukebox Jury gelding has developed into a very smart chaser.
The 2018 Triumph Hurdle winner lost his way somewhat over hurdles in the 2018/19 season with his final run coming in the Coral Cup where he pulled up.
However he won all three starts over fences that summer before a lengthy absence and he’s been working his way back to form with some solid runs that include finishing third in the competitive Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and he wasn’t beaten far into fourth in another good contest back there in February behind Off You Go.
He could be one to keep on the right side of with further improvement over fences a possibility and there’s be no shock in seeing him run a big race.
Kim Muir Challenge Cup Chase
Gordon Elliott sends RUN WILD FRED for this contest with the Shantou gelding holding big claims having found only a couple of very smart rivals too good the past twice in runs at Punchestown and Gowran Park.
A dual-winner over hurdles he has yet to get off the mark over the larger obstacles although he’s run a number of good races in defeat and he was only beaten four lengths by Coko Beach in the Theystes Chase when last seen.
Only 4lbs higher he’d be dangerous to discount with further improvement anticipated and a repeat of that Theystes run would give him sold claims here.
Gigginstown day four Cheltenham Festival runners
The Gigginstown colours feature on a few runners in this race where IRASCIBLE looks the pick.
Henry de Bromhead’s charge won his debut over hurdles at Clonmel back in October after which he’s contested successive Grade One contests where he’s come up short both times behind Appreciate It in starts at Leopardstown.
Fifth latest during the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle a rating of 139 looks fair and he’ll likely find his test more suitable than the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle where he’d clash again with Appreciate It.
Cheltenham festival day four Gigginstown runners
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
FAROUK D’ALENE has been progressing well since scoring in a point-to-point, adding a pair of wins in bumpers and Gordon Elliott’s charge is 2-3 over hurdles with victories at Down Royal and Limerick, the latter coming in Grade Two company when beating Vanillier.
That stiffer test appeared to suit and there could be further improvement to come from him over three miles and with this stiff track likely to suit. He’ll need to improve on what he’s done so far but that isn’t impossible and he rates a decent each-way shout in a typically competitive renewal.
SHATTERED LOVE isn’t the force of old but she remains capable of very smart form and Gordon Elliott’s charge could get back on the scoresheet in the inaugural running of this race.
The 2018 JLT Novices’ Chase winner – now the Marsh Novices’ Chase – the Yeats mare rarely runs a bad race and has been keeping to a good level of opposition despite likely no longer at her peak.
Her latest win came in a Listed contest at Clonmel back in November and having cut little ice over hurdles next time she returned to chasing to finish five lengths’ runner-up behind rising star Elimay and the ten-year old could post a big run in this race if lining up in preference to those other entries she holds.
Martin Pipe Hurdle
Gigginstown has a number of entries in the race including COLUMN OF FIRE who looked set to go close in the race twelve months ago when falling at the last and compensation could await Gordon Elliott’s charge here.
The Robin Des Champs gelding had been running well prior to that mishap, registering a win at Punchestown and finishing third in a competitive handicap at Leopardstown and although he wasn’t seen out again following that Cheltenham run until returning at Navan in January he shaped better than the bare result and clearly needed the return.
He’s sure to come on for that and he’d be competing from only 1lb higher than twelve months ago so another big run wouldn’t be a surprise if building on that reappearance which came in a decent race. Not one to overlook he can run well and on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival he could give Gigginstown a winner.