Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners – Master of Knockeen boasts powerful Festival team

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners.Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners

One of the most powerful trainers in Ireland and on a par with the likes of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, leading trainer Henry de Bromhead is likely to field a strong Festival team from his Knockeen base and we’ve picked out some of the likelier sorts from the yard who can go close at this year’s Festival. Check out our guide to the Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners.

Based at Knockeen, County Waterford leading handler Henry de Bromhead is sure to field a very powerful team at the upcoming 2021 Cheltenham Festival as he bids to add to his tally of Festival winners which includes Sizing Europe, Special Tiara, Balko Des Flos and Honeysuckle amongst others.

We’ve looked through some of the big races over the four days of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival and highlight some of the main Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners who could go close to victory although the yard has been boosted in recent days by some notable arrivals from Gordon Elliott’s yard with top owner Cheveley Park Stud moving its’ horses away from the Cullentra-based trainer in the wake of recent scandal.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners on day one

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Although he already had Bob Olinger entered for the race, since the recent move from Elliott to Henry De Bromhead it could now prove that the main De Bromhead hope for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on day one of the Cheltenham Festival is set to be BALLYADAM who looked a top-class prospect in reeling off a three-timer – two over hurdles – which included victory in the Grade One Royal Bond Hurdle.

The Fame And Glory gelding has been beaten on both subsequent starts behind ante-post favourite Appreciate It, disappointing over Christmas but turning in a much improved effort latest in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle.

On that evidence he does have a little to find, but less testing ground at Cheltenham might help him to close the gap further and he’s no back number in the Festival opener.

Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase

Henry de Bromhead saddled his Put The Kettle On to win this race twelve months ago at a big price and the Waterford handler’s big hope of following up could lie with CAPTAIN GUINNESS who has shown a good level of form in his starts over fences.

Brought down in last season’s Cheltenham Festival day one opener, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, he probably needed his first run over fences but was pulled up having apparently gone wrong mid-race; but back from a break the Arakan gelding ran out a comfortable Punchestown winner before coming up short behind the exciting Energumene at Naas.

He fell two out behind the same rival in the Irish Arkle when still going well and if that mishap hasn’t left a mark he could quickly bounce back with a big run. Despite his big odds he could go well.

Champion Hurdle

HONEYSUCKLE will surely now head to the day one Cheltenham Festival feature following her demolition of a decent field in the Irish Champion Hurdle and the unbeaten Sulamani mare could prove tough to crack as she bids for win number 11 of 11.

Six of those 11 wins have come at Grade One level which includes delivering a top performance at Cheltenham twelve months ago to lower the colours of Benie Des Dieux in the Mares’ Hurdle.

Although she was made to work for her victory in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on her return that outing was probably needed and she stepped up markedly to run out an easy ten lengths’ victor over Abacadabras at Leopardstown during the Dublin Racing Festival.

That success must surely quash talk of of contesting another Mares’ Hurdle and instead contest the big one where she goes with a favourite’s chance having answered every question asked of her to date.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners. Honeysuckle looks set to contest the Champion Hurdle.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners. Honeysuckle looks set to contest the Champion Hurdle.

David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle

If as seems certain that Honeysuckle will tackle the Champion Hurdle Henry de Bromhead will nevertheless be well-represented in this Grade One contest with MINELLA MELODY who won three of her four starts over hurdles last term before finishing down the field in the Mares’ Novices’ contest at this meeting.

The Flemensfirth mare has hit the crossbar on all three starts this term, twice behind Concertista who is likely to reoppose and while she would have a bit to find with that rival she could deliver a big performance if a return to this venue doesn’t catch her out given she disappointed twelve months ago here.

Given her lengthy odds by comparison to those of Willie Mullins’ charge she could rate a live each-way player.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival day two runners

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

BOB OLINGER has looked a top-class prospect in his runs to date, winning a point to point and bumper prior to switching to hurdles where he’s only once tasted defeat when denied by one length behind Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow on his seasonal return.

He’s since won at Navan and Naas, the latter coming in the Lawlor Of Naas Hurdle and that form has been done no harm by the runner-up since running well in defeat behind Appreciate It.

Likely to have further improvement to come he rates a live player in the Cheltenham Festival day two opener and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him going close.

Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

Monkfish is likely to prove a tough nut to crack but Henry de Bromhead could have a dark horse to consider with EKLAT DE RIRE who is 2-2 over fences, latterly beating Escaria Ten in a Grade Three contest at Naas in January.

The Saddex gelding has only tasted defeat once which came on his hurdles debut last Februaray over a trip that was probably too sharp and he’s relished the step up to three miles in his starts since where he’s looked a stout stayer.

Further improvement could put him in the mix and at the likely prices he could attract some each-way support amongst those holding Cheltenham Festival free bets looking for a bit of value.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

The previous season’s Arkle Chase can often be a decent barometer to future Champion Chase winners and Henry de Bromhead has a powerful hand with Notebook and PUT THE KETTLE ON both likely to line-up in a bid to take the crown.

Notebook could only finish sixth behind Put The Kettle On in last season’s Arkle where not for the first time he appeared not to be fully at ease on the track and he’s twice been beaten by ante-post favourite Chacun Pour Soi this term including in the Dublin Chase.

Put The Kettle On meanwhile progressed really well over fences last term, winning five times in 2019 which included over course and distance prior to returning here in March to beat Fakir D’oudairies and she returned back to the Cotswolds in November to strike again in the Shloer Chase.

The Stowaway mare lost little caste in defeat behind Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown over Christmas and while on that form she has a bit to do she is interesting back at Cheltenham where she is unbeaten and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her running a big race.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners. Can Chris's Dream bounce back to winning form in the Ryanair Chase?

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners. Can Chris’s Dream bounce back to winning form in the Ryanair Chase?

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival day three runners

Marsh Novices’ Chase

Another to switch yards in the wake of recent revelations this is likely to revolve around ENVOI ALLEN who is already many people’s Cheltenham Festival banker and lynchpin of Festival ante-post accumulators.

It is with good reason too as last season’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle victor has carried all before him over fences this term, winning all three starts and looking imperious in demolishing Fils D’ouderaies at Punchestown in January having previously romped to a Fairyhouse Grade One victory last November.

He had also won the 2019 Champion Bumper and the unbeaten Muhtathir gelding is likely to prove a tough nut to crack.

Ryanair Chase

Henry de Bromhead could send his 2018 winner Balko Des Flos into battle for this contest but CHRIS’S DREAM could prove to be his main player and the Mahler gelding could be dangerous to discount.

A progressive chaser who won the 2020 Red Mills Chase enroute to contesting the Cheltenham Gold Cup he was only beaten a neck by The Storyteller on his reappearance in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase although he was disappointing next time behind Min in the John Durkan Memorial Chase when only finishing fifth.

He might ideally want further than the Ryanair Chase trip as a three-mile winner in the past, but his stamina over the stiff finish might prove an asset and if back to his best he could give a very good account.

Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

BRAVE WAY was returning from three months off when contesting the Solerina Mares’ Hurdle and a combination of the heavy ground and a lack of sharpness can be offered as a viable excuse for her poor run where she finished sixth of nine runners.

Henry de Bromhead’s Jeremy mare had previously been impressive in winning on her hurdles debut at Kilbeggan in October and she subsequently was beaten less than two lengths by Skyace at Down Royal later that month.

While the Cheltenham Festival day three contest would certainly demand a bit more from her, she would likely be more appreciative of a likely better surface and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her run respectably given she’s still very lightly raced.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival day four runners

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Henry de Bromhead doesn’t have any obvious contender for this race, but he does have two entered and MINELLA ESCAPE could prove the pick of the pair if turning out in this contest.

The Beat Hollow gelding is a former winning pointer who has been steadily progressive hurdles in his three starts, bouncing back from a debut fall at Punchestown to find only one too good at Navan next time.

He then got off the mark at Tramore on New Years’ Day with an impressive victory over Gorki D’airy and he can progress again faced with the stiffer test of this race although he does have a bit to do on the book.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Henry de Bromhead saddles one of the likely favourites in the Cheltenham Festival day four highlight with A PLUS TARD who has a win and third placed finish in his last two Festival outings and the Kapgarde gelding could be well suited by the demands of this race.

Having won the 2019 Close Brothers’ Handicap Chase he stepped up to Grade One company to perform with plenty of credit behind Delta Work and he’s continued his progression, winning his first Grade One at Leopardstown last Christmas before posting a very good third to Min in the Ryanair Chase twelve months ago.

Although beaten on his reappearance he stepped up to three miles to down Kemboy in the Savills Chase back at Leopardstown and thoroughly unexposed over three miles he could improve again. The Gold Cup test will demand more from him but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him going well.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners. A Plus Tard heads a powerful Gold Cup entry for the Waterford trainer.

Henry de Bromhead Cheltenham Festival runners. A Plus Tard heads a powerful Gold Cup entry for the Waterford trainer.

The Waterford trainer could also send MINELLA INDO into battle on a recovery mission with the Beat Hollow gelding having failed to deliver in recent starts.

The eight-year old had won the 2019 Albert Bartett Hurdle before adding a Punchestown Grade One to his tally next time. He’s since proven top class over fences, winning three times and he was nutted close home by Champ in last season’s RSA Chase.

That race is often a useful barometer to future Gold Cup winners and he won each of his first two chase starts this term with little fuss before falling in the Savills Chase behind stablemate A Plus Tard although he was a shade disappointing when last seen in the Irish Gold Cup where he beat only one home.

He made a couple of mistakes late on which didn’t help and he’ll need to brush up on his jumping; but he’s no back number here if he were return to his best and a big run wouldn’t come as a shock.