Nicky Henderson To Claim 2019 Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer Crown By Defeating Gordon Elliott And Willie Mullins
Cheltenham Festival week has arrived and over the next few days we are set to be treated to some magnificent equine action at Prestbury Park with 28 races lighting up the Gloucestershire racecourse, but only one horse will shine brightest in each contest.
Beyond the individual races there will be some exciting sideshows with the race to be crowned Cheltenham Festival top trainer for 2019 being a hotly-contested event over the four days, and it will see the best of British do battle with the elite of Ireland in what could be a tightly run sideshow.
We assess the prominent figures in the running for the Cheltenham Festival Top Trainer award and pick out some of their key contenders:
Gordon Elliott - Won 2017,2018
With an astonishing eight winners last season, Gordon Elliott is entitled to be favourite for this year's event and he will unleash a strong team in excess of 50 runners over the four days. Apple's Jade will spearhead his battalion as she bids for glory in the Champion Hurdle. Delta Work (RSA Chase), Battleoverdoyen (Ballymore), Commander Of Fleet (Albert Bartlett), Dallas Des Pictons (Martin Pipe) and Hardline (Arkle) are just some of Elliott's classy performers bidding for glory.
Elliott will have a host of handicappers with a chance as well, but while he oozes strength in depth he certainly doesn't possess a team that has some certainties, so while he will be a leading contender, he may just fall short by one winner.
Predicted Winners: 4
Nicky Henderson - Won 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2000, 2010, 2012
The most successful trainer in Cheltenham Festival history, Nicky Henderson will be flying the flag for the home brigade, and while he may lack the strength in numbers of the aforementioned Elliott, he could well have a few contenders that are nailed on for victory over the four days.
Altior will be a red-hot favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and he should claim victory there, while Buveur D'Air is bidding for a third Champion Hurdle crown and can hand Henderson win number two. Champ (Ballymore), Angels Breath (Supreme), Santini (RSA) and Epatante (Mares' Novices' Hurdle) are another sparkling quartet that could all taste victory at GL50, so Henderson's abundance of quality can just see him edge out Elliott.
Predicted Winners: 5
Willie Mullins - Won 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Willie Mullins' dominance at the Cheltenham Festival has just subsided a little as having amassed 24 winners in a four-year period (2013-2016), Mullins' Cheltenham squad has just diminished in terms of quality. Still ready to unleash a strong squad, Mullins may just struggle to leave with the above-mentioned pair of rival trainers, and he will have to settle for minor honours.
Laurina (Champion Hurdle), Benie Des Dieux (Mares' Hurdle), Ballyward (National Hunt Chase), Uradel (Coral Cup) and Footpad (Ryanair) are all leading challengers for their respective races, but only really Benie Des Dieux can be etched in as nap material, so Mullins may just struggle to amass the five or six winners needed to claim this crown.
Predicted Winners: 3
Best Of The Rest
Paul Nicholls, Joseph O'Brien, Colin Tizzard and Nigel Twiston-Davies are another quartet set to enter the winner's enclosure during the Cheltenham Festival, but it's only the former pair of that quartet that could challenge for the crown, but both lack the strength in depth to become a contender for the prize, and it will be Messrs Elliott, Henderson and Mullins going for glory, and Henderson can reign once again and bag the trophy