2014 Racing News

Big names will take some stopping again at 2014 Cheltenham Festival

As the superb race meeting itself draws ever closer, one Cheltenham Festival prediction that isn’t too hard to come up with is that the established stars are likely to once again take all the beating this time around in their respective championship events, writes Elliot Slater.

Now that Big Buck’s – the four-time winner of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle – has recovered from injury and proved himself well capable of landing an astounding fifth title, there is almost a full complement of big names set to go for more glory. Around a 9/4 chance to regain the crown he was unable to defend last year, Paul Nicholls’ charge was a very close third at Cheltenham in January and will come on significantly for the outing.

Earlier in the four-day meeting the mighty Hurricane Fly will bid to land his third Champion Hurdle in four years, and last time out showed he still has all the fire in his belly as he fought off the smart Our Conor in a stirring renewal of the Irish champion Hurdle at Leopardstown. While there are plenty of young pretenders to his crown, if Willie Mullins’ great horse turns up in top form on the day he will give them all something to think about.

One of the least difficult Cheltenham Festival prediction 2014 is that all eyes will be on the great mare Quevega as she goes for an all-time record in the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle race, a contest Mullins’ superstar has won for each of the last five years. She will be a banker for many, including the masses of Irish punters, and will well and truly bring the house down if she scores again.

With Bobs Worth favourite to defend his Gold Cup crown and Sprinter Sacre reportedly on track to bid for a second Queen Mother Champion Chase, this year’s Cheltenham Festival has an embarrassment of riches to offer.

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