By HRI Foreign Staff — The coming weeks are the highlight of the British racing calendar, with plenty of drama guaranteed at both Cheltenham and Aintree. But who are the runners to really look out for at the Cheltenham Festival, before we see the same horses in Grand National action?
The only place we can really start is with Noble Yeats. Last year he made history and bucked a trend stretching back over 80 years by becoming the first 7 year old to win the Grand National since Bogskar in 1940. Rather than proving a flash in the pan, he has gone on to record wins in the M.W. Hickey Memorial and Many Clouds Chase, before impressing when staying on in January’s Cotswold Chase.
Next up for Noble Yeats is the Gold Cup. No horse has won both the Gold Cup and Grand National since L’Escargot in the 1970s, but we already know history holds no fears for Noble Yeats. He’s currently the 9/1 favourite for the Cheltenham showpiece, and 12/1 for the Grand National, but watch for the latter of those prices to crash if he even goes close in the Gold Cup.
It’s rare for a horse to be targeted at both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National, but this year two horses look likely to do so. As well as Noble Yeats, Hewick will also travel to Cheltenham, with the hope of adding to victories in the bet365 Gold Cup, Galway Plate and American Grand National.
Trainer John ‘Shark’ Hanlon is both ambitious and bullish about Hewick’s hopes, so watch for a strong showing in March as a sign that he’s in great shape for Aintree too. Hewick’s latest odds are 25/1 in each race.
Regular watchers of the Cheltenham Festival will remember Delta Work well from last year, after he saw off Tiger Roll in what was meant to be a fairytale ending for the two-time Grand National winner. He was promptly made one of the 2022 Grand National favourites and justified the support by coming home in third.
Twelve months on and Gordon Elliott is setting Delta Work on the same path. He’s priced up as the 6/5 favourite to make it back-to-back Cross Country Chase wins at Cheltenham, so back Delta Work for the Grand National now if you think he’ll oblige, as Grand National odds of 20/1 surely wouldn’t last long.