Cheltenham Festival 2024: Mullins lands 100th winner but El Fabiolo saves bookmakers – live | Cheltenham Festival 2024

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Barry Glendenning spent another day at the Cheltenham Festival, getting in the spirit of things, presumably dressed in second-hand vintage, sustainable clothes, an ensemble of “cheap spats, 1920s high-rise trousers, lavender dress shirts and double-breasted topcoats with peaked lapels plundered from a vintage bargain bin”.

He’ll be back for more on Thursday and so shall we.

Greg Wood’s tips for Thursday are here.


St Patrick’s Thursday’s race schedule

  • 1.30 – Turners Novices’ Chase, 2m 4f

  • 2.10 – Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle), 3m

  • 2.50 – Ryanair Steeple Chase, 2m 4 1/2f

  • 3.30 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, 3m

  • 4.10 – TrustATrader Plate (Handicap Chase), 2m 4 1/2f

  • 4.50 – Ryanair Mares Novices’ Hurdle, 2m 1f

  • 5.30 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Chase, 3m 2f


Sportsmanlike from centurion Willie Mullins: “It’s a wonderful day, it’s fantastic. As much I enjoy what’s happening, I think of my colleague and fellow trainer Nicky Hendersonand what’s happened with his yard this week.

“That’s always a worry that we have in the two or three weeks coming up to Cheltenham, that something will come in and bite you from outside. As much as we’re enjoying it, I don’t know how he must be feeling. You want competition and it must be gutting for him. You’d like good opposition to have fun with because I’m sure he would have beaten us a few times this week.”

Mullins has 100 Cheltenham winners, Henderson has 73. There was a point that looked unassailable.


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Patrick Mullins speaks to Racing TV: “I am very privileged to get the 100 for my dad, a special moment. When we lost the Gigginstown horses. In his early 60s he went out and got more owners, starting with Rich Ricci. Everything counts. He’s never standing still. It’s outside the box. Sometimes it can be man with the moon. Never fall out with people; Gigginstown, they’re back with us.”


Cheltenham 5.30 Champion Bumper result

  • 1 Jasmin De Vaux (Mr P W Mullins) 9-2

  • 2 Romeo Coolio (K M Donoghue) 18-1

  • 3 Jalon D’oudairies (J W Kennedy) 3-1 Fav
    19 ran
    Also: 66-1 Sounds Victorius 4th
    Non Runners: 5,6,10,18,22
    CSF: £85.68
    Tricast: £294.24

Hats off to Willie Mullins. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

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There were eight Mullins horses to choose from, and Patrick chose the one he wanted. He gets first dibs from his dad in the NHF races, and he’s landed the big one for his dad. Patrick looks absolutely delighted.

Patrick Mullins celebrates as he and Jasmin De Vaux head towards the Winners’ Enclosure. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

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100th Cheltenham win for Willie Mullins, ridden by son Patrick

Off for the first time and Teeshan, the Nicholls horse, off in the lead in the old Paul Barber colours. Jasmin De Vaux, the PW Mullins horse, sits in the rear, held up. There’s ten lengths between them as they are led through the deep country and. they climb the hill, and start to head down. Teeshan leads. The Yellow Clay – fancied – is in there, too. Half-mile out and Teeshan is still out front but time for others to make moves…..before Jasmin De Vaux sees off Romeo Coolio to win and Patrick Mullins makes it 100 wins for his dad. That’s the Champion Bumper won, the race that helped make the Mullins name.


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Unexpected Party trainer Dan Skelton on another handicap landed, speaking to the BBC: “It is remarkable really, I’m proud of the horses, they are running out of their skins. It is magic. Unexpected Party went very well all the way through but he really needed those last two jumps.”

Trainer Dan Skelton (left) celebrates after Unexpected Party’s win. Photograph: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile/Getty Images

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Wednesday’s lucky last, where you bet at your peril or if you have an insider knowledge of a yard, in this case the Mullins yard.


5.30 Champion Bumper odds

  • Jalon Doudairies 7/2

  • Jasmin De Vaux 4/1

  • The Yellow Clay 7/1

  • You Oughta Know 9/1

  • Cantico 11/1

  • Fleur Au Fusil 12/1

  • Teeshan 14/1

  • Argento Boy 20/1

  • Romeo Coolio 20/1

  • Sixmilebridge 22/1

  • Cest Ta Chance 25/1

  • Bill Joyce 33/1

  • Quebecois 33/1

  • Royal Infantry 40/1

  • Sounds Victorius 80/1

  • Fishery Lane 100/1

  • Stavvy 100/1

  • Union Avenue 150/1

  • Dirty Den 200/1

  • Odds via Oddschecker

5.30 Market Movers via Oddspedia


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Some runnings of this race revolve around a short-priced favourite, generally from the Willie Mullins yard, while the betting for others is as wide-open as one of the meeting’s handicaps, and barring any late plunges, this year’s Bumper looks like one of the latter. Mullins has previously had winners at 25-1 (twice), 16-1, 14-1 and 12-1 among his record 13 successes in this race, so it would be unwise to discount any of his eight runners today completely, but Jasmin De Vaux, an easy winner of his only start at Naas in January, is likely to be the shortest member of the squad in the betting as Patrick Mullins, the trainer’s son and a three-time winner already, is holding the reins. Other likely types from the Mullins stable include You Oughta Know, Cantico – the mount of stable jockey, Paul Townend – and Fleur Au Fusil, with Townend’s sister, Jody, taking the ride, but Gordon Elliott is well represented too, with Jalon D’Oudairies, unbeaten in two, vying for favouritism with Jasmin De Vaux. He is joined in the field by The Yellow Clay, who is also interesting as he ran an eye-catching race behind Jeroboam Machin in a bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival. Jeroboam Machin would have been an obvious favourite for this had an injury not intervened, and The Yellow Clay – along with You Oughta Know, who was just ahead of him that day – is a live contender on that form.



Cheltenham 4.50 result

  • 1 Unexpected Party (Harry Skelton) 12-1

  • 2 Libberty Hunter (H Cobden) 6-1

  • 3 Path D’oroux (K M Donoghue) 10-1

  • 4 Sa Fureur (J W Kennedy) 4-1 Fav
    16 ran
    Non Runner: 1


That’s the two handicaps won by the Skelton brothers today. The Brits have won the three open handicaps so far. So that’s something.

Unexpected Party, ridden by Harry Skelton, wins the Grand Annual Chase Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

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Unexpected Party wins the Grand Annual Chase!

A disorderly start, a false one, in fact, and Robbie Supple calls them back. They get tangled up in the tape, and there may soon be a standing start. Robbie Supple most unhappy. They go quite shakily, Calico to the fore, Gemirande taking up an early pace. The ground looks heavy after two days of being bashed up on the Old Course. Gemirande and the fancied Unexpected Party continue to lead. Hardy Du Seuil is well at the back, while Maskada has hit the beam and is dropping back. With three to go, there’s plenty left involved. Unexpected Party takes them over the second last. And then the last, and he goes clear, the grey. It’s another Skelton winner, the handicap kings.


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The word from Sam Eaton at Oddschecker on that El Fabiolo bet is that “42% of all Cheltenham accas – over £10 stake – this week included El Fabiolo. Plus 70% of bets placed on the actual race were on El Fabiolo.”

Shades of Annie Power in 2015. The famous quadpot, coming down on Ruby Walsh.


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4.50 Grand Annual Handicap Chase odds

  • Libberty Hunter 4/1

  • Madara 11/2

  • Saint Roi 15/2

  • Sa Fureur 15/2

  • Maskada 10/1

  • Hardy Du Seuil 11/1

  • Path Doroux 12/1

  • Unexpected Party 14/1

  • Solness 16/1

  • Harpers Brook 16/1

  • Triple Trade 25/1

  • Calico 25/1

  • The King Of Prs 28/1

  • Gemirande 40/1

  • The Folkes Tiara 40/1

  • Frere Darmes 50/1

  • Odds from Oddschecker

4.50 Market Movers From Oddspedia


Greg Wood


Willie Mullins could well have become the first trainer to saddle 100 Festival winners by the time Saint Roi goes to post for this, but he will still not have a handicap chase winner to his name after his runner in yesterday’s Ultima Handicap Chase could finish only third. Saint Roi has done most of his racing over fences at Graded level, and finished within two lengths of the winner in a Grade One at Aintree in April 2023, and suggested that his BHA mark of 152 might not be unduly harsh on his somewhat belated handicap debut off 151 at Fairyhouse in January. It is more than 30 years since the winner of this carried 11st 10lb or more, however, and runners with less than 11st tend to have the upper hand. That also counts against last year’s winner, Maskada, who has 11st 8lb, and to a lesser extent, Sophie Leech’s admirable Madara (11st 1lb) who served it up to the Irish with a win in a handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival last month. I’ve managed to pick out another “springer” here, as the lightly-raced Libberty Hunter, with Harry Cobden booked to ride, was as big as 7-1 yesterday. He posted a very useful time when winning here on New Year’s Day but the current odds of around 4-1 are not quite so enticing.


Greg Wood

Greg Wood

That’s the big one done, two more to go, two more days to go. Here’s Greg’s tips for Thursday, including the Ryanair and the Stayers’


Willie Mullins, speaking to ITV Racing, after being denied his 100th: “Delighted for Henry and for Rachael. Gentleman De Mee ran a cracker so we are delighted. El Fabiolo was low over a couple of the fences and I was very concerned. Disappointing.”

He didn’t hang around long, so we await more news of El Fabiolo, though it seems Paul Townend knew he wasn’t going anywhere fast, and decided to preserve the horse’s welfare.


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El Fabiolo hits the first, third and it was the fifth that brought him down. There doesn’t seem too much concern for his health from Willie Mullins or Ruby Walsh, Willie’s close associate. “You learn that at pony club,” he says, when showing Rachael Blackmore easing the Captain home to the Champion Chase. Shades of Politologue and Dodging Bullets winning the race, lesser-starred but classy horses winning it. Big Zeb too?


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We await news of El Fabiolo, who landed heavily after missing one, stayed up but came to a halt. Let’s hope it’s nothing serious. The bookmakers have had a champagne moment from that misfortune.


Rachael Blackmore, speaking to ITV Racing: “He travelled incredible and jumped really well. It is incredible. So pleased for his owner. He has been knocking on the door. It is incredible to win this, just incredible and so happy to do it on this horse. He always runs his race. He is enthusiastic.”

She’s the rider for the biggest, grandest occasions. Just remarkable.


Cheltenham 4.00 result

  • 1 Captain Guinness (Rachael Blackmore) 17-2

  • 2 Gentleman De Mee (M P Walsh) 16-1

  • 3 Funambule Sivola (Charlie Deutsch) 100-1
    6 ran
    Also: 2-9 Fav El Fabiolo
    Non Runners: 1,8

Rachael Blackmore and Captain Guinness jump the last on their way to winning the Champion Chase. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile/Getty Images

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Rachael Blackmore and Captain Guinness win the Champion Chase!

Now we have a race, and who can win it? Edwardstone continues to take it out, four from the finish. Captain Guinness the nearest chaser. It seems between these two while Gentleman de Mee chases them. Captain Guinness goes clear of a faller in Edwardstone and Captain Guinness and Rachael Blackmore take it home! Another win for her and Henry de Bromhead.


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El Fabiolo out of the Champion Chase!

From the start, Edwardstone, as expected, goes to the front. Elixir de Nuts sits off him. El Fabiolo sits back, menacingly, and Edwardstone strings them out…but El Fabiolo hits the fence, and comes to a halt. He’s pulled up.


The Champion Chase horses are at the start, and idling away of what will be a race from the gun. There’s no race like it for speed. It’s essentially a sprint over two miles, pedal to the metal. Do we have a horse like Sprinter Sacre or Masterminded in here? Over to El Fabiolo.


Paul Townend is a fine, fine jockey but him splitting the golden generation comes as a shock. Barry Geraghty – what an underrated genius he was in the saddle.


Potential bloodbath for the bookies if El Fabiolo comes in after Ballyburn and Fact To File landed the first two. Odds just over 2/1 this morning. The big three were landed on Tuesday. If there are any, er, Sexpots going, then it’s a bad day for the bookmakers. There’s still two days left to lose it all back to them.


4.00 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase odds

  • El Fabiolo 2/7

  • Edwardstone 7/1

  • Captain Guinness 12/1

  • Gentleman De Mee 22/1

  • Elixir De Nutz 33/1

  • Funambule Sivola 150/1

  • Odds from Oddschecker

Best Each Way Terms: Top two places on the race

4.00 Market Movers from Oddspedia

Greg Wood

Greg Wood


This looks like a lap of honour for El Fabiolo after Nicky Henderson was forced to scratch Jonbon, the second-favourite, this morning, although Willie Mullins, his trainer, has seen hotpots beaten in this before, back in the days when it was the only significant gap on his Festival cv. Douvan’s failure at 2-9 in 2017 was particularly painful, but Mullins finally broke his duck with Energumene in 2022, who followed up 12 months later, and now bids for a hat-trick with last year’s Arkle Trophy winner. Edwardstone, also a previous winner of the Arkle, is his main rival according to the betting but he ran poorly in this last year on similar going and El Fabiolo looks as solid as odds-on shots come at this meeting.



Dan Skelton, speaking to ITV Sport after his brother Harry piloted home Langer Dan in the Coral Cup: “It’s remarkable and credit to the horse. I’ve never been prouder of a result than this. People don’t know but the horse had surgery after the meeting here last year and didn’t make it to Aintree. We were relying on this little horse and we got him right. He had a terrible winter. It’s been a massive team effort.”


3.15 Coral Cup result

  • 1 Langer Dan (Harry Skelton) 13-2

  • 2 Ballyadam (Rachael Blackmore) 13-2

  • 3 Shanbally Kid (M J M O’Sullivan) 12-1

  • 4 Lucky Place (James Bowen) 25-1
    21 ran
    Also: 4-1 Fav Built By Ballymore
    Non Runners: 2,5,23,25


Langer Dan wins the Coral Cup for the second year running!

Might I is making a few disruptive mistakes. They speed from the countryside to head up the hill before they begin their descent. Langer Dan is pushed on. Ballyadam is moving up, too. Three out and it’s anyone’s. Built By Ballymore makes a mistake at two out. Langer Dan leads over the last and takes the race again for the Skelton team! Never rule them out on the handicaps! Ballyadam ran so well for Rachael Blackmore.

Langer Dan wins the Coral Cup! Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

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3.15 Coral Cup

This is where the punters can stay ahead for the week with a nice, big handicap win. They go off first time, with Doddiethegreat, the Henderson horse named after the late Doddie Weir, is in there. Beacon Edge leads at the first turn. Brazil, a previous festival winner, is there, too. It’s a long race, this, and tends to be won by a charge, though perhaps the terrain doesn’t allow for that. Beacon Edge as they enter the last lap.

The runners make their way up the hill during the Coral Cup. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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3.15 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle odds

  • Built By Ballymore 7/2

  • Sa Majeste 6/1

  • Langer Dan 7/1

  • Doddiethegreat 9/1

  • Ballyadam 9/1

  • Jigoro 12/1

  • Shanbally Kid 14/1

  • Might I 14/1

  • Brazil 16/1

  • Zanndabad 16/1

  • Black Bamboo 20/1

  • Guard Your Dreams 22/1

  • First Street 25/1

  • Lucky Place 25/1

  • Da Capo Glory 33/1

  • Western Fold 33/1

  • Mark Of Gold 40/1

  • Beacon Edge 40/1

  • Maxxum 40/1

  • Rambo T 50/1

  • Lombron 66/1

  • Finest Evermore 80/1

  • Benson 80/1

  • Franciscan Rock 100/1

  • Odds via Oddschecker

3:15pm: Market Movers from Oddspedia:


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On those two winners so far:

Fact To File makes it an easy double for Willie Mullins in the opening two races of Day Two. Fact To File before winning the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase was 15/2 to win the 2025 Gold Cup, those odds have been cut to as short as 4/1 with one bookmaker. Galophin Des Champs is still the betting favourite in the 2025 Gold Cup market, priced at 3/1.

Ballyburn won the Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle with ease to give Willie Mullins yet another winner. Since that victory, Ballyburn has been cut from 33/1 to as short as 5/1 to win the 2025 Champion Hurdle. There are still a couple of bookmakers with 16/1 available, but we expect these to be cut in the next hour. Ballyburn will be the 4th favourite in the 2025 Champion Hurdle market behind, Constitution Hill, State Man and Lossiemouth.

Info via Oddschecker.


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