Who Will Win The Cheltenham Trainers Championship This Year?
WHO WINS THE TRAINERS CHAMPIONSHIP?
For the last few years there has only been three parties that have had a chance to win the trainers championship for the four days of the Cheltenham Festival and this year looks to be no different.
Gordon Elliott, Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson lead the way in the betting with the best horses and the largest teams set to be entered at Prestbury Park during the festival.
We are going to take a look at each trainers chance and also which other trainers could have an outside chance this year of stealing the big guns of Cheltenham's thunder.
GORDON ELLIOTT 6/4
Gordon Elliott has made the Cheltenham Festival into his own over the past few years landing back to back championships and this year going in search of a hat-trick.
The Irishman takes his biggest and arguably strongest team across the pond this season close to 50 runners set to be unleashed over the four days of excellent racing.
Elliott over the last three year has had 17 winners at the festival, having only 22 in total just showing how dominant he has been, with a huge help coming from the owners Gigginstown Stud when he got given their horses to train.
Last year Elliott landed the title after not having winner on the first day of the festival and really came into his own on the Thursday and Friday.
The past two season have seen this trainer land 60 percent of his total festival winners and this year at 6/4 looks to be a great price for the trainer to go and take his third in a row.
NICKY HENDERSON 15/8
The Englishman Nicky Henderson, is Britain's best chance this year and has been for the last few seasons in trying to take the trainers championship away from the Irish raiders and this year he looks to have his strongest chance.
He was last crowned with the title back in 2012 and this season although not having as many favourites in the markets as Elliott he has some really strong chances that can add to his 60 Cheltenham winners.
Where Henderson will win it this year will be in the tight duals between Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins, where all three trainers have horses at the top of the market and he needs his horses to really perform to there best in these contests.
The first two days is crucial for the Seven Barrows trainer who has most of his favourites like Buveur D'Air, Altior, Ok Corral and Champ go on to run.
Over the last few years the winning average score has been around seven or eight and it will be a tall order for the Englishman but he does have the ammunition to cause a slight upset this term.
WILLIE MULLINS 10/3
This price for the Cheltenham Festival hall of fame inductee seems to be far higher than expected but for Mullins this year he is taking the tactic of more quality over quantity, a strategy that we haven't seen before from the Irishman.
Mullins is known for getting his horses fitter than any other trainer at the festival and it is set to be no different this time around and he just stands ahead of Nicky Henderson by 1 extra winner with 61 during the running of the four day meeting.
No one in there entire career as a racing trainer has produced more winners at the festival but this year Mullins looks to be nearly a third down on his team from last year where he was just pipped by fellow Irishman and favourite Gordon Elliott.
The dry winter in Ireland has had a huge effect on the trainer, with many of his horses preferring a bit of cut in the ground but he still holds some standout entries in Grade 1 contests.
Benie Des Dieux looks to be his stand out mare of the meeting, even though she has not run she is strong in the market and her trainer likes what she can offer this season.
Mullins has never won the feature Gold Cup in his career but this year takes his strongest team of four into the race and could make up some ground by landing the big one.
The expert trainer has had 20 winners in the last three years and will be sure to add to that in March but by how many is the question that he will answer over the four days at Prestbury Park.
The two trainers that have outside chances of maybe not competing for the trainers championship but certainly stealing the limelight in the big contests of the meeting are Paul Nicholls and Joseph O'Brien.
Nicholls is having his best season for some years, landing winners all over the place and this campaign he will be taking his strongest team to the festival for many years.
The Somerset based trainer holds many strong entries in the big races this year with Clan Des Obeaux, Grand Sancy, Getaway Trump, Give Me A Copper and Friend Or Foe taking the eye.
O'Brien only landed his first ever winner at Cheltenham at the start of the season but has a clear chance in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and Triumph Hurdle and did also have the favourite in the Arkle before an injury setback.
Le Richebourg sadly picked up a season ending injury, but before that was being backed in constantly for the first Chase Grade 1 of the four days in the Arkle.
Fakir D'oudairies looks to be one of his stand out shouts of the meeting in the first race of the week sitting strong at 4/1 with the first race on the Friday also looking like a good day for the young trainer with 1/1 favourite Sir Erec in the Truimph.
Nicholls, overall is 20/1 to land the championship and has a real outside chance with the way his horses are running but logically it looks like Gordon Elliott's to lose and 6/4 looks a very smart price to get on the back of.
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