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Cheltenham Festival Hunters’ Chase tips: Premier Magic and Billaway bidding to win second crown

No sooner has the Gold Cup winner strutted his stuff around Cheltenham’s winners’ circle then it is the turn of the amateur jockeys to take on the same fences in the Hunters’ Chase.

16:10 - St James’ Place Festival Challenge Cup Hunters’ Chase (3 miles 2 furlongs 70 yards) 

With two of the last four renewals won by 66/1 outsiders (with a short-priced favourite in between), this wide open contest is clearly capable of producing winners from anywhere in the market.

Since 2012 three horses (Salsify,  On The Fringe and PachA Du Polder) have won “the Amateur Gold Cup” back-to-back, and the buzz in the Tipstrr community is that Premier Magic can do the same for Bradley Gibbs.

Planet Sport Bet: Bet £20+ cash on any runner in the race and if Its On The Lines wins by more than 8 lengths, get a £5 Free Bet!

The 11-year-old was one of those 66/1 shots when landing this last year, defying his odds with an excellent jumping performance that saw him ease a couple of lengths clear of the re-opposing Its On The Line, who is the short-priced favourite to land this.

He went to prove that was no fluke a few weeks later, when returning to win the Mixed Open Hunters’ Chase over the same course and distance, this time landing the odds as the odds-on favourite, and he returns now fresh from a 10-month break with high hopes of defending his crown.

Suggested bet: Premier Magic each-way in the 16:10 at Cheltenham



Looking elsewhere, it can sometimes be more significant when Willie Mullins has just one runner in a race than when he has half a dozen, and in Billaway he has a proven course-distance performer who always seems to be at his peak when this renewal comes around.

A 10-length runner-up in this in 2021 and then an agonising short head second again behind Porlock Bay a year later, he finally got his nose in front in 2022, edging out Winged Leader by a neck as the well-backed 13/8 favourite.

He was equally well-fancied to defend his crown last year, and was racing prominently before unfortunately suffering his only ever fall half-way round, so he will have something to prove here under usual jockey Patrick Mullins.

Billaway bounced back quickly to sign off last season with a tidy win at Downpatrick, and warmed up for this with a good performance on his reappearance at Naas in early February, when he just failed to get up alongside Its On The Line, eventually edged out by the length of the winner’s head.

They resume battle here, with the favourite’s younger legs likely to give him the edge in the testing conditions, but age seems less of a factor in this sphere (rival Shantou Flyer is 14 years old), and Billaway ticks all the right boxes to give another good account here.

Suggested bet: Billaway each-way in the 16:10 at Cheltenham


Hunters’ Chase key stats

Top 3 trainers (last 20 years)

  • Paul Nicholls - 27 runners, 4 winners, 1 place
  • Enda Bolger - 11 runners, 2 winner, 2 places
  • Rodger Sweeney - 4 runners, 2 winners

Top 3 jockeys (last 20 years)

  • Derek O'Connor - 11 rides, 1 winner, 1 place
  • Alex Edwards - 5 rides, 1 winner, 2 places
  • Patrick Mullins - 5 rides, 1 winner, 1 place

Past 5 winners of the Hunter’s Chase:

  • 2019 Hazel Hill 7/2F
  • 2020 It Came To Pass 66/1
  • 2021 Porlock Bay 16/1
  • 2022 Billaway 13/8F
  • 2023 Premier Magic 66/1

Britain v Ireland

  • Britain - 11 winners and 23 places from 344 runners
  • Ireland - 9 winners and 18 places from 116 runners

READ MORE: Cheltenham Festival ITV racing tips: Best bets for Day Four on Thursday March 15

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