Cheltenham 2024 | Festival Focus 2024: Juvenile Races & The Bumper

The juvenile hurdles are always intriguing, but it looks like we’ve seen a standout performer already. The handicap for juveniles includes plenty of plot jobs to keep a keen eye on. And the bumper, as always, is a lottery.


Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – 2m 87yds – Premier Handicap

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The one key statistic to work out this race is juveniles that have lost their maiden tag. Nine out of the last 10 winners have won the race with a 1 by their name.

Lark In The Mornin was heavily punted a few weeks ago, but missed his pre-Cheltenham run due to heavy ground. If he had run and won one of those races his price would be a lot shorter. However, he looks like he won’t be coming.

Batman Girac has run in two Graded races and was best result fourth in a juvenile hurdle on Boxing Day. Kargese backed the form up at the DRF, which meant the handicapper had no choice but to bump him up to a harsh mark.

Milan Tino has course form and has been consistently placed each time. Behind both Burdett Road and Sir Gino, he has plenty of form to work on. French-trained horses are often difficult to work out and Milan Tino will have to improve again.

Ndawwi is the only one who has lost his maiden tag in Britain and Ireland, in the top four of the market. With a two-and-a-half length win, the handicapper has caught on to Gordon Elliott’s antics and has given him a harsh mark.

Liari heads the English challenge for Paul Nicholls, to land his first Fred Winter since Diego Du Charmil eight years ago. He is the only unbeaten horse in the field after a stunning win in the Scottish Triumph Hurdle. He’s fairly weighted after his last two victories and is one of his best chances at the meeting.


Out of the principles, Liari takes the vote. His performances have been emphatic and is one of the best horses in the race. Paul Nicholls has waxed lyrical about the future he has at the yard and can defy a top weight. 11/1 (Unibet, BetUK).

Each-way picks:

  • Miss Manzor really impressed when impressive breaking her Irish maiden at Fairyhouse after being dropped in the deep end on Boxing Day. 14/1 (General).
  • Nara looks to be a big plot job. Fourth in testing ground and was held up in the rear all the way. She’s got a great chance on the mark given. 16/1 (Unibet).
  • An Bradan Feasa presents the course form after winning in December over C&D. His performance at Musselburgh hoped to get him a lower mark, but the course form looks overpriced. 33/1 (General).


Weatherbys Champion Bumper – 2m 87yds – Grade One

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This race is a lottery. There Are some genuine live chances, but some that could appear at a big price which makes it open.

Unbeaten horses occupy the top of the market, including Jalon D’oudairies. He’s been given a big break since his win over Christmas. The win wasn’t monstrous, and the form didn’t exactly back up, but looks to be laid out for the race.

Jasmin De Vaux was superb in his victory at Naas in January. The form might not have been backed up, but double-figure length victories never go unnoticed. The combination of Munir & Souede and Willie Mullins have been dominant, and we could see a future champion hack up the hill.

Romeo Coolio came in with a lot of potential, but had to be workmanlike on rules debut, only winning by one-and-a-quarter lengths. Gordon Elliott holds the upper hand with entries, but this could be Cullentra amateur’s Harry Swan’s pick.

Teeshan has had two incredible victories. He hacked by 43 lengths in a point-to-point and won by seven on testing found at Exeter. Initial findings suggest that he will want the ground testing, but Nicholls says this is as best a chance he’s had in the bumper.

The Yellow Clay has been bounced around through the various Preview nights recently. He was a bumper horse last year and won two races. He didn’t follow it up, when short of room and didn’t pick up in time, but still holds claims.


Jasmin De Vaux was by far the most impressive juvenile and looks to have plenty of pace on board to leave connections with a good feeling for next season. 6/1 (William Hill, 888Sport).

Each-way picks: Fleur Au Fusil won the Mares Champion Bumper at the DRF. It’s not particularly produced winners, but the last mare to win the race was in 2018. The weight allowance will allow her some chance to be up in the places. 20/1 (General).

Junta Marvel won the Mares flat race at the Punchestown Festival last year and will be getting her first run of the season in the Champion Bumper. That race provided Brucio who was successful in the Mares Handicap Hurdle at the DRF. Worth a chance at 25/1 (BetUK).


JCB Triumph Hurdle – 2m 179yds – Grade One

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This has one of the bankers on Friday, if not the week.

Sir Gino was impressive when winning the trial on trial’s day, when beating Burdett Road by 10 widening lengths. He was keen at Kempton and wasn’t the most fluent over hurdles but kept going with plenty of speed. He sharpened up at could be giving Constitution Hill a run for his money in the future.

Majborough waited a long time to make his appearance and just laboured towards the end of the Spring Juvenile Hurdle. He kept on and looked the more galloping type for the future, which will suit him on the New Course.

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Kargese won the Spring Juvenile but wasn’t far behind Kala Conti over Christmas. Willie Mullins has won the race three times out of the last four years. But only two have done the Spring/Triumph double.

Storm Heart rekindles the relationship between Gigginstown and Willie Mullins and looked to be one of the top hurdlers after a 22-length win on debut. She failed to get past Kargese in the Spring, which holds some strong form.

Salver for Gary Moore is one of the most experienced juveniles in the field, but will want heavy, if not very soft ground, to hit the frame against a really talented field.


Sir Gino makes it no debate. Course and distance form, sharpened up over hurdles and bundles of speed make him the obvious choice and one of the bankers of the week. 8/11 (BetUK).

Each-way pick: Majborough was highly touted before the season and offered plenty of signs of improvement in the Spring Juvenile. Price has ballooned due to Sir Gino’s presence. 6/1 (General).

Reverse Forecast: Sir Gino, Majborough 

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