Cheltenham 2024 | The Cheltenham Triple | El Fabiolo

El Fabiolo, Cheltenham

As Cheltenham 2024 inches ever closer, El Fabiolo looks to etch his name into the pantheon of National Hunt legends.

Last year’s Arkle winner, El Fabiolo this time goes in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, locking horns with old nemesis Jonbon.

Undefeated in seven races, Willie Mullins will be confident of retaining his grip on the race Energumene won back-to-back since 2022.

Returning for his second Festival appearance, is 4/9 El Fabiolo bound for greatness?


Cusp of legend

Just how good is El Fabiolo? This year’s March trip to Gloucestershire may reveal the answer.

A date to ponder; April 8 2022; just under a month shy of two years.

That was the last time the French gelding tasted defeat, coming in the Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

His conqueror on that day? A certain Jonbon.

Since that early spring afternoon however, El Fabiolo has a clean slate.

Avenging that very loss to Nicky Henderson’s runner 12 months ago as 11/10f, the 7yo now has four Grade 1 wins under the belt.

Since his winning Cheltenham debut last year, ‘El Fabi’ has claimed the Castle Novice, Hilly Way and Dublin Chase crowns.

In comparison, Jonbon’s record of late is far from glowing for a horse of such ilk.

The gelding, a year senior, has fumbled over jumps this season and was unsure in the Tingle Creek.

Pivotally, the 8yo’s loss in the Clarence House Chase to 22/1 Elixir Du Nutz felt damaging.

Indeed, his 10/3 price with William Hill looks shaky.


Small field

With a fair amount of uncertainty over the going for the week, the current field of eight could be further whittled down come Wednesday.

Turf ahead of Saturday inspection was good to soft, but is forecast to be soft for midweek.

However, that could again change depending on varying weather predictions.

So, realistically, are there any rivals to either El Fabiolo or Jonbon?

A former Arkle winner himself, Edwardstone has not enjoyed the best of years, but only a fool would write his chances off.

Interestingly, Edwardstone has inflicted more losses on Jonbon than El Fabiolo has.

However, Alan King’s 10yo will need a good deal more rain before Wednesday.

Age may not be on his side, and to add to the mix, Edwardstone has not won a Grade 1 since the 2022 Tingle Creek.

Elixir Du Nutz we already touched on after beating Jonbon last time out, but what of Captain Guinness‘ hopes?

A 14/1 gambit himself with Betfred, the 9yo of Henry De Bromhead’s biggest win to date was a Grade 2 at Navan at the start of the season.

Captain Guinness was third to both El Fabiolo and Dinoblue in the Dublin Chase, but of just a small dash of intrigue, pushed Jonbon quite hard in the bet365 Celebration Chase to end last season.

The ingredients are in place for another red-hot Champion Chase come Wednesday, but on paper, the field will have to go some to take down El Fabiolo.


El Fabiolo looks for a second Cheltenham Festival crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Wednesday, 15:30 GMT.

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