Cheltenham 2024 | Trials Day poses more questions for Jonbon

Cheltenham, Jonbon

As the dust settles on Trials Day at Cheltenham, Jonbon was given another sizeable reality check.

With the countdown to Cheltenham 2024 now officially on, it’s just six weeks’ to what will be one of the biggest betting events of 2024.

After a first visit of the year to the hallowed Gloucestershire turf, Saturday has once again proved telling, so what can we take away from the weekend?

Jonbon takes a hit

There is something about Jonbon that says when it comes to the big dance, he just can’t get it done.

Taken down in the rearranged Clarence House Chase as overwhelming 1/4f, Elixir Du Nutz stunned the bookies at 22/1.

Beaten for the first time in five, the hopes of Nicky Henderson’s best 2-miler in Britain took another hit.

Far from writing his chances off for March, it was however, the gelding’s third defeat in four in Gloucestershire.

Though Jonbon has won on every other track he has raced on, his win in this season’s Shloer Chase against an out-of-sorts Edwardstone, remains his lone win at Cheltenham.

That is a worrying statistic and Jonbon now has work to do ahead of a festival reunion with foe El Fabiolo in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Following on from an impressive Tingle Creek win earlier this season, there was no sign of the same confidence.

Jonbon has never been immaculate over hurdles but his showing this weekend was most alarming, almost falling on two separate occasions.

His issues with the Cheltenham hurdles remain a thorny issue.

Even in a two-horse shootout against 9/1 Calico at Warwick before Cheltenham last year, the gelding’s efforts were awkward.

When Jonbon and El Fabiolo lock horns for the third time, the latter will be around the 1/2f mark.

To open his winner’s account at the festival, Jonbon must be perfect. Only time will tell if he can prove the doubters wrong.


Lossiemouth looks nailed-on

As one Cheltenham favourite’s hopes took a blow, Lossiemouth firmly moved into the box seat for back-to-back festival victories.

Romping to an almost 10L win over Love Envoi in Saturday’s UniBet Hurdle, Willie Mullins’ 8yo remains with just one career loss in six races.

With the chance for Irish Racing Festival redemption at Leopardstown, her better chances will surely come in March.

Going up against defending champ State Man and reigning Ballymore Novices’ king Impaire Et Passe this weekend, the Mullins’ trio reignite their burgeoning rivalry.

However, as far as Cheltenham goes, there are two current options.

One being the Champion Hurdle, but the perhaps more likely avenue – as to avoid the mighty Constitution Hill – the Mares’ Hurdle.

The mare’s stiffest competition in that looks to be Ashroe Diamond, who herself won comfortably at Doncaster.

Nevertheless, Lossiemouth will be a heavy and possible 8/13f.

After a scare in the Triumph Hurdle last year, Lossiemouth could be a big Festival NAP.


Noble Yeats’ Stayers’ challenge?

Another big take from Gloucestershire this weekend, could Noble Yeats be ready to throw down in the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Racing fans already know the stamina of Emmet Mullins’ horse, but the 2022 Grand National victor has the tools for 3m.

Clinging onto Cleeve Hurdle victory after a late surge, perennial-bridesmaid-of-late Paisley Park was nosed out once more.

Some label his glorious win 21 months ago a fluke, but on this evidence, the 60/1 Aintree winner will fancy his chances the next time he trots into Cheltenham.

After a hugely creditable fourth in last year’s Gold Cup, Noble Yeats now has real chances after picking up a first win on the new course.

The might of Gordon Elliott’s Teahapoo and Irish Point will be the ones to beat later this year, but the 9yo and Harry Cobden will again be a decent punt at a big-price.

With the Glenfarclas Chase and two-time defending Delta Work his other option, Noble Yeats should be one to consider for the betslip.


The 2024 Cheltenham Festival begins on Tuesday 12 March

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