• Home
  • Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham 2023 Tips - Five handicappers to watch out for on soft ground

jon-vine
10 Mar 2023
jon-vine
Jon Vine 10 Mar 2023
Share this article
Or copy link
success image
  • Five handicappers to watch out for at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival
  • We could get plenty of rain during Cheltenham week this year
  • Here are five runners in the handicaps who would relish plenty of cut in the ground
Cheltenham 2023 Tips Five Handicap Tips Soft Ground
Plenty of rain is no forecast to hit Cheltenham during Festival week. (Getty)

At the start of this week, the chances of this year's Cheltenham Festival being run on soft ground seemed extremely slim. Britain has endured an unseasonably dry winter, with some meetings even being run on good-to-firm ground.

A week, however, is a long time in horse racing. Parts of Britain have been covered in snow over the past few days and the forecast for Cheltenham Festival week now looks extremely unsettled.

Using the Met Office predictions as a guide, Tuesday's card will likely be run on good-to-soft ground, maybe soft at worst. Showers are due to hit Cheltenham around the time of the Champion Chase on Wednesday and Thursday's forecast looks extremely wet.

With that fresh forecast in mind, here are five handicappers to keep on-side if the ground is genuinely soft at the Cheltenham Festival.

Grand Annual 2023 Tips - Red Rookie

Usually, I would favour the Irish horses when the ground is very soft at Cheltenham. I'd make an exception for RED ROOKIE, who would have a huge say in the Grand Annual if the rain arrives in time.

Emma Lavelle's eight-year-old managed to win on decent ground last season and was running well in the Arkle before his fall at the final flight. Red Rookie stayed on to place third behind Third Time Lucki at Sandown last time out, despite the ground being much quicker than he'd like. This talented horse is very well-handicapped off 137 and Lavelle has been itching to see what he can do on suitably soft ground.

Plate Handicap Chase 2023 Tips - Fastorslow


FastorslowPlate Handicap Chase 2023GET 10/1 HERE
18+ only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org

FASTORSLOW was an unfancied 18/1 outsider in last year's Coral Cup and proceeded to run a blinder, losing out to Commander Of Fleet by just a short-head.

Martin Brassil has run his seven-year-old in two Grade Ones this season and, although Fastorslow didn't come close to upsetting either Galopin Des Champs or Gentleman De Mee, he did jumped nicely on both occasions. Brassil's charge won over fences as a three-year-old during his early days in France and he'd relish the prospect of soft ground on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.


coral cup
Fastorslow (centre) finishing second in last year's Coral Cup. (Getty)

Kim Muir 2023 Tips - Dunboyne


DunboyneKim Muir 2023 GET 10/1 HERE
New customers only. 18+ T&Cs and wagering requirements apply.

With every drop of rain that settles into the ground at Cheltenham, Gordon Elliott's chances of a successful week increase exponentially. Gerri Colombe and Teahupoo would be the firm favourites for their races on soft ground, and Three Card Brag would likely reach the top of the betting for the Albert Bartlett, should conditions come up in his favour.

Another Elliott charge who loves the mud is DUNBOYNE, who'll head to the Kim Muir following an excellent runner-up finish in the Thyestes Handicap at Thurles. All of Dunboyne's best performances have come on soft or heavy ground and the British handicapper only upped his mark by three pounds to 141 when the weights were announced. Rob James would likely take the ride and Dunboyne could trouble Stumptown in a soft-ground Kim Muir.

County Hurdle 2023 Tips - Ballyadam

It's been a long time since BALLYADAM last tasted victory. You have to go all the way back to the 2020 Royal Bond, where he carried the Cheveley Park silks to Grade One glory for his trainer at that time, Gordon Elliott.

Since joining Henry De Bromhead, Ballyadam is yet to taste success. He has, however, run well several times in defeat. Aidan Coleman's mount came from off the pace to finish a close sixth in last year's County Hurdle and finished just four lengths adrift of Gaelic Warrior at Leopardstown last time out, where he was only getting a pound from Willie Mullins' Ballymore contender. Ballyadam did all his winning for Gordon Elliott on softer ground and he's handicapped well enough to challenge in this year's County Hurdle.

Martin Pipe 2023 Tips - Iroko


IrokoMartin Pipe 2023GET 12/1 HERE
18+ only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org

A horse I'd be very keen on for either the Coral Cup or the Martin Pipe would be IROKO. Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero's French recruit finished fourth in both the Finale and Adonis Hurdles last term, and has gone on to win two competitive handicaps at Wetherby this season.

Having won despite some poor jumps on his reappearance, Iroko relished softer going on his most recent outing in January, motoring to a hugely impressive victory over several capable rivals. Greenall has said that Iroko would only run if the ground was soft. Given the right conditions, I'm confident that this progressive five-year-old could make a big impact in this year's Cheltenham Festival. 

Top Betting Sites

special-offer-1Betting offers

Upcoming Events

02 March 2024

Load More