Following on from the main event on Gold Cup day is one of the most traditional races of the meeting, the Hunters' Chase. Known as the amateurs Gold Cup, this race is fought out by the best hunter-chasers and point-to-pointers in Europe, and only amateur riders are permitted to take part.
Cheltenham 2023 Tips - Hunters' Chase 2023 Guide
Hunters' Chase 2023 Odds
|Bob And Co||10/1|
Hunters' Chase 2023 Runners
Having come within a whisker of his first Cheltenham victory in this race 12 months ago, David Christie will be eager to go one-better this time around. Winged Leader looked to have opened up an unassailable lead turning for home, only for Billaway to battle back and snatch victory in the dying strides.
Winged Leader is one of three David Christie horses sitting at the top of the betting. The youngest of the three is Ferns Lock - a horse Christie has said could be running in open Graded chases next season - but this talented six-year-old is unlikely to make it to the Festival.
Barry O'Neill could get off Winged Leader to ride current favourite Vaucelet, who's won the Champion Hunters' Chase at Stratford the past two seasons. Vaucelet has won nine of his 11 starts for Christie, with one of those defeats coming behind Billaway at Punchestown last season, where O'Neill's mount would probably have won had he not made a terrible mistake at the last.
Billaway hasn't been in the best of form this season, but given his record in this race, Willie Mullins' star has to be respected. Two-time Grade Two winner, Chris's Dream is two-from-two in point-to-points this season and he'll also fly the flag for Ireland. Emmet Mullins could be represented by Its On The Line, who'll travel to Cheltenham on the back of two victories between the flags.
The leading British hope is Paul Nicholls' Secret Investor
, who'll be ridden by his 17-year-old daughter, Olive. Bob And Co
was a runner for Nicholls in this race a couple of years ago and he could have his first start for Harry Derham on day four of the Cheltenham Festival
Hunters' Chase 2023 Tips
At a much longer price, I'll have an each-way punt on LE MALIN for the father-son duo of Sean and Noel McParlan.
A two-time winner over hurdles in France in 2018/19, Le Malin was only beaten a length by Vaucelet on his return from a 1215-day lay-off back in October. Having finished a close second behind Winged Leader and Billaway at the start of the season, McParlan's charge booked his trip to Cheltenham with a superb 22-length victory in a point-to-point at Lisronagh in February. Le Malin has been running well all season and soft ground could see this talented nine-year-old to best effect.