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14th Mar 2024

Cheltenham Day Three live: All the tips, drama, interviews and results

Niall McIntyre

Will the Irish dominance continue?

Keep up to date with all the action from Cheltenham Thursday here in our live-blog. (It may take one minute to load.)


Willie Mullins’ stranglehold over the National Hunt game has perhaps never been as pronounced.

The Carlow-based trainer headed to Prestbury Park this week with a breath-taking 70-strong team of horses.

With a record-breaking 94 winners to his name before the festival, he had already hit the 100 milestone by Wednesday evening, with his son Patrick riding Jasmin de Vaux to victory in the Champion Bumper.

11 March 2024; Trainer Willie Mullins on the gallops ahead of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile.

In truth, he could be into the 100s by Thursday morning. In the first day alone, the Closutton maestro saddled three winners with State Man, Lossiemouth and the mercurial Gaelic Warrior all recording Grade One victories.

Mullins is well on his way to yet another champion trainer crown, with a distinct possibility of a clean sweep of all of the championship races.

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From here to Friday, he trains the favourite for two of the three championship races, with Gordon Elliott’s Teahupoo’s short odds in the world hurdle the only exception.

The Prestbury Cup

Perhaps as a consequence of Mullins’ continued success, Ireland’s dominance over England continues at the Olympics of horse-racing. In fact, over the last eight years, England have only won the Prestbury Cup once.

With Mullins supported by the likes of Henry de Bromhead and Gordon Elliott, the Irish are expected to have another successful week at the Cotswolds.

The ground

John ‘Shark’ Hanlon’s Gold Cup hopes are pinned on the shoulders of his horse Hewick. They lie in the hands of Wexford jockey Jordan Gainford but they all lie helplessly in the lap of the weather gods. Shark, the Kilkenny trainer, has said in the build-up to the festival that, should the weather go against him on Cheltenham week, ‘the people’s horse,’ will not race.

27 July 2022; Jockey Jordan Gainford celebrates on Hewick after winning the Tote Galway Plate during day three of the Galway Races Summer Festival at Ballybrit Racecourse in Galway. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Hewick, just like Joseph O’Brien’s Banbridge (favourite for Thursday’s Ryanair chase) is a hard ground horse and will not race if the weather is wet, and the ground soft.