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When making your selections for the Cheltenham Festival, you should look no further than those owned by JP McManus. After all, the Irish billionaire, who was once one of the biggest shareholders of Premier League giants Manchester United, is the most successful owner in the long history of the prestigious meeting.
His iconic green and gold hooped silks are more often than not seen in the Prestbury Park winners enclosure, and with a mammoth 66 victories at the Festival to date, it’s no surprise that his contingent are often towards the forefront of the horse racing tips.
Last year was a particularly successful year for McManus, as he landed seven winners across the four-day Festival, including an impressive haul of four winners on the second day. That was enough for him to once again take home the Leading Owner award, and we have no doubt that he will be in the running for the personal accolade again this year.
So, to save you the time of day, we have put together the guide below of the McManus horses to keep an eye out for at this year’s meeting.
Read on to find out more.
Epatante was amongst McManus’ seven winners last year, and according to the latest betting on Cheltenham, he is set to be a dual winner for the Irish owner. The seven-year-old won the Champion Hurdle by some three lengths over Sharjah last year, and he is the favourite at 2/1 to win the day one feature race again this year. Willie Mullins-trained Sharjah is his nearest competition at 7/1.
Easyland was another member of McManus’ winning contingent at last year’s Festival. He was up against two-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll in the Cross Country Chase, but it was a terrible outing for the Gordon Elliott-trained horse, who had won the three-mile six-furlong race in each of the previous two years, and Easyland went on to win by a whopping 17 lengths. The pair are set to go head-to-head again in this year’s marathon race, and given what happened last year, it’s no surprise to see Easyland as the outright favourite.
Nine-year-old Sire Du Berlais is aiming for a hattrick of wins at the Cheltenham Festival this year. Back-to-back victories in the Grade 2 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle over the course of the last two years are not to be sniffed at. However, a victory in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle would definitely be the horse’s best win at Prestbury Park yet. Odds of 8/1 make Sire Du Berlais the fourth favourite, but don’t rule him out.
Champ’s victory in last year’s Festival Novices’ Chase was one of the talking points of the meeting. He was one of McManus’ four winners on day two, and the manner in which he came back from 700/1 in-running to pip Minella Indo over the line was nothing short of dramatic. This year, McManus and trainer Nicky Henderson could opt for either the Stayers’ Hurdle or the Gold Cup, and with odds of 10/1 for both, he is certainly in the running. It would be fitting for Champ to land McManus the Gold Cup, given that he is named after Sir AP McCoy, who delivered victories on a daily basis for the Irish owner throughout his career.
It is also worth noting Gypsy Island (8/1 in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle), Dame De Compagnie (5/1 in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase) and Elimay (8/1 in the Mrs Paddy Mares’ Chase.
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