The Prestbury Cup is one of the most interesting aspects of any Cheltenham Festival and presents a stern betting opportunity for punters. Once again, the Irish will be the favourites to win the cup on English soil as they have a host of high-quality runners within their ranks.
Last year was a close encounter between Ireland and Great Britain, with the cup being undecided with a 14-14 draw. However, it is unlikely that the same thing will happen again this year, as Ireland are the clear favourites to take the win with talented horses within the ranks of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.
But which horses will be the crucial aspects for the Irish in landing the Prestbury Cup this year?
It’s impossible to look past the back-to-back Grand National champion. The famous Tiger Roll is the heavy favourite for the Cross Country on the second day of the festival as he builds up to his attempt at history at Aintree in April.
This year’s Grand National could be a memorable one for Gordon Elliott as Tiger Roll could match Red Rum’s record of three wins in the race and could also become the first horse to win three straight Grand National titles.
The ten-year-old has won the last two Cross Country Chases, and a third looks like a banker for punters. Easyland and Might Bite will be the leading contenders to stop him, but his success by over 20 lengths last season highlight that this is still very much his race. Gamblers will have no doubts that Tiger Roll will be winning his race at the festival.
Benie Des Dieux
Willie Mullins’ Benie Des Dieux will be the favourite for the Mares’ Hurdle, and there doesn’t look like there is another runner in the race that will be able to stay with the nine-year-old. Her season’s form has been impressive, as she won by 21 lengths from Penhill at Gowran Park in January. This will only be her second festival race, after winning the 2018 instalment of the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. On that occasion, she won by half a length from Midnight Tour.
This year’s race should be a lot more comfortable for Benie Des Dieux and could put Ireland on the right path for the cup. There is some competition in this race in the form of Honeysuckle, Roksana and Stormy Ireland, but in truth, they will likely end lengths behind Benie Des Dieux.
We still don’t know the race where Envoi Allen is heading, but regardless, it will likely win any race that it opts for. He could opt for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, but he will be the favourite for both. His form this season has been majestic, as the six-year-old has won on all three previous starts. Envoi Allen is undefeated over hurdles, as he has won all eight career starts to date. The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is the expected route for the Gordon Elliott trained horse.
In that race, there shouldn’t be anybody involved that could truly test him. Sporting John and Shishkin will look to test Envoi Allen, but his previous festival experience will leave him in the best possible shape. He may not just be a banker in this race; he could be the banker of the entire week.
If these three horses win during the festival, then it is incredibly unlikely that Great Britain will be winning the Prestbury Cup, and instead, it will be heading back to Ireland.
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