Cheltenham Festival: Who Will Be Crowned Top Trainer?

Martin Green

Monday, March 4, 2019 9:27 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 4, 2019 9:27 PM UTC

Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson are set for an epic battle as they aim to be named leading trainer at the eagerly anticipated Cheltenham Festival.

<p><a href="" target="_blank" title="Gordon Elliott">Gordon Elliott</a> has been installed as the favourite to be named top trainer at the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Cheltenham Festival">Cheltenham Festival</a> for the third year running. He has loomed large over this meeting in recent times thanks largely to an extremely fruitful partnership with Ryanair boss and racehorse owner Michael O’Leary. Last year he saddled a record-equalling eight winners and he finished top of the pile with six in 2016. Yet this is the most prestigious meeting of the year, it attracts all the leading trainers in the National Hunt scene and he faces stern competition as he bids to retain his crown.</p><p>Last year, Closutton maestro <a href="" target="_blank" title="Willie Mullins">Willie Mullins</a> overtook England's <a href="" target="_blank" title="Nicky Henderson">Nicky Henderson</a> to become the most successful trainer in Cheltenham Festival history, with 61 wins. He saddled an exceptional seven winners during the meeting, but still it was not enough to usurp his countryman Elliott. But he did go on to seize an 11<sup>th</sup> Irish trainers’ championship and he said Elliott’s emergence has forced his to raise his game.</p><p>Henderson is just one win behind Mullins in the all-time stakes and he will be back with a vengeance in 2019 after claiming the Champion Hurdle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase through Buveur D’Air and Altior last year. The bookmakers expect him to put up the strongest challenge to Elliott’s throne, as Henderson is the second favourite, best priced at 9/4 (3.25) with Ladbrokes and Coral. Mullins is out at 7/2 (4.50) with <a href=";a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b" target="_blank" title="William Hill">William Hill</a>, <a href=";a=b4150791-892f-469b-9b6a-7dfc6df0fb07" target="_blank" title="Ladbrokes">Ladbrokes</a> and <a href=";a=acd6b93a-905e-45af-90ef-7eb1df661829" target="_blank" title="Coral">Coral</a>, while Elliott is the clear favourite, priced at 5/4 (2.25) with Betfair, Paddy Power and Boyle Sports.</p><p>The bookies have some interesting long shots, including Cheltenham legend Paul Nicholls at 33/1 with Ladbrokes and Colin Tizzard at 66/1. But ultimately this looks like a three-horsed race and Elliott is attracting the majority of the bets right now. However, write Mullins off at your peril. He may not longer be working with O’Leary, but he still boasts a phenomenal stable and he will bring an extremely strong hand to almost every race at this meeting, so he could be worth a punt. Expect the odds to shift about as the festival develops and be sure to visit OddsMarket throughout as we will provide updated odds and analysis to help you out.</p>
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