The 2020 Cheltenham Festival is fast approaching and excitement is reaching fever pitch amongst National Hunt fans in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The four-day meeting always attracts the best horses in the business for a feast of top-class jump racing action.
One of the most interesting elements of Cheltenham is the battle to be crowned the top trainer at the Festival.
Just four trainers have won the award in the last 14 years – Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls.
Read on as we look at which horse gives each of that quartet their best chance of a winner at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Benie Des Dieux out to avoid another mishap
Mullins has been the top trainer at the Festival in six of the last nine years and has assembled another strong team this time around.
Benie Des Dieux is one of the most popular Cheltenham tips for the Festival as she bids to give Mullins a tenth career victory in the Mares’ Hurdle.
The horse won the race in 2018 and was on course to follow up last year before taking a crashing fall at the final hurdle when well clear.
Benie Des Dieux faces stiff competition from Henry de Bromhead’s Honeysuckle, but Mullins’ star mare is strongly fancied to come out on top.
Tiger set to roll in the Cross Country Chase
Elliott’s Tiger Roll heads to Cheltenham aiming to win his fifth race at the Festival ahead of another tilt at the Grand National at Aintree in April.
The 10-year-old is seeking a third successive win in the Cross Country Chase to add to previous successes in the Triumph Hurdle and National Hunt Chase.
Tiger Roll made a solid reappearance in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan last month and should be fully tuned up for the Festival.
French raider Easyland could be Tiger Roll’s toughest opponent, although Elliott’s charge should have the class to see of his challenge.
Nicholls ready to go Solo in the Triumph
Nicholls trained both Celestial Halo and Zarkandar to win the Triumph Hurdle and he looks set to add to his tally with Solo in this year’s renewal.
The horse bolted up by 15 lengths at Auteuil before being bought by owner Mrs Johnny de la Hey and placed with Nicholls.
Solo was hugely impressive on its UK debut at Kempton during February, running away with a hot contest to jump to the head of the betting for the Triumph.
Nicholls has been bullish about Solo’s chances in the race and the four-year-old looks one of the best bets of the entire meeting.
Champ ready to shine in the RSA Chase
Champ was strongly fancied to win the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle last year, but came up just short against City Island.
Henderson switched the horse to fences this season and he got off to the perfect start with two impressive victories at Newbury.
He appeared to be on his way to a third win at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day, but came a cropper at the second last fence when four lengths clear.
Champ has schooled exceptionally well since that fall and is fully expected to bounce back by winning the RSA Chase at the Festival.