Form Ahead of Cheltenham: Which Horses Are Firm Favourites?

The Cheltenham Festival is around a month away now and like us, we’re sure you’re starting to think about who you’re going to back across those magical few days.

Trainers and owners are trying to run their horses into form and over the last few weeks and coming ones, it’s worth keeping your eye on all the hottest prospects for Cheltenham.

With bookies already starting to hand out their 2018 Cheltenham free bet offers, we take a look at the horses finding form ahead of the famous roar that signifies the start of the Festival on 13 March 2018.

Coeur De Lion

Coeur De Lion romped home in the Betway Handicap at Southwell to book a place at Cheltenham and will likely run in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle in just a few weeks time.

Ridden by Hollie Doyle, he was 13-8 favourite for the race and will now go into Cheltenham looking to better a seventh place finish in the JCB Triumph Hurdle last year. The Coral Cup is also an option for Alan King’s horse and he’s certainly one to watch this year no matter what race he ends up running in.

Native River

Native River has made a real case for the Gold Cup after winning the Denman Chase at Newbury. Despite a prolonged absence of over 300 days the eight-year-old proved to be a real contender and re-announce himself as one of the favourites for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and is currently available at 11/2.

He’s still behind Might Bite in the odds market but the Colin Tizzard trained horse has come through what was a major test well and he, along with jockey Richard Johnson, will be desperate to seal that victory in the Gold Cup after coming so close in 2017 when finishing second to Sizing John.

It’s been perfect preparation so far and we’d fancy an each way bet on Native River come Gold Cup Day on 16 March.


Altior enjoyed a triumphant return to action at the Betfair Exchange Chase at Newbury and will now go into the Queen Mother Champion Chase as 8/11 favourite.

Both jockey Nico De Boinville and trainer Nicky Henderson were thrilled with by his performance, with the latter calling it “perfection”. He’s overcome a breathing operation superbly and has answered all the questions to anyone who thought he might be vulnerable.

Henderson has said they’ll go to Cheltenham happy and confident in their gelding’s form and we have to say we will be too. A firm favourite to back at Cheltenham.