Cheltenham Festival 2024: Rachael Blackmore Ready for More Success

The impending 2024 Cheltenham Festival has the hearts of punters racing in excitement, as fans pour over the list of runners and riders to plot their Prestbury Park punts.

When looking at the jockeys, the name of Rachael Blackmore draws more attention than most. The first woman to win the Grand National in 2021, she preceded that by picking up top rider honours at that year’s Cheltenham Festival and then went on to claim Gold Cup glory aboard A Plus Tard in 2022. Unlikely to be quite finished lighting up the biggest racing stages, here we look at five of Blackmore’s big chances at Cheltenham 2024.

Quilixios – My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase, Tuesday 12 March

Blackmore will hope to get the meeting off to a flyer and looks to have a live chance in race two on the opening day as she partners this Henry De Bromhead-trained seven-year-old. The pair are no strangers to Cheltenham success, with Blackmore and Quilixios teaming up to spectacular effect when landing the 2021 edition of the Triumph Hurdle. This is a different test, but that course form can be worth its weight in gold around here.

Slade Steel – Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle, Wednesday 13 March

Wednesday looks to be the strongest of the four days for Blackmore. First up is this talented son of flat star, Telescope. Winning four of six career starts, Slade Steel proved no match for Ballyburn (hot favourite here) at last time but was clear of the rest, and remains one of the most likely to give the Willie Mullins-trained market leader something to think about. Slade Steel also holds an entry in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Day 1 and would boast solid claims there.

Monty’s Star – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, Wednesday 13 March

Nothing went right for Monty’s Star at the 2023 meeting, with the horse ultimately pulled up in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. However, something seemed to be amiss that day, and he has since proved himself much better than that – notably when scorching home at Punchestown last time out. With Rachael aboard, he may atone for last year’s subpar display.

Minella Indo – Glenfarclas Chase, Wednesday 13 March

When looking for a willing partner at the Cheltenham Festival, they don’t come much better than a former Gold Cup winner. 2021 champ Minella Indo may not be quite the force of old but has his sights lowered significantly this year as he tackles the distinctive Cross County Course. He’s the classiest runner in the line-up and, in the views of many a shrewd judge, the horse they all have to beat.

Envoi Allen – Ryanair Chase, Thursday 14 March

Some horses never show their best at Cheltenham, whilst others come alive when faced with that famous hill. Envoi Allen falls into the latter category. A three-time Festival winner – including in this race last year – he represents one of Blackmore’s best chances in the Grade 1 events.