Who Disappointed The Most At Cheltenham?

The Cheltenham Festival is over for another year, and there were no shortage of memories that will last a lifetime. Galopin Des Champs dominated the Gold Cup field for the second year running to join the modern day greats, while exciting superstars such as Fact To File and Ballyburn have already been shortened in the betting for next year’s Festival following their dominant wins in the Cotswolds this year.

But, for every sensational performance on track, there was an equally disappointing run. But, who were some of the horses that flattered to deceive at the Festival this year?

Jeriko Du Reponet

The 2024 Festival will be one that Nicky Henderson will be looking to forget about quickly. Constitution Hill’s absence was felt by the yard, while stars such as Jonbon, State Man, and Shishkin all avoided their clashes with the Irish.

One of the early signs that there were issues within the stable came in the opening race, as Jerik De Reponet was pulled up before the last hurdle in the Supreme. Despite being touted as one of the most exciting novices’ this season, the performance at Cheltenham was one of the flattest that we have seen.

Stay Away Fay

The British-trained runners really struggled in the graded races at Cheltenham this year, and there was limited market confidence in Stay Away Fay for Paul Nicholls before the Brown Advisory.

It’s unlikely that he would have had the gears to get anywhere near the impressive Fact To File, but the manner of his defeat at his beloved Cheltenham would have sent alarm bells ringing. It was reported after that the seven-year-old had scoped dirty, but it’s likely connections may be reassessing their dreams of a Gold Cup run in 2025.

El Fabiolo

The Champion Chase is typically a race where odds-on shots somehow manage to get beat, but nobody could have foreseen the performance of El Fabiolo. It was the only blip on the Willie Mullins runner throughout the week as the previously unbeaten chaser failed to jump the first two fences with any kind of conviction, before almost falling at the fifth.

Paul Townend quickly made the decision to pull him up, meaning that the race as thrown ride open. Captain Guinness, who El Fabiolo beat convincingly at the Dublin Racing Festival, eventually won by just over a length from Gentleman De Mee. Further disappointment in the race came before the off, as Henderson dropped the announcement that Jonbon wouldn’t be taking his chance in the Champion Chase. But, he could have played a major role in the absence of El Fabiolo.

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The Ryanair Chase is typically a race in which it is worth taking a price, and that was very much the case once again this year after 4/1 shot Banbridge struggled to finish last of the nine finishers.

The Joseph O’Brien runner likely had excuses, as he took his chance in the Grade One on unfavourable ground at Cheltenham, but still being beaten by over 74 lengths would have been a huge disappointment for connections. However, we will likely see the real Banbridge if he lines up at the Grand National Festival in April.


The Mares’ Hurdle was listed as a head-to-head clash between Jade De Grugy from the Mullins yard and Brighterdaysahead from the Gordon Elliott stable. However, both were well beaten in the race at Cheltenham, with the latter losing at odds-on after being beaten by nearly two lengths from Golden Ace.

She found very little off the bridle for Jack Kennedy, enabling the British-trained runner to run easily clear of the field. Despite being the well-backed Irish banker on St. Patrick’s Day, she ran incredibly flat.

Gidleigh Park

There was no shortage of underperformers in the Albert Bartlett, with British runners Captain Teague and Johnnywho both finishing way back in the pack. However, most would have expected a much better effort from Gidleigh Park for trainer Harry Fry.

The six-year-old boasted winning experience around Cheltenham after winning on Trial’s Day, but he was always in the wrong position in the race, and quickly lost ground on the front-runners when coming over the last for jockey Jonathan Burke.


There were some excellent performances in the Gold Cup, with L’Homme Presse, Gerri Colombe, and Corach Rambler all running big races behind the irrepressible Galopin Des Champs. However, one runner that was slightly disappointing at Cheltenham was Fastorslow.

A lot was made of his chances following two wins over Galopin Des Champs, but he unseated his rider when looking to be making a menacing bid. It remains to be seen what connections will plot with this runner next year, but there’s a clear argument that he would have got outstayed at Cheltenham, meaning a drop back in trip for the Ryanair could be a sound option.