THE Cheltenham Festival gets underway tomorrow with punters bracing themselves for four days of excitement and drama at Prestbury Park.
Buveur D’air is chasing a third consecutive Champion Hurdle for the Nicky Henderson/JP McManus team in the feature race on day one.
The opposition looks very strong with the Irish mares Apples Jade and Laurina attracting plenty of market support.
Local interest will centre around the Terrence O’Brien trained Articulum who runs in the Arkle Novice Chase tomorrow.
The Carrigtwohill handler is very successful on the Cork/Waterford point to point circuit while also running horses inside the rails.
Articulum is an interesting contender who comes into this race under the radar and is priced at 16/1.
“We travelled over on Saturday night and everything has gone well. I couldn’t be happier with our preparation and the more rain that falls the better.
“It’s a Grade 1 contest so we are under no illusions about the task facing us.
“On his best form Articulum has an each/way chance,” O’Brien said.
Un De Sceaux will once again carry the hopes of racing fans on Leeside and holds entries in the Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase.
The French-bred has earned over €1.3million in prize money and won 18 races in an astonishing career.
Co-owner Colm O’Connell issued an upbeat bulletin about his prospects yesterday.
“Our preparation has been flawless and all the gang above in Willie Mullins are very happy with him,” O’Connell said.
“Even though Un De Sceaux is an 11-year-old he is going to the festival in superb order.
“The Ryanair looks a particularly good race this season with so many horses avoiding Altior in the Champion Chase.
“We’ve only run once this season and hopefully, that freshness will stand to us this week. “