Assessing JP McManus’ leading charges at the Cheltenham Festival

8th March 2024

As the excitement mounts for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival, one name stands out as the frontrunner for the title of Leading Owner — JP McManus. 

With a track record of success, boasting over 70 winners at Prestbury Park’s highlight meeting, and a formidable string of contenders, the Irish billionaire is poised to once again dominate the prestigious event. 

Read on as we explore McManus’s leading prospects at this year’s Cheltenham Festival — assessing their chances in some of the meeting’s most high-profile races. 

Jeriko Du Reponet – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Starting with an outsider before moving on to the short-priced runners, Jeriko Du Reponet is 8/1 in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2024 odds

Many big names in the racing world tipped the Nicky Henderson-trained horse to win the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival before even making his rules debut. 

Three wins in a row, including a victory at Grade 2 level, resulted in Jeriko Du Reponet being slashed to favouritism. However, he has drifted back out to 8/1 and could be good value. 

Fact To File – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

One of two odds-on chances for McManus at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, Fact To File is 4/5 to win the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. 

Second in last year’s Champion Bumper, Fact To File was runner-up on his debut over fences at Navan in November. 

The seven-year-old has since racked up back-to-back wins at Leopardstown, including a Grade 1 success in February, but not everybody seems convinced by his chances. 

Dinoblue –  Mares’ Chase

The best option to use your Cheltenham welcome offers wisely could be Dinoblue, who is 4/5 to win the Mares’ Chase on the final day of the meeting. 

The seven-year-old has switched handicaps for graded contests this season and has come on nicely, starting the campaign with Grade 3 and Grade 1 wins at Naas and Leopardstown. 

She was second to stablemate El Fabiolo in the top-level Dublin Chase when last seen, but there is no shame in that defeat and she should be the best horse in the Mares’ Chase. 

Corbetts Cross – National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase

Crobetts Cross looked in contention to win the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle last year, as he was challenging late on but smashed into the railings at the last obstacle and unseated Mark Walsh. 

The seven-year-old has switched to chasing this season but boasts one win in four outings over fences. 

Nonetheless, he’s set to give the National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase a go — where Corbetts Cross is the second favourite at 9/4 behind Embassy Gardens. 

Sa Majeste – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Sa Majeste is another favourite for McManus, leading the market for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at 4/1.

The six-year-old, who also holds a Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle entry at the time of writing, joined Willie Mullins last year and was a disappointing sixth of nine runners on debut. 

However, he got off the mark second time out at Limerick in December when beating former Grand National winner Noble Yeats by over four lengths. 

Mentions must also go to Crebilly, the 6/1 favourite for the Ultima Handicap Chase, the 3/1 second favourite in the Queen Mother Champion Chase Jonbon, Iroko, 11/2 for the Turner Novices’ Chase, and Majborough, who is 6/1 for the Triumph Hurdle.