Horses Looking to Redeem Reputations at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival

Horse racing and boxing share one peculiar quality; namely, at the elite level, it’s always incredibly tough to get back on top of the mountain after a defeat. Competitors can go for long periods, years even, without tasting defeat, but once that first loss arrives, things can begin to unravel. It’s not always the case, of course, with even the greatest competitors experiencing blips on their records. However, time and time again, that first defeat leads to a breaking of the spell. Something changes, and it is never the same again. 

And yet, across all sports, there is nothing sweeter than seeing a fallen hero get back on their feet and weave that magic one more time. From Muhammad Ali to Tiger Woods, from Red Rum to Carl Lewis, sport’s most memorable moments are littered with instances of the greats turning it on one last time. 

As it happens, this year’s Cheltenham Festival (10th-13th March) has plenty of races where a similar narrative can be built. At one stage in their careers, these horses looked unbeatable. But they have a different challenge now; getting back to the top. Can they take a shot at redemption? 

Altior – Queen Mother Champion Chase

Altior broke the record for consecutive national hunt racing wins after claiming his 19th win in a row at Sandown in April 2019. However, he also tasted defeat for the first time in four years last November. The question, then, is if it was just a bad day or a sign of a chink in the once-impenetrable armour of Altior? He’s now 7/2 for the elite Champion Chase race according to the latest 2020 Cheltenham Festival betting by 888 sports, which is, by a considerable distance, the highest price given to the horse in a couple of years. Punters will be obsessed with news coming out of his camp, looking to find out if he is firing on all cylinders. If so, those odds will seem massive. 

Faugheen – Marsh Novices’ Chase

A complete legend of a horse in his native Ireland, but one who has had as many reinventions as Madonna in the last couple of years. The brief take is this: Faugheen was the world’s best hurdler in the middle of the decade, but he is now being aimed at chasing events at the grand old age of 12. That’s quite late for a change in discipline, but Faugheen, in his later years, is something of an enigma; capable of blowing the competition to pieces in one race, then disappointing in the next. His latest tilt looks likely to be the Marsh Novices’ Chase, for which he has been given odds of 7/1. You’ll hear the cheers all the way back in Ireland if the horse known as “The Machine” can delight the crowds one more time before ending his career. 

Apple’s Jade – Mares’ Hurdle

Sometimes, for a myriad of reasons, a horse has all the talent in the world but just can’t get it right when it comes to the headline events. Apple’s Jade has 15 wins (five 2nds and four 3rds) from 26 races, and yet there is a feeling that the mare has underachieved. As an 8yo, there is still plenty of time to change that narrative, however, and many believe Apple’s Jade has the goods to deliver on the big stage at Cheltenham 2020. That will possibly be the Mares’ Hurdle, where Apple’s Jade is priced at 6/1, or the Stayers’ Hurdle, where the mare has a higher price of 12/1. Either would suffice for trainer Gordon Elliott, who knows that a win would reignite the career of one the most talented horses in the business. 

Apple’s Jade – Mares’ Hurdle

Sometimes, for a myriad of reasons, a horse has all the talent in the world but just can’t get it right when it comes to the headline events. Apple’s Jade has 15 wins (five 2nds and four 3rds) from 26 races, and yet there is a feeling that the mare has underachieved. As an 8yo, there is still plenty of time to change that narrative, however, and many believe Apple’s Jade has the goods to deliver on the big stage at Cheltenham 2020. That will possibly be the Mares’ Hurdle, where Apple’s Jade is priced at 6/1, or the Stayers’ Hurdle, where the mare has a higher price of 12/1. Either would suffice for trainer Gordon Elliott, who knows that a win would reignite the career of one the most talented horses in the business. 

Apple’s Jade – Mares’ Hurdle

Sometimes, for a myriad of reasons, a horse has all the talent in the world but just can’t get it right when it comes to the headline events. Apple’s Jade has 15 wins (five 2nds and four 3rds) from 26 races, and yet there is a feeling that the mare has underachieved. As an 8yo, there is still plenty of time to change that narrative, however, and many believe Apple’s Jade has the goods to deliver on the big stage at Cheltenham 2020. That will possibly be the Mares’ Hurdle, where Apple’s Jade is priced at 6/1, or the Stayers’ Hurdle, where the mare has a higher price of 12/1. Either would suffice for trainer Gordon Elliott, who knows that a win would reignite the career of one the most talented horses in the business.

Apple’s Jade – Mares’ Hurdle

Sometimes, for a myriad of reasons, a horse has all the talent in the world but just can’t get it right when it comes to the headline events. Apple’s Jade has 15 wins (five 2nds and four 3rds) from 26 races, and yet there is a feeling that the mare has underachieved. As an 8yo, there is still plenty of time to change that narrative, however, and many believe Apple’s Jade has the goods to deliver on the big stage at Cheltenham 2020. That will possibly be the Mares’ Hurdle, where Apple’s Jade is priced at 6/1, or the Stayers’ Hurdle, where the mare has a higher price of 12/1. Either would suffice for trainer Gordon Elliott, who knows that a win would reignite the career of one the most talented horses in the business.