Cheltenham Festival Handicap Weights: Irish raiders catch the eye in handicaps

The weights for the handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival have been released.
The weights for the handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival have been released.

We are only two weeks away from the start of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, and the weights have been released for all the handicaps across the four days and there have been some eye-catching marks handed to some leading contenders...

There are nine handicap races across the four days during the festival, and the first race under the handicap microscope will be the Ultima Handicap Chase, and this is often regarded as one of the toughest races of the entire meeting from a punting perspective and the ante-post favourite Does He Know has been allotted 11st, which trainer Kim Bailey will fancy his chances off. Top-weighted in that event will be the former Ryanair Chase hero Frodon, who will carry 11st 12lbs, while the Gordon Elliott-trained Frontal Assault is another prominent figure in the betting and will carry 10st 7lbs.

The second handicap contest on day one is the Fred Winter, where some of the leading four-year-old handicappers line up and the red-hot favourite Gaelic Warrior, who is yet to be seen on a British racecourse for Willie Mullins and is as short as 5/2 with some bookmakers has been handed a weight of 10st 11lbs. Fil Dor and Knight Salute, who are both set to run in the Triumph Hurdle, sit at the head of the weights.

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Another fiercely competitive handicap is the Coral Cup, which takes place on the Wednesday and The Bosses Oscar has been given top weight of 11st 12lb for that event. Over two miles, the Grand Annual is always run at a rapid pace, and for those that lack the class of the Arkle they head to this contest, where a maximum of 20 horses can line up. Last year's winner Sky Pirate has been allotted top weight, with Gordon Elliott's Buddy Rich (11st) and Henry De Bromhead's Coeur Sublime (11st 7lbs) catching the eye.

Moving on to day three and the Pertemps Final will be the first on offer for punters and former dual winner Sire Du Berlais is one that has to be respected, and is another Irish-trained raider that could go very close. Ending day three there are two huge handicap chases taking place and the Kim Muir is often a springboard to the Grand National and the aforementioned Frontal Assault, who also sits at the head of the betting for this contest, has been given top weight of 11st 12lbs alongside Cavalry Master and Grand Paradis. The Plate Handicap Chase is another tough handicap conundrum for punters to work out and the likes of Celebre D'Allen and Imperial Alcazar are two worth watching.

 

While the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the feature on Friday 18th March, there's three hot handicap with the two-mile County Hurdle the second race on the card attracting a star field of speedsters. Dan Skelton's West Cork was victorious in the Greatwood at Cheltenham earlier in the season, and that contender has been allotted 11st 1lbs, and is an 8/1 chance, at the time of writing.

We end the 2022 Cheltenham Festival with the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, and last year's winner produced a fine winner in the shape of Galopin Des Champs, and we will wait to see if a star will be born in this year's event, so make sure you check out all the latest odds for what is set to be a thrilling finale.

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