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Armagh born jockey Brian Hughes aiming for more Cheltenham Festival glory

Even though he’s a champion jockey, there’s no doubt that Armagh born rider Brian Hughes still gets a huge buzz ahead of the big race meetings.

And they don’t get much bigger than the Cheltenham Festival, which brings together the best horses from the UK and Ireland to battle it out over four days of action at the Prestbury Park track.

Hughes, as part of his relationship with owners like Phillip Hobbs and Donald McCain, will be off to Cheltenham in March to see if he can add to his haul of three Festival wins.

The Biggest Hurdle

Of all Hughes’ early entries at the spectacular event, it’s perhaps Geromino – no, that’s not a typo – that offers the Irishman his best shot of victory.

Supporters of the Armagh native can place their Cheltenham bets today, with the McCain horse is available at ante post odds of 33/1 in the County Hurdle – behind favourites like Iberico Lord (8/1), Absurde (10/1) and King of Kingsfield (10/1).

Cheltenham horse racing results can also be followed with ease online – make sure to keep an eye out for some of Hughes’ other runners over the course of the week.

Those include Titanium Moon, a six-year-old mare that won four of her five outings in 2023. Last time out she was a game third in the Scottish Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, so here’s a horse with a chance of upsetting the odds in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival.

Casual followers of racing may have seen or heard the ‘Minella’ prefix before – Minella Indo won the 2021 Gold Cup for Henry de Bromhead. Hughes will have a chance to pilot a horse from that connection at Cheltenham too; Minella Drama is his expected partner in the Ryanair Chase.

He’s had a mixed bag of a season, but second place in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October is a reminder of Minella Drama’s talents.

Cause Celebre

One of Hughes’ other Cheltenham entries has also been declared at the early stage for the Grand National in April – offering the potential for a double-celebration via a horse with an apt name.

Celebre D’Allen is something of a senior citizen of racing at the age of 12, but Allan Stennett’s horse is showing no signs of slowing down – he won a veteran’s race at Aintree back in October.

A lover of softer ground, Stennett and his connections will be doing a veritable rain-dance in the weeks ahead to ensure optimal conditions for their horse.

A two-time chase winner at the Cheltenham Festival, Hughes will have a chance to make it a hat-trick in the Grand Annual Challenge Cup aboard Malystic.

Trained by Peter Niven, the ten-year-old has won eight times during the course of his career, with a handicap chase victory at Doncaster in January 2023 perhaps the pick of the bunch.

Malystic is also a Festival veteran, having ran in the Grand Annual last year, which could prove to be very useful experience in the rarefied air of this extraordinary meeting – with 250,000 spectators expected at Prestbury Park during the four-day extravaganza, this is an atmosphere unlike any other in racing.

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