Willie Mullins, Britain v Ireland Cheltenham
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Cheltenham Britain v Ireland: Irish hot favourites to win Prestbury Cup

| 06.03.2022

Prestbury Cup: Irish look unbeatable in Cheltenham Britain v Ireland battle

The Cheltenham Festival is known as the Olympics of horse racing where the very best equine talent descends on Prestbury Park in search of glory.

In particular, the Irish love to make the annual pilgrimage to the Gloucestershire spa town and the annual Cheltenham Britain v Ireland rivalry is one of the most intriguing aspects of the whole week with not just bragging rights up for grabs, but also the Prestbury Cup.

We have Cheltenham betting on which country will come out on top as we highlight some of the key stats in the battle for Cheltenham Festival supremacy.

Britain v Ireland betting

Ireland are the heavy favourites to win the Prestbury Cup for the third successive year, with an Ireland victory chalked up at 1/20 with Ladbrokes.

That would be Ireland’s sixth win in seven years, while it is 10/1 for Britain to stop the rot that dates all the way back to 2015.

Recent history

Ireland have dominated the Prestbury Cup in recent years and have ended the Cheltenham Festival with the most winners in six of the last 10 meetings.

That includes coming out on top in five of the last six Cheltenham Britain v Ireland battles, with the days of Britain winning 20 plus Cheltenham races thanks to the exploits of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson long gone.

Why Ireland are so dominant

The five-year Cheltenham festival trainer statistics will tell you all you need to know and with Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott leading the invasion of Prestbury Park it is easy see why Ireland are so short in the Britain v Ireland betting.

When you add last year’s leading trainer Henry de Bromhead into the mix, then it is approaching white flag territory for the Brits.

Henry de Bromhead

The only British handler to average more than two winners at the last five Cheltenham Festivals is Henderson and with Nicholls no longer the force of old at the biggest meeting of the year, the Seven Barrows handler is the last line of defence to stop the Irish.

The visitors simply have the best equine talent around at the moment, bought by the richest owners and trained by the best in the game. However, the hope is that the cycle will soon change if the Brits can sit and suffer a few more years of Festival pain, the theory being that it only takes a couple of shrewd acquisitions from the sales ring to swing the balance of power once again.

What happens in 2022?

Ireland recorded a whopping 23 victories in the Cheltenham Britain v Ireland contest 12 months ago and are expected to be dominant once again.

The Brits will know their fate early on as they hold leading chances in the first two races, while they traditionally take the first handicap of the week, the Ultima Handicap Chase. If they come unstuck in those races then it could be a long week for Britain.

If the home side do hold their own in the early part of the week, then the handicaps could prove key. Honours have been relatively even in the last five years, with the Irish holding a 29-20 lead across the handicaps that take place throughout the week. In fact, two of the UK’s five victories at the Festival last season came in the handicaps thanks to Vintage Clouds’ Ultima win and Sky Pirate winning the Grand Annual.

Vintage Clouds, Cheltenham Britain v Ireland

Ireland has a massive 22 favourites with Ladbrokes in the 28 Cheltenham Festival races and will be looking to continue their dominance in the non-handicap races with 16 favourites from 19 races not reliant on the handicapper’s assessment.

That includes the Irish having four out of five favourites in the feature Grade One races and the favourite for all but two novice races over both hurdles and fences.

Britain’s best chance looks to come in the handicaps with three of their six favourites being in that sphere, while three of the UK’s main fancies go to post in the first three races of the week.

You can get 9/4 for Ireland to match last year’s figure and train over 21 winners, while 18-20 Irish trained winners is favourite at 5/4.

For the balance to be readdressed somewhat and the raiders to win 17 or fewer you can get Cheltenham odds of 7/4.

The latest Cheltenham odds

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Author

Warren Barner