Cheltenham Stable Tours 2024: Jonjo O’Neill Jr. discusses his Festival rides

 | March 08 | 

6 mins read

Cheltenham Festival 2024 Stable Tours

Ahead of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival, we caught up with Betfred ambassador Jonjo O'Neill Jr. at the picturesque Jackdaws Castle to talk through his potential rides for the big event.

Anyharminasking (County Hurdle - 40/1 NRNB)

There's a good chance he will go for the County. He ran well at Kelso, just probably didn't find as much as I'd have liked under pressure, but he's a horse that's been running well all year without winning. He's a little bit frustrating, but he's got plenty of ability and everything just needs to fall right for him, but sometimes in a race like the County that can happen.

Beachcomber (Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle - 25/1 NRNB)

Little brother AJ gave him a good ride at Huntingdon. I thought that was quite a good performance, putting away some decent horses and one of them won the next Pertemps Qualifier at Chepstow and he was well-back in the field, so I think the form will probably stack up. He has got plenty of ability but is a bit of a rogue. He's one that again wants better ground and he's low in the weights, but if he sneaked in it wouldn't surprise me if he run a big race.

Bill Joyce (Champion Bumper - 25/1 NRNB)

The Warwick race was decent and Harry and Dan Skelton had one that was third I think, and he was third in a Newbury novice hurdle afterwards so that was probably a decent run. His run the last time at Exeter was good, he beat Envoi Allen's brother of Paul Nicholls' and won very well. Obviously AJ rode him so he took the penalty off, but I don't think it would have mattered what weight he had that day, he'd have won nicely. I think of the English horses, he's probably put in one of the better performances of the season.

Champ (Stayers' Hurdle - 25/1 NRNB)

Champ's been a great horse for me. He was a little bit underwhelming, things didn't go right for him, at Ascot. I was a lot happier with him at Cheltenham and he might just be coming into himself. He definitely felt like a better horse at the Trials meeting. There's a few horses there that compared to last year are more unexposed, so I think it'll be harder to win this year for the older boys, but they keep running their races so you never know.

Crebilly (Plate Handicap Chase - 7/2 NRNB)

I suppose he's got a nice profile going into the race. He was going well the first day at Cheltenham when he tipped up at the second-last. I think everyone's probably looking at the form with Ginny's Destiny who was upsides him at that time but for me it was too early in the race to say as neither me or Harry Cobden had gone for our horse so we've no idea what we'd have both found, but he was going well at the time.

He just lost his confidence a bit the next time at Cheltenham and we felt that maybe everything just happened a bit quick for him, but the last run at Exeter was ideal. It was just a nice experience to get his jumping right and he put away Tahmuras and Trelawne who are decent horses, and Tahmuras franked the form finishing second in the Pendil at Kempton last week so the form is good. The only thing is he's lacking a little bit of experience still, but he's actually a very, very good jumper and I'm hoping he's just about coming right.

Iroko (Turners Novices' Chase - 5/1 NRNB)

He gave me a nice feel at Warwick. He felt like a horse that needed every yard of three miles last year over hurdles, but over fences he's such a good jumper that he's definitely a speedier horse. Everyone's done a massive job getting him back and I schooled him a couple of weeks ago at Haydock after racing and he felt really good. There wouldn't be a worry for me experience wise, as he's a very, very good jumper and he was running in the Martin Pipe and Graded novices last year, but obviously it's hard to come to Cheltenham off just one run but if they're [Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero] happy to go he's definitely one to look forward to.

Johnnywho (Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - 16/1 NRNB)

He won very nicely at Carlisle to start with and that was decent form actually even though he won very nicely. Then he was fourth in the Challow, that was obviously a good run. He looked like he was wanting a further trip, but when them novice hurdlers have a lot of races over three miles you can bottom them and I think they should come in the spring, so I'm glad we're waiting until now to try three miles. I think it's quite a strong Albert Bartlett this year but it's very open and he's got a bit of class about him so hopefully that'll help him.

Judicial Law (Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle - 33/1 NRNB)

He needs decent ground and if it was very soft he might not go. He had a busy summer campaign and it was a good performance when he was second at the October meeting in what I thought was a strong Pertemps Qualifier for the time of year. He handles the track fine and stays all day, but he just does want nice ground.

Milan Tino (Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle - 7/1 NRNB)

He's a big, rangey horse that's going to be a lovely chaser in time, so I think what he's doing at this stage of his career is quite impressive. He closed the gap on Burdett Road the last time and he's been getting some experience at Cheltenham. They've dropped him 10 (pounds) which you don't really see too often, but I think it was probably fair as his French rating was probably too high in England against the English juveniles. It's a bit of a minefield the Fred Winter, but he'd have to have a chance with the experience he's had.

Monbeg Genius (Ultima Handicap Chase - 16/1 NRNB)

We thought he might run a massive race last year and he did. We were disappointed at the time that he was third, but he got beat by Corach Rambler who won the Grand National and Fastorslow who won the Punchestown Gold Cup so the form was pretty strong. He was a good third in the Hennessy this year at Newbury but he was a bit disappointing at Kelso the other day, but the ground wasn't as soft as we'd have hoped and he just never really got into much of a rythym. The National has been the plan all year but we wanted a better prep than Kelso so we're hoping we can get a bit more experience and a run into him again.

Springwell Bay (Coral Cup - 16/1 NRNB/Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle - 10/1 NRNB)

He's probably got a good profile. I wouldn't mind if he had a few less pounds to be honest, as he's going to be at the higher end of the handicap, but he's got good form. We haven't decided on the Coral Cup or the Pertemps yet, we'll have to see what the ground does closer to the time. He was unlucky just to be touched off at Musselburgh. He got the trip very well that day, he's handled the track [Cheltenham] when he won there in November over 2m5 so he's pretty versatile and it wouldn't bother me which way he went.

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