Irish Cheltenham Festival record 825 entries makes it harder for English trainers to compete

Defying the odds: biggests shocks from Cheltenham Festival
Defying the odds: biggests shocks from Cheltenham Festival

By Andrew Atkinson Leader racing correspondent

A record number of 825 Irish-trained entries have been declared to run at the Cheltenham Festival – 45% of all entrants – during March 12-15.

The 2019 Irish entries are 110 more than the previous record, set in 2017.

Following the news of the plethora of Irish trained entries English trainer Charlie Longsdon said: “Irish trainer Gordon Elliott’s got 200 plus horses – and Willie’s (Mullins) got a lot.

“They are fantastic trainers – it does make it harder to compete – there’s no doubt.”

And fellow English trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said: “It’s harder -because they do very well. It’s good competition, good for the sport, good for everybody.”

Penhill, trained by Willie Mullins, has pulled out of racing at the Festival, missing from the Stayers race, with Paisley Park tightened to 2-1 favourite, ahead of Samcro in the betting.