Paul Carberry: 'The Irish will definitely remain dominant at Cheltenham'

Paul Carberry: 'The Irish will definitely remain dominant at Cheltenham'

THE CHELTENHAM RACING FESTIVAL gets underway in less than two weeks, and it is fair to say for Irish punters and Irish racing fans will relish the return of the famous festival.  

Ireland have punched above their weight in every sport they have competed in since for decades, but in horseracing the Irish have always been the flag bearers in it.

This year will see the return of Cheltenham's Prestbury Cup. The Prestbury Cup is the annual trophy for the winning most country, between Britain and Ireland at The Festival.

Between 2014 and 2022, Ireland have won the Prestbury Cup six times, with Great Britain winning twice.

In this time there have been 250 Irish trained winning horses, 101 British trained winners and one French trained winner.

Ireland are noticeably short odds to keep their trophy this year.

14-time Cheltenham Festival winner and legendary Irish jockey Paul Carberry gave his take on the Irish dominance.

"It’s been unbelievable, really. The last ten years or so have been unbelievable," said Carberry to Cheltenham Betting and Boylesports.

"A lot of the horses were being sold to England years ago, now a lot of the big owners are over here, paying for them, and that’s the big thing.

"It’s a big help when you have the likes of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, the jockeys are fairly good as well so that certainly does help, especially when the good horses are staying in Ireland. Had they remained in England; it may be a different result.

"I think this year the Irish will definitely remain dominant at Cheltenham; they have a very strong hand again. For the next couple of years probably, it looks very strong for Ireland.

Carberry believes the lack of money in English racing is a big problem and that correcting the issue would maybe bring England closer to Ireland.

"I suppose the money over there is a big problem. Even when I was riding over in England years ago, the races were only worth £2000 sometimes. Over here, we would race three times a week on a Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and you would be getting more money for those three days than you would do for six days over in England.

The 2023 Cheltenham Festival will run from Tuesday, March 14 to Friday, March 17. The meeting is run over four days with seven races on each day, so 28 in total. The first race of each day will be due off at 1:30pm with the last run at 5:30pm.