Seven former festival winners ready to roll at the biggest jumps meeting of all
One of the most endearing aspects of jump racing is that the equine stars return year after year, and it is no different at the Cheltenham Festival, where a host of familiar faces will be in action next week. Some have already enjoyed victory on the sport's biggest stage, in some cases more than once – here we pick out a handful of stars with the opportunity to add to their past festival triumphs.
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, Wednesday
The ultimate festival hero, Altior boasts an unbeaten record from four runs at Cheltenham in March, where he has landed two Champion Chases, an Arkle and a Supreme Novices' Hurdle since 2016.
After a rare reverse on his seasonal reappearance, he is now firmly on target to defend his Champion Chase crown on Wednesday week, where a fifth consecutive festival victory would be nothing short of astonishing and put Altior alongside 1930s Gold Cup legend Golden Miller.
Quevega holds the record with six consecutive festival wins from 2009.
Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, Wednesday
Another Cheltenham legend bidding for a fifth festival win this year is the inimitable Tiger Roll. His festival story started in 2014 when winning the Triumph Hurdle and he has since gone on to establish himself a national icon, with two Grand National wins among 12 career victories.
Although beaten in the 2015 Stayers' Hurdle, Tiger Roll has been successful at the last three festivals, with two wins in the Cross Country Chase and a victory in the National Hunt Chase.
He bids for a third Cross Country win this year, before rolling on to Aintree for another tilt at history in the National.
Defi Du Seuil
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, Wednesday
Perhaps Altior's biggest danger in the Champion Chase, Defi Du Seuil boasts an impressive unbeaten Cheltenham Festival record of his own.
The leading juvenile hurdler of 2017, he romped away with the same year's Triumph Hurdle and has since established himself as a top-notch chaser.
He was too strong for Lostintranslation in last year's JLT Novices' Chases and, after a stellar season, looks to be in the form of his life as he prepares for a third festival win next week.
Benie Des Dieux
Unibet Champion Hurdle (Tuesday), Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Tuesday) or Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Thursday)
Trained by Willie Mullins, Benie Des Dieux has in recent years experienced the loftiest highs and desperate lows which the festival conjures.
She left it late to land the Mares' Hurdle on her first visit in 2018 and returned for the same race last year. Powering clear of her rivals, a repeat win looked guaranteed until she came down when unchallenged at the last hurdle to leave favourite backers dumbfounded.
Her three runs since have all ended in victory and she is an odds-on favourite for the Mares' Hurdle once again, although the Stayers' Hurdle and Champion Hurdle have not been entirely ruled out yet.
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase, Friday
That was the now 13-year-old's fourth crack at the 2m handicap and his first festival triumph, and he is on course for the same race once again.
As well as last year's win, his record in the Grand Annual includes a third and fifth place finish in a race he first tackled in 2015.
Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, Friday
Another classy chaser with a fine record at Cheltenham in March, Presenting Percy will make his fourth consecutive appearance at the meeting in next Friday's Cheltenham Gold Cup.
His first appearance in 2017 came in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Final and ended with a cosy defeat of 23 rivals but his seven-length success in the 2018 RSA Novices' Chase remains his defining festival moment.
Favourite for last year's Gold Cup, he could finish only eighth to Al Boum Photo, but gets the chance to settle that score on his annual festival visit next week.
RSA Novices' Chase (Wednesday) or Marsh Novices' Chase (Thursday)
One of the most popular horses in training, Faugheen has been a staple at the Cheltenham Festival since winning on his first start at the meeting in the 2014 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.
His finest moment at the meeting came the following year, when Faugheen landed the Champion Hurdle with a dominant performance under Ruby Walsh.
In a career interrupted by injury, he missed the meeting in 2016 and 2017 before finishing sixth in the 2018 Champion Hurdle and third in last season's Stayers' Hurdle.
He has been a revelation during his current campaign over fences, winning three in a row and looks a leading player for the Marsh Novices' Chase when he returns for a fifth tilt at the festival next week.
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