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The excitement is building ahead of the Cheltenham Festival in March
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Cheltenham Festival: Top Trainer at The Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is now just around the corner and the countdown to the Cotswolds showpiece is well and truly intensifying.

We are taking a look at some of the contenders to be crowned Top Trainer at the Cheltenham Festival. 

Every race at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival can be watched live via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming service while you can read more about the horses, jockeys and trainers to follow in our guide.

Willie Mullins 

Top Trainer Odds: 1/8

The most successful trainer of all-time at this meeting, Willie Mullins now has an incredible 88 Cheltenham Festivals wins under his belt. 

Last March he broke more new ground in saddling 10 winners, the first time any trainer has gone into double figures at the meeting in a single year. 

It was the fourth year in a row he has been leading trainer at the meeting and the ninth time overall. 

It's also the second time in his career he has put together a sequence of four years on the trot, so a record five-in-a-row is now his target. 

As always, he has incredible ammunition across the four days. El Fabiolo is 11/8 for the Arkle next Tuesday while Gaillard Du Mesnil is 5/4 for the National Hunt Chase on day one. 

Later in the week, Lossiemouth at 7/4 and Blood Destiny at 15/8 give him a strong grip on the Triumph Hurdle, while there is the small matter of 13/8 Galopin Des Champs in the Gold Cup as well. 

It will take something quite freakish to stop Mullins being the top trainer in the Cotswolds once again.

Gordon Elliott

Top Trainer Odds: 8/1

The only man that has been able to dent the Mullins machine in recent times is Gordon Elliott, his Irish rival grabbing the top trainer award in 2017 and 2018 and thus preventing what would otherwise be a decade of domination for the Closutton chief. 

Elliott has been a constant thorn in the side of Mullins in recent seasons, repeatedly engaging him in battle for the champion trainer crown in Ireland. 

As yet, he hasn't quite been able to wrestle it away from him and, in a quirk, the challenge presented by the Cullentra House trainer has probably resulted in Mullins raising his bar still higher. 

Elliott has shown he can compete at this meeting and there are plenty of chances for him next week. 

Delta Work is 1/1 to retain the Cross Country race on Wednesday, while Mighty Potter has looked good over fences and is 6/4 to land the Turners Novices' Chase after his Dublin Racing Festival win. 

Sandown's Scilly Isles scorer Gerri Colombe meanwhile is 2/1 for the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase. With a strong team assured across the handicaps as well, Elliot could be the main danger to his old foe.

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Nicky Henderson 

Top Trainer Odds: 8/1  

Nicky Henderson in 2012 was the last time a British-based trainer was top dog at this meeting and, once more, the veteran Seven Barrows handler is the leading hope from the home team on the betting at least. 

Henderson, second only to Mullins in terms of all-time Festival winners, has a crack team this year being led by 1/3 Champion Hurdle favourite Constitution Hill – the most exciting jumps horse in training. 

Defeat for last year's Supreme Novices' scorer seems almost unthinkable to most onlookers. Earlier on Tuesday, unbeaten chaser Jonbon is 7/4 to win the Arkle. 

Henderson has won more Arkles and more Champion Hurdles than any trainer – so he will be hoping for a fast start to the meeting. 

Later in the week, Luccia is 7/4 for the Mares' Novices' Hurdle after impressing since going jumping this season, while resurgent Shishkin is now 4/5 to win the Ryanair Chase following his Ascot demolition job last time. 

If that quartet can all live up to expectations it could be a big week for Henderson.

Henry De Bromhead 

Top Trainer Odds: 20/1  

Winner of the last two Gold Cups and Champion Hurdles, Henry De Bromhead has some proper Cheltenham Festival pedigree on his CV. 

It hasn't been the season he might have hoped for this time, however, with the Waterford handler also dealing with personal tragedy off the track. 

A Plus Tard has run only once this season, pulled up at Haydock in November, but still trades as short as 8/1 for the defence of his Gold Cup crown on 17th March. 

Dual Champion Hurdler Honeysuckle meanwhile is going to bid instead for a second Mares' Hurdle crown this time around, a race she's 5/2 favourite to win. 

The Mares' Novices' Hurdle is the target for 14/1 Magical Zoe, who looked good at Down Royal early in the season and has seemingly been kept with this race in mind since.

Paul Nicholls 

Top Trainer Odds: 33/1  

Britain's champion trainer hasn't collected this award since 2009 but there's some quiet confidence about Paul Nicholls' hopes heading into Cheltenham this year. 

He's got Grade 1-winning novice hurdlers Tahmuras, 10/1 for the Supreme, and Hermes Allen, the 5/2 favourite for the Ballymore to spearhead his challenge early in the week. 

King George winner Bravemansgame meanwhile is 7/1 and closest to Galopin Des Champs in the Gold Cup betting. 

He was impressive at Kempton on Boxing Day and his trainer remains convinced he's still improving. 

Big things are expected from him as Nicholls and stable jockey Harry Cobden seek to spoil the Irish party in the Gold Cup on St Patrick's Day.

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