The pink and green polka dot silks of Rich Ricci have become somewhat iconic at the Cheltenham Festival over the course of the last few years. Punters have fallen in love with the likes of Faugheen, Annie Power, Vroum Vroum Mag and Douvan due to their performances at the Prestbury Park meeting, and the colours are now donned by thousands in the concourses of the Cotswolds venue.
Of course, given the calibre of the horses under his ownership, and the hard work put in by top trainer Willie Mullins at the stables, it’s no surprise that the pink and green polka dot colours are no stranger to the Prestbury Park winners enclosure.
In 2016, the American owner pocketed almost £400,000 in winnings on the opening day of the Festival, whilst the bookmakers recorded almost £10million in loses after three of his horses romped over the line in first place.
That’s why punters are often on the lookout for Ricci’s horses when the Cheltenham racecards are revealed, and to save you scouring the internet or the newspapers, we have put together this guide to his best chances of victory at this year’s Festival. Read on to find out more!
Monkfish – Festival Novices’ Chase
There’s hope amongst the Ricci camp that Monkfish can go on to become a Gold Cup-winning horse, and the upcoming Festival Novices’ Chase, where Monkfish is considered as the favourite if you’re interested in betting on Cheltenham, will be a true test of the seven-year-old’s mettle. Several winners of the day-two Grade 1 race have gone on to win the Festival showpiece, and should Monkfish prevail on his favourite status in the Festival Novices’ Chase, then next year (or in the years to come) he could be the key to landing Ricci his first Gold Cup triumph.
Chacun Pour Soi – Queen Mother Champion Chase
Chacun Pour Soi was tipped to have a dream Cheltenham Festival debut last year, as he was amongst the market leaders for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. However, an injury subsequently ruled him out of the meeting. But he has bounced back since then, winning rather comfortably in Cork and landing the Grade 1 Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase at Leopardstown in the back end of last year, and he has once again been named the market leader for this year’s Queen Mother.
Min – Ryanair Chase
There was a sigh of relief around Prestbury Park last year as Min finally landed his maiden Cheltenham Festival victory in the Ryanair Chase, albeit by a neck. Not often is a Ricci horse left in the shadows, but year-after-year Altior proved too good for Min. Last year, however, the 10-year-old was released from those shackles, and he showed his class by winning the Ryanair Chase. After another Grade 1 victory in Punchestown, the horse racing tips have Min to defend his title this year.
Benie Des Dieux – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase
Benie Des Dieux is another horse who hasn’t had the best of luck in the Cotswolds. The 10-year-old won the Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle in 2018 but fell at the last hurdle when well in the lead on the defence of her crown in 2019 and was beaten by Honeysuckle in an attempt to regain the Mares’ Hurdle last year. This year, Benie Des Dieux is expected to sway clear of the unbeaten Honeysuckle in the Mares’ Hurdle and instead go for the Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase, where she is the 5/1 favourite.