Meet El Fabiolo, the Cheltenham Festival Champion Chase favourite: ‘He’s just so good’

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  • The Willie Mullins-trained El Fabiolo lines up as one of the shortest-priced favourites at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival (12-15 March).

    The seven-year-old son of Spanish Moon is unbeaten over fences and his only defeat since arriving from France in 2021 came to the all-conquering Jonbon, where he missed out by just a neck, in the Grade One Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. El Fabiolo and regular jockey Paul Townend won the Arkle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.

    He lines up for Wednesday’s feature race at the Cheltenham Festival, the Betway Champion Chase, where he meets old adversary Jonbon, Edwardstone, and a host of other star two-mile chasers.

    “He was very good when winning the Dublin Racing Festival Champion Chase [in February],” says trainer Willie Mullins. “I thought the best bit of work that [stable-mate] Dinoblue ever did was the week before the Dublin Racing Festival and I felt if El Fabiolo missed a beat somewhere, that mare would be on top of him. But El Fabiolo didn’t miss a beat, he was just so good.

    “A lot of people would have thought he’d be that good anyway, but I didn’t when I saw Dinoblue work. I thought he was going to have to be in some order to beat her. To beat her the way he did [by eight and a half lengths], that tells you how good he is, but I just hope he hasn’t peaked too soon for the season.

    “El Fabiolo’s prep runs this year have been very good,” continued Willie. “If he can reproduce them and have a clear round in the Champion Chase, he’ll be the one at the top of the market.”

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