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After Stellar 2023 Horse Racing Season, Trainer Reveals About Star Mare’s Cheltenham Future

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While the majority of American thoroughbreds aim for the Triple Crown annually, trainers of European horses look forward to the Cheltenham Festival. There are a lot of horses that come and go during the annual festival of pure horse racing. But winners at the world-famous Cheltenham Racecourse cement their place in horse racing history. Few horses, like Harry Derham’s Queens Gamble, want to begin their season at Cheltenham, even if there are many races leading up to the festival.

The 6-year-old mare had a successful 2023 campaign. She was trained by none other than National Hunt trainer Harry Derham, and she won all the races under his guidance. But Derham is looking forward to starting her season in the G2 Mares Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse, since she hasn’t raced since her remarkable victory at the Byerley Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

Aiming for horse racing at Cheltenham

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Taking part in the Cheltenham Festival at the world-famous Cheltenham Racecourse is a privilege for any horse from Europe. Competition is usually fierce with a wide variety of horses on the grid, since this is where most trainers want their horses to race. Also, going to Cheltenham without any preparation is a massive challenge, but trainer Harry Derham is optimistic about it. “Queens Gamble will run in the Mares’ Novices’ and that has been the plan all season,” the trainer stated in an interview with At The Races about the 6-year-old mare’s 2024 season opener.

In 2023, Queens Gamble has already shown the trainer how great she is. The mare went from being trained by Oliver Sherwood to Harry Derham in the midst of the 2023 season. But, since then, she has won two races in a row under the guidance of Derham. This is also why Derham is “very excited about her” and hopes she gets off to a strong start in the 2024 season. Naturally, Derham is anticipating a successful run at Cheltenham Racecourse, but the trainer also says, “I believe there is plenty more to come from her.” It’s easy to see why Derham has high hopes for the mare after her 2023 season-ending victory at Taunton Racecourse.

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A magnificent performance at Taunton

Taunton Racecourse was the site of the Byerley Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle the day before New Year’s Eve. Horses older than three years old were eligible for the race. There were six horses who were prepared for the race, and they faced nine hurdles on the 2m½f track. After capturing the attention of the crowd at Kempton, Queens Gamble delivered just as promised.

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Queens Gamble was a powerful runner from the start of the race and maintained her position behind the leaders. The horse, nevertheless, made great moves to come up to the front runners and, with just two hurdles to go, claimed the lead. The mare breezed by the competition in the final stretch, winning the race by 2¾ lengths over Casa No Mento. The victory was monumental for the horse and her trainer, who now considers her a potential contender at Cheltenham.

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