American Rich Ricci is one of the leading owners in the world in National Hunt racing. With the likes of Annie Power, Douvan, and Vautour, he has had a lot of success at the Cheltenham Festival, the biggest international meeting in the sport.
Ricci will be hoping for more glory at the Festival in 2023, and he will be expected to be in the winners’ enclosure again. Here is a look at some of the horses which will run in his silks at the Gloucestershire racecourse.
Former French-based horse Gaelic Warrior made his debut for Ricci at the Cheltenham Festival in 2022. He had to settle for second place in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle. The American will be hoping he can go one place better this year in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle where he is the +350 third favorite in the Cheltenham odds for the race.
GAELIC WARRIOR wins the Festina Lente Charity Liffey Handicap Hurdle 💓 pic.twitter.com/meEcvdmPJS
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) February 5, 2023
Trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland, the five-year-old is likely to be one of the leading Cheltenham tips this year, as he was very impressive on his last appearance on the track when he prevailed at the Dublin Racing Festival. He has an exciting future and success at the Festival will ensure he is considered one of the best novices in the sport.
The Champion Hurdle is the premier hurdles contest in jumps racing, and Ricci is fortunate to have won it on two occasions. Faugheen gave him his first triumph in 2015, while 12 months later, his mare, Annie Power, came out on top, beating the opposite sex in the race.
Ricci will be hoping Vauban can bring up his hat trick in the Champion Hurdle this year. Last season’s Triumph Hurdle winner is a three-time Grade One winner. He finished third in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on his most recent outing, so he will need to reverse the form with State Man.
Vauban has the unenviable task of taking on Constitution Hill in the Championship race on day one of the meeting. The unbeaten runner from Nicky Henderson’s yard has been unstoppable so far in his career, and many pundits expect him to win his Champion Hurdle with ease this year.
Ricci will be confident that Lossiemouth can replicate what Vauban achieved in the Triumph Hurdle this year. The four-year-old has shown she is one of the leading juveniles in the sport.
With three wins from four starts in her career, the Willie Mullins-trainer filly has already achieved so much. Her debut success came at Auteuil in France. She then got off the mark in Ireland in a Grade Three contest at Fairyhouse.
— Independent Sport (@IndoSport) December 27, 2022
Lossiemouth stepped up in class over the festive period, winning a Grade Two race by seven lengths. Her only defeat came in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle where she had to settle for second place behind stablemate Gala Marceau. She has a great chance of landing her maiden Grade One victory at the festival.
Ricci will be one of the owners in contention for the Leading Owner Award at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. If the above three horses can all win their respective races, it put him in contention for the trophy.