Romeo Coolio was a record-high £420,000 purchase at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival sales. His record acquisition occurred following just a single victory in a point-to-point event in Belclare, Ireland. Nevertheless, Romeo Coolio has caused something of a stir ahead of March’s 2024 Cheltenham Festival.
The lowdown at Tattersalls’ auction in 2023
The syndicate-owned thoroughbred is expected to make his National Hunt debut in a meeting at Fairyhouse this month. A positive showing here could see Romeo Coolio’s odds plummet for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. Already Romeo Coolio’s ante-post price has been slashed into second favouritism. He is currently 10/1 in the Paddy Power horse racing markets, behind only Jalon D’oudairies, who has the same trainer as Romeo Coolio in Gordon Elliott.
When KTDA Racing decided to pull the trigger and acquire Romeo Coolio at Tattersalls’ sales almost 12 months ago, eyebrows were heavily raised in horseracing circles. The bidding began at £300,000 and quickly escalated until there was only Aidan O’Ryan of the KTDA Racing team and Tom Malone in the running. O’Ryan, who was stood alongside trusted trainer, Gordon Elliott, eventually won the tug-of-war. When you delve a little deeper, it’s easy to see why his new connections were so desperate to seal the deal.
Romeo Coolio was entered into the very same point-to-point race as the one won by Minella Times and Best Mate. The former went on to win a Grand National and the latter is a three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. All of which augurs very well for the potential success of Romeo Coolio.
Romeo Coolio is likely to have a major rival in the Champion Bumper
Interestingly, Romeo Coolio’s sale price was equalled just seven lots later in the same auction, with Champion Bumper favourite, Jalon D’Oudairies, fetching the same price. Ryanair tycoon, Michael O’Leary, opted to purchase Jalon D’Oudairies to add to his bulging stable of talent at Gigginstown. With two of the most expensive acquisitions at Tattersalls auction expected to be pitched head-to-head in this year’s Champion Bumper, it promises to be one of the highlights of 2024’s festival, with many racing enthusiasts keeping tabs on the latest racecards to make sure both hot prospects are formally entered.
At auction, Romeo Coolio was eagerly anticipated as the four-year-old son of Kayf Tara. His new owners, KTDA Racing, have a successful past at the Cheltenham Festival, celebrating with Mount Ida in the winner’s enclosure.
The Champion Bumper ante-post odds market also covers several other potential winners, including Fleur Au Fusil and Kish Bank. The former is trained by Willie Mullins and won on debut at Naas over two miles in November 2023. The six-year-old, owned by P. and C. Reilly, showed a tremendous fleet-of-foot to win by four lengths. Meanwhile, Kish Bank is undefeated in two races. This is another Gigginstown prospect, winning a point-to-point at Tinahely in November before following it up to win over fences at Punchestown in December.The 2024 Cheltenham Festival is scheduled for 12th to 15th March, bringing the so-called “World Cup of Jumps Racing” to the county of Gloucestershire. One thing is for certain, Gordon Elliott will be very busy in the winner’s enclosure again, with Romeo Coolio one of many potential festival stars in 2024.