THE Cheltenham Festival rarely fails to deliver and did so in some style 12 months ago, with the opening day producing top-notch winners of in the Grade 1 races in the shape of Marine Nationale in the Supreme, El Fabiolo in the Arkle, Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle and Honeysuckle in the Mares’ Hurdle.

The problem the upcoming Festival must overcome is the absence of three of those superstars.