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Cheltenham Festival 2021 | Grade 1 Ante-Post Betting: Tuesday & Wednesday

A close look at the market leaders for the first eight Grade 1 races at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival

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Aidan Coleman celebrates after winning the Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy on Put The Kettle On at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival

The countdown is on.

We are now just weeks away from the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, undoubtedly the greatest show on turf, where the best of the Irish try their hand with the British elite of National Hunt stars.

And nothing quite whets the appetite as a look ahead to the biggest contests of the week.

There are 14 Grade 1 races across the four days of top quality racing and we’ve taken a look at the top of the market for each one.

Who is expected to dominate the novice fields? Will we see a changing of the guard in the championship events?

Here’s your Cheltenham Festival market principals for day one and day two of the jump racing Olympics at Prestbury Park.

Tuesday 16th March 2021

Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle | 2m 87y | 1:30pm

The Cheltenham Festival kicks off in the right fashion, with a potentially mouth-watering renewal of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in store. Grade 1 winner Appreciate It (9/4) heads the market for Willie Mullins, who is looking for a record seventh win in the race. Harry Fry’s Metier (7/1) has justified his case for second favourite with the five-year-old unbeaten over obstacles, including a first Grade 1 earlier this year, storming up to win the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown. Gordon Elliott’s Ballyadam sits at 16/1, while the same priced Bob Olinger and Third Time Lucki will be looking to give trainers Henry De Bromhead and Dan Skelton their maiden success in the contest.

Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase | 1m 7f 199y | 2:10pm

Tuesday’s action continues with an interesting field in the Arkle Chase, with last year’s Supreme winner Shishkin sitting favourite in the betting. Nicky Henderson’s star stormed up by a combined 36 lengths in his two starts over fences and is now as short as 8/11 to land the contest. Willie Mullins’ Energumene has made light work of his two chase victories so far over in Ireland and could well be some value for punters at 6/1. Dan Skelton’s talented novice Allmankind is currently 9/1, while Unexpected and Captain Guinness are priced at 16/1 and 20/1 respectively. 

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy | 2m 87y | 3:30pm

Market favourite Epatante (9/4) will be strongly fancied to land back-to-back successes in the Champion Hurdle, but after a shock loss last month, Tuesday’s feature race has been blown wide open. It was Silver Streak that condemned Nicky Henderson’s supermare to defeat in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, and is 11/1 to give Evan Williams a maiden victory in the contest. Last year’s runner-up Sharjah (8/1) and improving sort Saint Roi (14/1) spearhead the Willie Mullins challenge, while 2020 Triumph Hurdle second Aspire Tower (14/1) will be looking to land a first Grade 1 under Henry De Bromhead.

Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle | 2m 3f 200y | 4:10pm

n eye-catching cast line up in the season’s renewal of the Mares’ Hurdle and it looks set to be a classic. Last year’s winner Honeysuckle (11/4) is looking for her 11th straight victory over obstacles, but she faces stiff competitions from yards over both sides of the Irish Sea. Concertista (11/4) has impressed massively this season in her two appearances over hurdles while Benie Des Dieux (8/1) will be seeking to avenge last year’s defeat, both for Willie Mullins. Roksana (8/1) looks the best of the British challengers, with two Graded contests under her belt already this season for Dan Skelton.

Wednesday 17th March 2021

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle | 2m 5f | 1:30pm

Ladies Day kicks off with a competitive field in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. Regarded as ‘the next Denman’ by Paul Nicholls, Bravesmangame (4/1) tore apart his rivals in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle and looks an impressive sort. Bob Olinger (5/1) has progressed quickly this season and claimed his first Grade 1 earlier this month for Henry De Bromhead, while Gaillard Du Mensil (10/1) and Ganapathi (20/1) lead the charge for Willie Mullins.

Festival Novices’ Chase | 3m 80y | 2:10pm

Willie Mullins’ Monkfish (2/1) will face Paul Nolan’s Latest Exhibition (10/1) for the third time in under a year in what is set to be an exciting clash at Prestbury Park. Mullins’ six-year-old has come out on top on both occasions and continues to establish himself as a promising prospect over fences, while Latest Exhibition will need to show further progress to overcome the dual Grade 1 winner. Colin Tizzard’s The Big Breakaway (16/1) looks the best of the British chances of victory, while useful sort Pencilfulloflead (16/1) will be hoping to cause another upset in Graded company for Gordon Elliott.

Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase | 1m 7f 199y | 3:30pm

An incredible star-studded field line up for Wednesday’s feature race, with cases able to be made for several runners. Chacun Pour Soi (11/10) missed last year’s contest after he was ruled out late on, but Willie Mullins’ star has commanded respect this season with a combined winning distance of 25 lengths in his two Graded victories. Altior (8/1), who also missed last season’s race, will be aiming to bounce back to winning form to land a third Champion Chase under Nicky Henderson, while last year’s winner Politologue (9/1) will want to round off a promising season with another Grade 1 under his belt for Paul Nicholls. Newcomer Nube Negra (10/1) is only the second horse to beat Altior over fences and looks a potential star under Dan Skelton.

Weatherbys Champion Bumper | 2m 87y | 5:30pm

A list of exciting prospects crop up in Wednesday’s closing race, the Champion Bumper. Gordon Elliott’s Sir Gerhard (3/1) has justified favouritism for the contest with two promising performances under rules in Ireland, while stablemate Chemical Energy (16/1) looks a potential threat with strong performances in his two showings so far this season. If Pam Sly can be convinced not to swerve the Festival, three-year-old filly Eileendover (12/1) could be a major contender in the contest after bolting up to win in Listed company earlier this month. Kilcruit (10/1) and Ramillies (16/1) both also have NHF wins to their name and could thrive under Willie Mullins. 

*Odds courtesy of bet365 and are subject to change.

Betting

Weekend Cheltenham Clues: Elimay now clear favourite for the Mares’ Chase

JP McManus owned Elimay a cosy winner of Saturday’s Opera Hat at Naas

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Elimay and Mark Walsh win at the Punchestown Festival 2019 at Punchestown Racecourse, Ireland

A weekend which saw several key meeting abandoned due to the weather, punters were left with three jumps cards across England and Ireland to engage with over the two days.

Elimay produced an impressive performance at Naas on Saturday, as she landed the hotly-contested Opera Hat Mares Chase.

The seven-year-old made strong headway three out, took the lead from Gordon Elliott’s Shattered Love before the last and went clear in the run-in to win easily by 5 ½ lengths.

Willie Mullins’ mare has seen her price for the Mares’ Chase cut even further, as the current favourite was trimmed from 4/1 to 5/2.

Shady Operator got Sunday’s action underway, as the eight-year old landed the P.P Hogan Memorial Cross Country Chase at Punchestown.

Enda Boldger’s gelding, who is now 14/1 for the Glenfarclas Cross County Chase, went clear at the last before staying on to win by 2 ½ lengths from Peter Maher’s Blast Of Koeman.

Thedeviliscoachman recorded his second victory in 16 days, as the gelding claimed the I.N.H. Stallion Owners EBF Novice Hurdle.

The five-year-old kept on well and fought off a late challenge from the progressing French Light to take his third win over hurdles in four starts.

Noel Meade’s runner is a 16/1 shot for the County Hurdle, while he also remains at 20/1 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Competing in handicap company for the first time over fences, The Big Dog landed a maiden victory over the larger obstacles as he took the 80,000 Punchestown Grand National Trial.

Peter Fahey’s runner travelled well throughout the contest and looked to be cruising when he kicked clear on the home turn.

However, Screaming Colours made up ground late on and produced a late challenge, but The Big Dog kept on well and battled back to win by half a length.

The eight-year old now holds a price of 20/1 for the National Hunt Chase and the Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Festival in March.

Meanwhile across the Irish Sea, Wilde About Oscar returned to winning ways after a strong performance in the Bet At racingtv.com Listed Novices’ Hurdle at Exeter.

The six-year-old, who is 20/1 for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, travelled well throughout and saw off favourite The Glancing Queen in the run-in by 7 ½ lengths.

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Betting

Three value-priced Irish runners to consider over the weekend

The three Irish runners you need to side with this weekend

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Irish runners race at the 2010 Punchestown Festival at Punchestown Racecourse

With the weather wiping out all but one National Hunt meeting in Great Britain, jumps fans turn to the Irish cards in search for some value selections.

Here are three runners that could hint some value in the meeting across the Irish sea.

UTHRED (2.00 PUNCHESTOWN, SUNDAY) – 9/2 (William Hill)

A bright prospect from Joseph O’Brien’s yard, Uthred makes the step up with a tough assignment on his hands. The six-year-old hasn’t been seen since December 2019, but he has shown his ability on his three starts under rules. A strong second in a maiden hurdle at Cork, he quickened up well on his final outing to win by 4 ½ lengths in a Listed bumper. If Uhtred can continue to show promise, he could easily be in the mix here and take on the likes of Power Of Pause and Thedevilscoachman.

ALL ABOUT JACK (4.00 NAAS, SATURDAY) – 12/1 (bet365)

Colm Murphy’s six-year old may not have caught the eye in his first year over hurdles, but he could take his first rules win here at Naas. He was unlucky not to win at Punchestown after being beaten by a neck and he can be forgiven for being pulled up on his last outing after being found to be suffering from heat stress. However, the gelding could have more to come if his bloodlines are anything to go by. His sire has produced Stayers’ Hurdle winners Paisley Park and Lisnagar Oscar, as well as Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby and dual Aintree Hurdle victor Oscar Whisky. At a predicted price of 12/1, there could be some each-way value if the six-year-old lives up to his potential.

MONBEG NOTORIOUS (4.30 PUNCHESTOWN, SUNDAY) – 40/1 (Paddy Power + Betfair)

A part of the six-strong Gordon Elliott force in the Irish Grand National Trial, Monbeg Notorious could well be a surprise contender for the County Meade trainer. A winner of Thyestes Handicap Chase off a mark of 137 three years ago, the ten-year-old has struggled this season after being pulled up on both starts. But he is now back at an interesting mark and is a strong runner on heavy ground. With further rain predicted in County Kildare, this could be a huge opportunity for Monbeg Notorious to roll back the year and at 40/1, there is some clear each-way value if the place terms are right.

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Betting

Cheltenham Festival – Antepost Specials to consider for this year’s meeting

Doubles, trebles or outright left field selections of the betting sort, here’s some value prices to take advantage of before this year’s Cheltenham Festival

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Envoi Allen and Davy Russell jump the last hurdle in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Antepost betting usually revolves around the win and each-way selections for the Festival, but bookmakers have come up with even more ways to bet on the National Hunt showpiece.

With specials markets now including owners, stables, place markets and even next year’s meeting, there is plenty of value to be found if you know where to look.

Here are some specials to consider for this year’s Cheltenham Festival and beyond.

Cheveley Park Stud to have 5+ placed horses at the Cheltenham Festival – 4/1 (Sky Bet)

Renowned for the talent they have produced on the flat, Cheveley Park Stud have stepped up their game in the National Hunt discipline in recent years and look ready to launch an attack on this year’s Festival. Envoi Allen (Marsh Novices’ Chase) and Allaho (Ryanair Chase) are favourites for their respected contests, while talented youngsters Quilixios (Triumph Hurdle) and Sir Gerhard hold second favouritism in their maiden bows at Prestbury Park. A Plus Tard (Gold Cup) and Ballyadam (Supreme/Ballymore) complete the six-strong squadron and all look destined to perform well. Five of these competitors to place in their selected contests looks achievable.

Royale Pagaille to win any race at the Cheltenham Festival – 4/1 (William Hill)

A horse with clear ability to compete with the very best, Venetia Williams’ seven-year-old sent racing fans into a frenzy last month after easily winning the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase by 16 lengths. The Cheltenham Festival is clearly on the agenda for the gelding, as he possesses entries in the Festival Novices’ Chase, Marsh Novices’ Chase, National Hunt Chase and the Gold Cup. The exciting novice has been tipped to be a major threat to Al Boum Photo should he targeted for the Festival’s feature race, but with connections currently undecided where to send Royal Pagaille, this special seems to be worth some value.

Monkfish to win the Festival Novices’ Chase & The Gold Cup 2022 – 14/1 (Paddy Power + Betfair)

Willie Mullins turned some heads earlier this month when he stated that he had put together his strongest bunch of novice chasers yet. The questions raised by that comments were answered at the Dublin Racing Festival with both Monkfish and Energumene blitzing apart their opponents in emphatic fashion in the Flogas Novice Chase and Irish Arkle. Monkfish has captured the imagination of the racing sphere with his fluent jumping and effortless performance, even though he has only raced over fences three times in his career. The seven-year-old is a real Gold Cup contender in time to come for the Closutton trainer and the gelding shouldn’t have any difficulty in landing the Festival Novices’ Chase this time round. A special to consider if you have the patience.

Abacadabras (Champion Hurdle), Champagne Classic (Any Race), Duffle Coat (Any Race) and Metier (Any Race) all to place – 33/1 (Sky Bet)

It could be considered a high-priced longshot, but this is a seriously interesting price for four talented runners. Abracadabras ran a valiant second in the Irish Champion Hurdle and with last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up being targeted for the Festival’s edition of this race, he could land among the places at Prestbury Park once again. Champagne Classic, who hasn’t been seen since December 2019, is among a wide-open contest in the Cross Country Chase and the former Grade 1 winner could be an interesting contender should he return. Unbeaten novice hurdler Duffle Coat is entered in three races and could be a threat in whichever contest he is aimed at, while Metier caught the eye with his 12 length victory in the Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle. All four seem capable to at least finish among the places and 33/1 could be a bit of a steal here.

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Cheltenham Races TEst

With the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner, it’s time to get back into the spirit of this grand occasion, and for that, you’ve come to the right place.

With the offset commencing on Tuesday 16th March featuring The Unibet Champion Hurdle, you could be right there experiencing it all up until the final few races trickle through following The Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 19th March.

Cheltenham Racecourse hosts the most anticipated event of the racing calendar where punters and racing enthusiasts can experience this exciting event from a number of perspectives, whatever the weather.

Four days of extraordinary racing offers a prize pool of over £4.5 million to the hopeful participants, with passion and emotion tantalising the senses of all in attendance.

Kissing the beautiful Cotswold countryside, Cheltenham Racecourse was voted the greatest racecourse in the world by The Racing Post in 2019. Each of the three magnificent Cheltenham Racecourse enclosures gives you a stunning view of the alluring surroundings.

The Cheltenham Festival offers world-class hospitality available to suit a wide range of budgets, so, if you wish, you could step up the quality of your experience to ensure you make the absolute best of this fascinating horseracing occasion.

Besides the racing, you can visit the shopping village featuring approximately 70 bespoke, carefully selected vendors for a mixture of essentials and luxuries. You can also indulge yourself at the bars and listen to live music all throughout the Cheltenham racing calendar.

Betting Tips

If you’re looking for the most diligently researched professional betting tips for the Cheltenham Festival 2021 races, our team of competent, experienced tipsters will provide all the fruitful information you need to make the most lucrative betting decisions possible.

The in-depth information we offer on favourites, horses to look out for, trainers, jockeys and more can mean it won’t just be the horses, trainers and jockeys getting Cheltenham results.

Tickets

Whether you have attended this enthralling event before and you’re looking for your annual fix, or you’ve been intrigued by the captivating aura that surrounds these races inducing the desire to make your Festival debut, you can find all the information you need on Cheltenham tickets right here.

Standard entry tickets are very affordable and there is a range of package options to suit your exact needs, so whatever your budget, The Cheltenham Festival 2021 will be the place to be this March.

Festival Guide

Any information you’re looking for on the festival including dates for the diary, the racecourse, the horse trainers, the jockeys, festival history, where to eat, where to stay and how to get there can be found right here at cheltenham.co.uk.

Race Calendar

The Cheltenham Festival 2021 features a variety of 28 breathtaking races, with 7 per day over the course of the four-day festival. Our race calendar makes it very easy to keep track of exactly what is going on and when.

The highlight of day one will be the Unibet Champion Hurdle with a prize pool of £450,000. Day two sees the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase take place where records continue to be broken.

Day three presents The Ryanair Chase and The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle race, both in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Then Finally, Friday hosts the grand finale in the form of The Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The full Cheltenham race schedule is available right here, from the Tuesday 10:30 gate opening to the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle final race at 5:30 pm on Friday.

Hospitality

The beauty of the Cheltenham races is the sheer quantity of options when it comes to how you want to experience it.

If you head down to The Festival simply to view the races and absorb the exciting atmosphere you don’t need to break the bank. If you’ve set a higher budget for this pulsating occasion, you can get plenty for the money you want to spend.

You can choose from any of the 11 onsite restaurants for your evening meal, with a variety of restaurant types from The Horse & Groom Pub to the Champions Walk restaurant, you can choose the atmosphere that’s served alongside your meal.

Those with a higher budget and more cash to splash will be delighted by the range of luxury experience options, including viewing boxes with private bars, Room With a View packages complete with Bentley and helicopter transfers, and the luxurious Orchard Pods suitable for up to 20 guests with a private balcony.

Free bets

Free bets are a fantastic opportunity to step up the thrill of the races with a chance to recoup some of your festival expenditures, increase your spending money, or even strike it lucky and walk away from your exhilarating day with a smug smile.

Free bets work just like real bets except there is no risk involved. You can place a stake on your favourite horse and if it wins, so do you. Real cash.

The Cheltenham Festival is amongst the busiest periods of the year for bookmakers and betting sites, so they always come up with some incredibly tempting sign-up offers and free bets to lure you in. The high competition between the bookies is good news for you, as they compete to offer the most generous free bet deals.

We scour the web for all the best betting deals – including free bets – and provide you with a one-stop-shop to accumulate your free bet funds, meaning less time searching and more time sitting and sipping.

Odds

It’s thanks to the high competition between bookmakers that you can get such fantastic prices on the horses. Odds are competitive, so very high profits are possible.

We’ll make sure you have access to all the best odds from all the best betting sites, so you can experience how profitable the Cheltenham races can truly be.

Track all the odds as the Festival approaches ever closer so you know exactly who to look out for and back when the big week finally arrives.