Excitement builds for the Cheltenham Festival in March

| February 7, 2021

The Cheltenham Festival is a month away and excitement is building for what is set to be a thrilling four days of top national hunt horse racing. Unfortunately it looks extremely unlikely that there will be no racegoers present, so the Cheltenham roar won’t be heard and the place will be very quiet, when it’s usually packed with over 100,000 people cheering on the horse they have bet on.

Onto the horse racing itself and this jump season has been very exciting with a lot of top horses running well and having their preparation runs in time for the festival in March. The top trainers Paul Nicholls, Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins have a top string of horses which will head to the festival in great form as they look to battle it out for the top Trainer.

All the ante-post odds are available at sportsbookreviews.com and this article will look at the top horses who are well fancied to win at the Cheltenham Festival this year. The first horse to mention is Envoi Allen who has raced 11 times and won all 11 races. This horse is unstoppable over hurdles and now chase fences and will run in the Marshes Novices Chase.

Envoi Allen is 19/20 (1.95) -195 to win the Marshes Novices Chase at Cheltenham Festival and continue the 100% record. In 2020 Envoi Allen won the Ballymore Novices Hurdle by over 4 lengths and looked superb at the home of national hunt racing. In 2019 Envoi Allen won the Champion Bumper so has a great record at Cheltenham. There is no stopping this horse and the current price is expected to get towards ½ (1.5) -150 by the time it gets to race day as other horses looking to win at Cheltenham may look to swerve this race and go for one of the other chases.

The opening ‘Group 1’ race of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday 16th March is the Champion Hurdle and the current favourite is Epatante at 12/5 (3.4) + 340 who will look to repeat the success of 2020 and win back to race races at the Festival. This is a tall order and there is evidence that this favourite is vulnerable. Nicky Henderson trains Epatante and the horse hasn’t looked 100% convincing this season and this is backed up by finishing 2nd in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park in December. The major positive for bettors of Epatante is that the horse has good course form and will hope to put in a similar performance like 2020 and beat all the rivals.

The horse that beat Epatante at Kempton Park in December 202o was Silver Streak and that horse is currently priced 11/1 (12/1) +1200 to win the Champion hurdle at Cheltenham Festival this year and could offer fantastic each-way value for backers of longer odds horses.

Turning to Wednesday 17th March and the top race on the day is the Champion Chase. The current favourite for this race is Chacun Pour Soi. Trained by the master Irishman Willie Mullins, this horse has impressed at Leopardstown in Ireland the past few runs and will come into the Festival in red hot form. The current best price is 17/10 (2.7) +270 to win the Champion Chase and the only hesitation for punters is the horse hasn’t run at Cheltenham before, which can be a concern for some horses, though with a super Trainer like Willie Mullins, this is of less concern, given he has trained tons of winners.

The next major race to cover is the Stayers Hurdle on Thursday 18th March and this race is wide open in the betting. The current odds for the favourite is 10/3 (4.33) +433 which is Paisley Park, a former winner of the race. This 9 year old trained by Emma Lavelle was superb last time out to win the Long Walk Hurdle preparation race at Ascot in December and beat Thyme Hill who is second favourite for this race. These two horses are likely to battle it out for favouritism come race day and it wouldn’t be surprising if the winner came from one of these two.

Paisley Park won the Stayers Hurdle in 2019 with a superb burst of pace to win in style, however a repeat wasn’t successful as the horse finished 7th last year. 

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