Talking Horses: The Talking Points for the 2021 Cheltenham Spectacle

| February 25, 2021

It doesn’t matter where you live – the Cheltenham festival is a must-watch if you’re a horse racing fan. The tiny town in the southwest of England is pretty sleepy for most of the year, but it certainly comes to life in mid-march when the top trainers, jockeys and owners arrive on the hallowed turf. And, as always, the excitement and anticipation are at fever pitch.

People want to know who will win and what the chances are of upsets because it only adds to the drama. Okay, it’s impossible to predict winners with 100% accuracy, but the twists and turns will be incredible. Still, that shouldn’t stop us from wondering about what might be on Tuesday 16th of March 2021.

With that in mind, here are the main talking points that horse racing-lovers should be well aware of before the action kicks off.

Honeysuckle Is a Threat to Epatante

There was a time when it would have been almost stupid to imagine Epatante as nothing other than the favourite for the Champion Hurdle. However, that’s what is starting to happen due to the form of fellow contender Honeysuckle. Trained by Henry De Bromhead, the mare has capped off an impressive couple of months in the run-up to Cheltenham with a powerful victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle in early February.

Epatante, meanwhile, goes into the Cheltenham Festival with big questions to answer. Not only was she beaten in the same event she hopes to win this time around 12 months ago, but Nicky Henderson’s nag is recovering from back surgery. As a result, Epatante will have to be back to her scintillating best if she’s going to turn up at Cheltenham and duel it out with Honeysuckle without any practice.

Henderson’s star performer is a class act, so the mare has the potential to do it. Still, the current form suggests Honeysuckle is the one to beat, making the storyline behind the Champion Hurdle captivating.

The Arkle Could Be Special

The form is a factor for punters, yet it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Followers of horse racing use blogs and websites to help them pick out opportunities as they have knowledge and experience casual fans lack. Reputable horse racing betting websites suggest bettors consider form, but also recommend factoring in the strength of the field and race conditions before placing a wager. By doing this, the platforms believe people have a greater chance of success.

The Arkle is a prime example of how punters can’t only go off the form book before deciding which horse to back for a victory. After all, there are two incredibly strong favourites at the moment – Shishkin and Energumene. The former is probably the most hyped contender due to his string of wins, including a classy outing at Doncaster early in the New Year. However, Irish entrant Energumene confirmed himself as the leader of Ireland’s contingent by dominating in an equivalent event at Leopardstown.

Whether you emphasize form, the conditions or the strength of the field, it’s not over between these two until one of them crosses the line in March. That suggests the Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase will be unmissable action.

Willie Mullins Should Right a Wrong

There aren’t many trophies on the horse racing calendar that Willie Mullins can’t claim he’s won. The man is a global superstar of a trainer with a fold of runners that dominates festivals wherever he goes. Just check out the recent Dublin Racing Festival if you’re unsure.

Shockingly, there is a Cheltenham event medal the Irishman doesn’t have on his mantlepiece – the Queen Mother Champion Chase. As National Hunt competitions go, it’s not overly remarkable other than the fact that it’s evaded Mullins’ grasp for so long. Many pundits and fans will want him to succeed, many will hope he loses, yet there’s no doubt he’s in with a great shot.

His main contender, Chacun Pour Soi, added the Dublin Chase earlier this year, winning by eight lengths. Plus, stablemate Min is the next in line for National Hunt glory, which only strengthens the master trainer’s opportunities in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

For the horse racing world, the Cheltenham Festival is the premier jumps event. Therefore, the talking points always make headline news in the UK and globally. 2021 is bound to be no different, even if we can’t say who will top the charts at the end of the week.

Category: International

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.