One of the biggest races of the British horse racing calendar takes place this month as the Cheltenham Festival kicks off on Tuesday 16 March 2021.
The prize money is second only to the Grand National in the United Kingdom and is the first big race of the year.
Cheltenham Racecourse hosts the four-day event with the Gold Cup being the big attraction that takes place on the final day, Friday 19 March.
With a number of races prior to the main event, here are some of the best bets for Cheltenham 2021:
Ultima Handicap Chase: Happygolucky 12/1
Kim Bailey has trained a number of winners over the past 12 months alone as well as having success at Cheltenham in the past too. The experienced trainer has Happygolucky racing in the Ultima Handicap Chase on the first day this year. This horse is in good form too, having won two of its past three races prior to Cheltenham.
Lieutenant Rocco is the 8/1 favourite for the race so Happygolucky is among the favourites but at a better price and we feel better value.
Champion Chase: Chacun Pour Soi 10/11
Race four of day two sees entrants go up for a place in history over two miles. The Champion Chase has provided some memorable finishes over the years.
Last year’s winner, Politologue, enters again, but comes up against a more experienced field this time. Willie Mullins’ horse is the odds-on favourite and we cannot overlook him in this one.
Chacun Pour Soi started the year with a win at Leopardstown and is currently on a four-race winning streak to justify his odds.
Marsh Novices Chase: Envoi Allen 5/6
Envoi Allen has a 2-0 career record at Cheltenham, having been the 2/1 and 4/1 favourite in his two previous visits. Gordon Elliott has every reason to be confident in his horse making it three straight as the 5/6 favourite on day three.
For anyone with any doubts over the favourite in this one should be aware that Envoi Allen has won all three lifetime races over fences too.
The Gold Cup: Al Boum Photo
Two-time defending champion Al Boum Photo heads into the final day of the Cheltenham Festival as the Gold Cup favourite. Willie Mullins’ horse is currently 11/4, ahead of Champ at 5/1 and A Plus Tard as 6/1 third favourite.
Al Boum Photo does have more questions than answers heading into this year’s event, which includes failing to race over fences since the turn of the year. The extra two furlongs could be a challenge but given the horse’s history here over the past two years it’s hard to write off.
Once the Cheltenham Festival is over, the next big event on the British horse racing calendar is the Grand National at Aintree.
The Grand National is the biggest racing event in the United Kingdom and attracts viewers from all across the world, even those who don’t watch another race at other times of the year.
Jack Timms is an independent writer with 8 years experience in writing sports articles for various magazines and newspapers. Most of his work is on horse racing or football, and he has written for magazines such as Thoroughbred Racing and Luxuria Lifestyle. Jack lives in York with his dog, Poppins.