For regular followers of this column, it’s been a rollercoaster since selections for the Cheltenham Festival 2021 began midway through last year’s Festival.
But with just over a week to go until the tapes go up on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, now is a great time to re-cap everything we have suggested over the last year. With the promise of plenty more to come between now and the end of what will be a very different, but no less exciting week.
Firstly, given the fact that many of our selections come from the stable owned by Gordon Elliott, and now being overseen by Denise Foster, at least we have clarity that they will be running. The situation has not been ideal on so many levels, but hopefully the horses don’t know that and are able to show their true level of ability, health and wellbeing.
The most appealing bet(s) that we have had are undoubtedly the Shiskin/Envoi Allen singles and each-way double advised in April last year at odds of 4/1 and 9/2 respectively.
While a couple have fallen by the wayside inevitably, with Fiddlerontheroof going for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase and not the Marsh, as advised. So too, Benson was not entered in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle.
On a daily basis, here is the rundown of the remaining selections:
The Ultima Handicap chase looks a good race for us, with One For The Team and Kauto Riko advised at 16/1 and 33/1 respectively. While, having advised Happygolucky at 25/1 in the ‘to win any race’ market, he is now into a best priced 6/1 for the Ultima, and has been confirmed as heading here by trainer Kim Bailey.
The Champion Hurdle looks wide open, and while the price for Abacadabras hasn’t shortened from the advised 12/1, I do still retain faith in him, and the prospect of the way the race will be run on drying ground could really suit.
The other handicap on day one, the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, is shaping up to be a good race for us also – Saint Sam and Busselton, having been advised at 10/1 and 14/1, are now into a best priced 11/2 and 9/1 respectively.
While, to close day one we have a bet I’m really looking forward to. Galvin has long been targeted at the National Hunt Chase , and at the advised 14/1, he is now into 7/2 and could conceivably be close to odds on if Royale Pagaille didn’t run here.
At this stage, the quietest of all four days, with only Put The Kettle On flying the flag for the column in the Champion Chase. She has been confirmed for the race, and could be single figures on the day, having been advised at a whopping 25/1.
Apart from Envoi Allen, day three’s plays revolve around the two staying hurdles. The Pertemps Final looks competitive, but I am happy to go with the outsider Honest Vic at 25/1, who is still available at that price.
While the Stayers’ Hurdle is a race that I would be very disappointed if we didn’t have a major result, with Thyme Hill and Sire Du Berlais advised at a huge 20/1 and 25/1 respectively. While, I’ve since added Diol Ker at an insulting 50/1!
Again, at this juncture, Gold Cup day is a little on the quiet side for ante-post bets. But I’m happy to retain the belief that Minella Indo is well suited to the rigours of a Gold Cup, having been advised at 10/1, you can now get bigger and I wouldn’t put anyone off taking that.
The other ante-post bet on day four is Fakiera in the Albert Bartlett, advised at 10/1.