It’s been a great start to the new season for reigning Champions Liverpool, but it’s just got even better for Connolly, who is the winner…
Here are our tips for the National Hunt Chase taking place at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday 16th March at 17:30.
View more Cheltenham betting tips from our expert horse racing analyst Will Smith or take a look at our Cheltenham Festival betting offers for the latest free bets, money back specials, extra places and more.
With the entries confirmed for the four graded novice chases at the Festival last week, and a whole host of trials over the last 10 days or so, it is a great time to drill down into the markets for these events.
There have been a number of tweaks to the National Hunt Chase – what used to be known as the ‘4-miler’ will now be catchily dubbed the 3-mile 6-furlonger!’ While the qualification criteria for the race has been tightened up slightly to ensure the race features, on the whole, classier and stronger staying types.
To my eye, you can’t get more classy and stronger staying than a 3m Grade 1-winning hurdler. Champagne Classic, famously categorised as the worst horse that Gigginstown-supremo Michael O’Leary owned after winning the Martin Pipe Conditionals race at the 2017 Festival, is currently second favourite in the NH Chase market. I feel he should be favourite.
On the back of three very notable chase runs this season, which confirmed he has come back in as good a form as before his injury layoff last season, and what looks like a carefully mapped out preparation by Gordon Elliott – he must be backed at 6/1.
The current favourite, Carefully Selected, is a danger yes, but didn’t appear as the cleverest jumper when winning the Grade 3 over 3m at Naas last Sunday. A trait which displayed itself on his chase debut also, and while he was a good hurdler he never won a Grade 1 like Champagne Classic.
There are currently as many as 22 horses in the entry list who aren’t actually qualified to run in the race yet, so should you fancy anything, check carefully before having a bet. Of those at bigger odds, one that would appeal if he was targeted at the race would be Colin Tizzard’s progressive young chaser Copperhead – easy winner of two staying handicaps, he strikes as a horse that could improve for this kind of test.
But for a main selection, look no further than the worst horse that Gigginstown own!