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Cheltenham Festival 2020 Day 1 Preview

Last Updated: 16/03/21

Written By: Michael Grahamslaw

Cheltenham Tips 2021 Day 1

Aptly named the greatest show on turf, the Cheltenham Festival is the most expensive jumps racing meeting held across the world, and with the sheer amount of top-class runners and riders who aim to get their hands on a Grade One win across the week, we’re in no doubt the 2021 Festival will certainly pack a punch.

Held at Prestbury Park for the last century, the highlight race of the week almost concludes the festival on the final day. Drawing the biggest crowds, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of the biggest accolades in sport and has been won by the likes of Arkle, Best Mate, Denman, Kauto Star and last year, Al Boum Photo.

Here at 21.co.uk, we’ll have all the latest horse racing betting odds in the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival including all of the ante post betting markets so if you prefer, you’ll be able to place your bets well in advance. So whether you’re browsing our Cheltenham tips from the comfort of your sofa or from the course itself, head over to our horse racing betting section to see all the markets we have on offer.

As well as all of the horse racing action across the year, 21.co.uk has a huge football betting market where we’ll have all of our Euro 2021 Betting tips. We also have a wide range of casino games, which includes everything from slots to live casino action.

Day One at The Cheltenham Festival 2021

With four days of racing for punters to sink their teeth into, the excitement starts on the opening day, however, this year we’ll miss out on the infamous ‘Cheltenham Roar’ that accompanies the first race of the day to fully announce the start of the Festival. That being said, for many people looking to place a wager, the biggest draw on each of those days is, of course, the Grade One races as it not only gives them the opportunity to see some of the best horses in training, it also offers the chance for potential big payouts if they can successfully pick the winner.

But with so many Grade One races on the card, how do our bettors know which race is the best for them to have a punt on the favourite or even the outsider of the field, especially if they’re new to the world of horse racing betting? Luckily at 21.co.uk, our horse racing tipster knows the ins and outs of these races and has picked out some key stats and tidbits to help you make an educated decision. So let's get down to business by taking a look at some early Cheltenham Tips for day 1 of the festival.

Cheltenham Day One Tips 2021: Supreme Novices Hurdle

Irish eyes have definitely been shining down on this race in recent renewals with the duo of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh having unprecedented success with the likes of Champagne Fever, Douvan, Vautour and most recently Klassical Dream. However, after Walsh announced his retirement, British trainer Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville dominated the race in 2020 as Shishkin replicated Altior’s victory in 2016 with a fantastic display.

Early betting suggests that the Irish contingent will return to dominance in this race as the markets favour the Willie Mullins horse - Appreciate It. The horse was almost 5/1 odds shorter than any other horse in the race in the Ante Bet and currently sits at 5/4 and is a clear favourite amongst punters. Ballyadam is another who is a favourite in the market; however, he was convincingly defeated by the Mullins horse in their last two meetings at the start of the year. If you’re looking for a long shot to back, then you may find that the Alex Hales horse For Pleasure is worth a cheeky bet at 33/1. He is a commendable runner but an 18 length loss to Soaring Glory last time out has lengthened his odds significantly. However, our bet for the race is the commendable Metier, the bookies favourite very rarely wins this race and we believe that Metier has all the makings of a winner in this year's betting. His Ante-post odds were also the same as the winning odds of two out of the last three winners. Coincidence? Probably.

Our Bet: Metier: 9/2

Middle Range Bet: Blue Lord: 8/1

Long Shot: For Pleasure: 33/1

Likelihood of a longshot winner: Unlikely.

Cheltenham Day One Tips 2021: Arkle Chase Betting

The Arkle is another historic race at the Cheltenham Festival that has been dominated by the Irish trainers who’ve set sail across the Irish Sea in search of British supremacy, and from the looks of it they don’t intend to stop this year. Paying tribute to the racing legend Arkle, this race is another run on the old course at Cheltenham and often provides us with interesting viewing.

Again it’s the Walsh and Mullins who previously dominated this race, with Footpad, Douvan(there is he again) and Un de Sceaux picking up hard-fought victories. But if you look further back through the stats there are wins for Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig, and if you look even deeper into their careers many of these horses have gone onto win the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Delving even deeper into the stats for this race, it’s 6 and 7-year-old horses who seem to fare well, especially those who’ve managed to stick with the same jockey for their last three consecutive races so our advice is to do your research before you place a bet on this race.

For those who prefer to stick by the favourite, the fact they’ve won 6 of the last 9 renewals and the other stats we’ve mentioned actually bode well for Shishkin. Who is looking to follow in the footsteps of Altior who won this race in 2017 after winning the Novices Hurdle in 2016. He is currently 5/6 to win the race Unbeaten since a fall at Newbury in 2019, this horse has continued to rise to the occasion and pick up victories and we expect the same here again.

If you’re looking for more value in the Arkle Betting Market and a horse which fits in with most of the key stats we’ve mentioned then Dan Skelton-trained All Mankind who currently sits at 7/1 in the betting is definitely worth a look. A winner of his last three races with the same jockey - Harry Skelton, the only thing against him here is the caliber of his opponent but in Horse Racing anything can happen.

Our Bet: Shishkin: 4/9

Middle Range Bet: All Mankind: 4/1

Long Shot: Eldorado Allen: 50/1

Likelihood of a longshot winner: Very Unlikely.

Cheltenham Day One Tips 2021: Ultima Handicap

The Ultima Handicap Chase is a race that this year, is the precursor to the main race of the day. A race for the aging horse, this race is often a winner for horses aged 8/9 with only three exceptions since 2011 including 2018 winner Coo Star Sivola and the only back-to-back race winner since 1982 - Un Temps Pour Tout.

Statistically, the majority of winners of the race are also between 8/1 - 12/1 in the betting markets when the race comes. As it stands in the early betting there are six horses that fit into this but only four match the typical age for the winner. They are: Milan Native, Alnadam and Pym. If you’re a fan of following the form then you’ll be looking at Pym who has won the last three races he’s completed with Nico De Boinville. He pushes the horse hard knowing that it has the potential to go far and it definitely has the potential to win on Tuesday..

Our Bet: Pym : 14/1

Middle Range Bet: Pym : 14/1

Long Shot: Delire D'Estruval: 33/1

Likelihood of a longshot winner: Low to Medium.

Cheltenham Day One Tips 2021: Champion Hurdle

The highlight race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is the Champion Hurdle and it’s here where we’ve seen the Irish supremacy of the Festival dented in the last five years by Nicky Henderson and Buveur D’Air. Before that point, this race was won by Hurricane Fly, Faugheen* and Annie Power who followed the trend of starting in the top six of the betting prior to the race - many of them actually heading to post as the favourite. Last year this race was won by Nicky Henderson’s Epatante.

In our opinion it’s the trainers who you should most be looking out for here with Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson managing to pass the post first in 19 of the last 31 renewals and in terms of jockeys, it’s Barry Geraghty who seems to be in the right place at the right time when it comes to picking up wins in this race.

With the Stayers Hurdle also a popular destination for many horses which could also run in this race, it’s a difficult task to pick out potential runners, however, as over the last decade only 2 winners have been priced higher than 9/1, looking in the lower prices in the betting markets could be more beneficial.

In 2019 Epatante was the winner of the Christmas Hurdle and went on to win the Champion Hurdle, this year she was beaten by Silver Streak. However, Epatante made one poor error at the 3rd and it cost her. The Christmas Hurdle is one of the three main filter races for the Champion Hurdle and if her performance there was anything to go by, both horses will be tough cookies to crack. Neither are the favourite; however, with Honeysuckle dropping from her 16/1 last year to a fair 9/4 here. We would have loved to see her take on this race last year at 16/1 but they clearly didn’t fancy her at the time.

Looking deeper into the betting markets there are a number of fantastic names in the running. However, last time out there was only one horse that even got close to Honeysuckle and that was Abracadabras and I feel like this will be similar to last year where Abracadabras gets incredibly close but falls just short, like with Shishkin in 2020.

Our Bet: Honeysuckle: 2/4

Middle Range Bet: Abracadabras: 15/2

Long Shot: James Du Berlais: 20/1

Likelihood of a longshot winner: Very Unlikely

Cheltenham Day One Tips 2021: Mares Hurdle

The Mares Hurdle follows the Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival to round up the first day of Grade One action, and with it being run over a similar distance to the previous race on the card, there is often a little bit of crossover when it comes to the betting markets, so it’s unlikely we’ll know which horses will go to either race until the final cards are confirmed.

Always an interesting contest, it rose to prominence thanks to the unstoppable performances of Quevega* who from 2009-2014 remained unbeaten in this race. As with many of the races on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, it’s the Irish that punters tend to migrate towards in this race, and despite Honeysuckle looking unlikely to try and regain her crown, she is second in the betting odds at 5/4. Ahead of her is the winner of the Grade 2 Mares Hurdles last year, Concertista who won last year's race by 12 lengths.

Concertista fits the trend of 10 of the last 13 winners being between the age of 5 or 7 which in our opinion, further implies that this horse will be a clear winner here. Other horses that we recommend taking a look at are Minella Melody who has only been narrowly beaten by Concertista in her last two races and Roksana who has impressed since her Cheltenham defeat last year.

Our Bet: Concertista: 11/10

Middle Range Bet: Roksana: 11/4

Long Shot: Minella Melody: 20/1

Likelihood of a longshot winner: Low to Medium

All odds from the 21.co.uk online sportsbook are correct at time of writing.

For all the latest Horse Racing Betting tips from 21.co.uk, check out our sportsbook blog.

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