Five bankers to back at this year’s Cheltenham Festival
The Cheltenham Festival is the showpiece meeting of the UK and Ireland’s jumps racing season. Nothing beats the roar from the iconic Prestbury Park stands as the horses race up the infamous hill towards home and over the line. However, this year, there is going to be an eerie silence around the Cotswolds, as it’s looking increasing likely that fans will be watching on from their own homes.
Nonetheless, the show must go on, and in just over one month’s time, we will be treated to the four-day spectacle that is the Cheltenham Festival. So, grab your form guides and start scouring the internet for the best Cheltenham betting offers, because the countdown to March 16th is on. To help you hopefully pick a few winners, we have put together this guide to five bankers for this year’s meeting.
Shishkin – Arkle Challenge Trophy
Shishkin will undoubtedly feature in everybody’s day one accumulators. The Nicky Henderson-trained horse is the odds-on favourite to win the Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase, and despite it being just Shishkin’s second Festival outing, after his victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year, it would be a major shock to not see the seven-year-old romping home in first. With two massive victories at Kempton since last year’s Festival, one by 23 lengths and the other by 13, Shishkin looks nailed on to win the Arkle, and his name is already doing the rounds in the Cheltenham horse racing tips.
Epatante – Champion Hurdle
It looks set to be an early double for Henderson, with his Epatante the heavy favourite for day one’s feature race, the Champion Hurdle – which follows on directly from the Arkle. The seven-year-old won the Champion Hurdle by three lengths last year, and it looks set to be another comfortable victory for the 2/1 favourite this year, with Sharjah, who was second last year, his nearest competition at a much further out 7/1.
Honeysuckle – Mares’ Hurdle
One can’t help but admire Honeysuckle, and given that she is unbeaten, how could we not include her on this list? The Henry de Bromhead-trained seven-year-old made her Cheltenham Festival debut last year, winning the Mares’ Hurdle, and with another Grade 1 victory at Fairyhouse in Ireland since then, we wouldn’t bet against her retaining her Mares’ Hurdle crown on day three of the Festival. It will, however, be interesting to see how Honeysuckle and jockey Rachael Blackmore get on at the Irish Champion Hurdle, as a victory at Leopardstown could sway de Bromhead towards the Festival’s Champion Hurdle.
Monkfish – Festival Novices’ Chase
Monkfish looks certain to land seven-time top trainer Willie Mullins a victory in the Festival Novices’ Chase. The seven-year-old made his Cheltenham debut last year, winning the Spa Novices’ Hurdle by a neck. Two more victories since then, including a Grade 1 Novices’ Chase at Leopardstown, are testament to his quality, and a victory in the day two Festival Novices’ Chase looks nailed on.
Envoi Allen is another unbeaten horse on our list. The Gordon Elliott-trained horse has already racked up an impressive 12 victories since 2018, including an impressive five Grade 1 triumphs, two of which have come at the Cheltenham Festival. This year, Envoi Allen will be looking for a third victory at the Prestbury Park meeting, and it’ll come as no surprise that he is the odds-on favourite to win the Marsh Novices’ Chase.