Cheltenham Returns…But Stay at Home to Enjoy It
Cheltenham in 2020 may have just managed to get through proceedings prior to England’s first national lockdown, with 251,684 spectators enjoying the festivities, and this year it is back. However, it will be held behind closed doors, meaning that you will need to stay at home to enjoy it. As it happens, the official motto for the town this year is ‘Visit Cheltenham Later. Until then…stay home, save lives”.
This will not stop the festival from going ahead though, with the event set to run from Tuesday 16 through to Friday 19 March 2021. Everything will be televised, meaning that you can watch it from the comfort of your living room. There are four action-packed days of racing to view, featuring 14 Grade One races taking place across four seven-race cards.
At least one Championship race will happen on each of the days, starting out with the Unibet Champion Hurdle on Tuesday and finishing with the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday. Each of the 28 races occurring at the festival has something to tickle your fancy, and perhaps even more so if you have a penchant for sports betting.
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Certain horses have been tipped to perform well at the event in their respective races, too. On Tuesday in the Champion Hurdle, all eyes will be looking toward Honeysuckle. Having demolished the field in the Irish Champion Hurdle, the British-bred, Irish-trained Thoroughbred is expected to do much the same at Cheltenham. Of course, there will be stiff competition from last season’s winner, Epatante, as well as former victor in 2017 and 2018, Buveur d’Air.
In the Champion Chase on Wednesday, it is likely that many punters will be turning their attention to Nube Negra. Competing against runners like Altior and Greaneteen, Nube Negra is touted to be the one that sails through the finish line first, having defeated the former in the G2 Ladbrokes Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton Park in December. Some may fall in the direction of Politilogue though, which began its season with the fourth G1 success of his career during the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase, also occurring in December.
The Gold Cup is likely to draw many viewers as well, and this is looking like it could be Al Boum Photo’s day. A total of 41 runners have entered the event – the most prestigious chase to be run in Britain. Staged over three miles, two furlongs and 70 yards, the two latest runnings of it have seen Al Boum Photo secure the win. Now, it is looking to claim the hat trick and secure the Gold Cup for a third year. Competition will come thick and fast from other horses, with 17 Irish-trained entries competing alongside. Recent G1 Savills Chase winner A Plus Tard will be running, as will his stablemate Minella Indo.
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