Our Cheltenham Festival 2021 coverage gets underway with the day 1 races on Tuesday 16th March 2021. Below you will see all our Cheltenham day 1 tips for every race including the day 1 feature, the Champion Hurdle.
|1.20pm||Supreme Novices Hurdle||25/1|
|4.15pm||Boodles Juvenile Hurdle||25/1|
|4.50pm||National Hult Chase||5/1|
As we get closer to the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, our betting tips will start to ramp up and you will get a lot of ante-post selections ahead of all the day 1 tips.
With 28 races taking place across the four days, there are a lot of races to look. This can be overwhelming for some punters so we have taken some of the stress out of it and picked out the best bets for each day.
This section is focusing on the six races from ay 1 of the Cheltenham Festival 2021, taking place on Tuesday 16th March.
The day 1 races get underway at 1.30pm with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. This is one of the biggest betting races of the week because everybody wants to get off to a winning start on their Cheltenham Festival betting.
One massive plus point to this for the punter is that you will get the best sign-up offers, free bets and existing customer offers from bookmakers on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
In years gone by, there have been some fantastic offers such as money back in cash if your bet loses on the 1.30pm race of day 1.
The feature race on day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival is the Champion Hurdle – the first of the ‘Championship’ races across the Festival.
There have been some flagship winners of the Champion Hurdle including Hatton’s Grace, Persian War, Hurricane Fly and Istabraq.
Last year, there was a winning favourite when Epatante won the race for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty.
In 2020, there were some big odds winners as part of the Cheltenham Festival day 1 tips and that including a 14/1 winner and 10/1 winner.
When picking ante-post bets, you can always look to get good value but it is important to use the correct bookmakers for betting on the Cheltenham day 1 tips.
The first race of the Cheltenham Festival and traditional curtain raiser is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Get a winner here and our Cheltenham Festival day 1 tips are off to a flyer! Here we see the best young hurdles over 2 miles. The race is always dominated by a fierce betting heat in the build-up as people try and get the best value for their bets. Shishkin took the race last year in a great battle with Abacadabras and the two are expected to meet in the 2021 Champion Hurdle.
The pace is always a fierce one and it is one of the most thrilling races on the whole Cheltenham Festival card. Will it be advantageous bookies or punters after race 1?
This race normally throws up a superstar with the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Un de Sceaux, Douvan and Altior winning in recent years. 2021 could be another year where a superstar confirms his status as Shishkin looks to win the Grade 1 race.
This race pits together the best 2m novice chasers and the gallop is always fast and furious. It is one of the better races for betting on favourites during Cheltenham week so is Shishkin your idea of a Cheltenham Festival banker?
The first handicap of 2021 Cheltenham Festival week is the first real-time to have a strong each-way punt. The race is run on the old course and normally throws up some Grand National prospects. The 3-mile trip takes some getting and it is normally the strong stayers that come out on top.
The first Championship race of the week is the Champion Hurdle and there have been countless memorable renewals. 2018 saw Buveur D’air retrain his crown ahead of Melon and Mick Jazz, to the delight of punters who backed the strong 4/6 favourite. The hill is normally where the race changes as horses who come off the pace come into their own.
This is one of those races where it is a nightmare for punters to bet ante-post. Hopefully, the new declaration rules will help but none the less, it is a tough betting heat. Three years ago we had the debacle surrounding Limini and Vroom Vroom Mag with Rich Ricci not deciding which race they would run in.
Willie Mullins has dominated this race with superstar Quevega, Glen’s Melody in that infamous Annie Power fall race and then Vroom Vroom Mag in 2016. Apple’s Jade was a beaten 1/2 favourite in 2019 and Benie Des Dieux was turned over at 4/6 in 2020.
The penultimate race on Cheltenham Festival day 1 is the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle. The Boodles Juvenile Hurdle has been moved to day 1, this is the race formerly known as the Fred Winter.
Since the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle was added to the Festival programme in 2005, trainers Gordon Elliott and Paul Nicholls have both saddled three winners apiece, so it is no surprise that Duffle Coat (16/1) and Hacker Des Places (16/1) feature prominently in the ante-post lists.
It isn’t uncommon for the favourite to be a double-figure price so it’s another good chance to get a winning each-way bet. It is run over 2 and half miles. Only two favourites have ever won this race.
This race is run over 3m 7f and is the most gruelling of tests for the horses. It is a race that looks suited to stayers, but any sort of pace can take the finish out of them. When betting on the National Hunt Chase, look for jockeys with experience as it is confined to amateur jockeys. It is one of the hardest betting heats on day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival so it’s also worth delving into the each way markets.
The opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is highlighted by the Champion Hurdle, due off at 3.30pm. You can see a list of the main contenders below and our prediction for the race at this ante-post stage. Epatante is still the favourite despite a recent loss but Sharjah is one of the most popular ante-post selections for Willie Mullins.
Epatante is still the best horse in the race but this season has shown that the top hurdlers fancied for the Champion Hurdle can show significant weakness.
Having won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle superbly at Newcastle in November, she was made a short-priced favourite for the Champion Hurdle.
But the mare was beaten by the reliable Silver Streak in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton after a bold ride from Adam Wedge.
Despite being beaten, Epatante is still mightily impressive. Henderson’s mare will always have that electric turn of foot and the ability to breeze past top-class opposition.
It is important not to overlook Silver Streak, who became the first horse to overcome Epatante since the mare finished ninth in the Mare’s Novices Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham festival.
Silver Streak was narrowly beaten by Song For Someone in the Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham, after a great ride from Adam Wedge.
The grey finished third in the 2019 Champion Hurdle at big odds, this horse is reliable and his current price of 11/1 for the Champion Hurdle is a tempting one.
Trainer Evan Williams has a plucky and gritty hurdler here with plenty of form at Cheltenham and the horse will hope for dry ground when next appearing in the Champion Hurdle.
Owner JP McManus has a strong hand in the Champion Hurdle with Irish-trained Saint Roi also a leading fancy.
But Saint Roi has been disappointing this season, he was well beaten by Sharjah in the Matheson Hurdle last time out, the horse couldn’t find anything extra when shaken by jockey Mark Walsh.
Walsh said that he wanted to sit a bit longer before asking Saint Roi for an effort but the horse went for it too early.
Saint Roi still has plenty of class and much like Epatante, this Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old has form at Cheltenham, having won last season’s County Hurdle.
Sharjah was sublime in the Matheson Hurdle last time out at Leopardstown, winning the race for the third time in a row.
Jockey Patrick Mullins gave the horse a superb ride when finishing second in last year’s Champion Hurdle, having come from the back of the field.
Patrick Mullins loves riding this horse which has experienced much misfortune in the Champion Hurdle, he was brought down in the race in 2019.
This could be the year Sharjah finally gets it right at Cheltenham and the Irish Champion Hurdle could be the next time we see this eight-year-old, who is a member of the impressive list of horses owned by the Ricci family.
Aspire Tower is another interesting contender from Ireland who has proven he can mix it with the sport’s top hurdlers.
Trained by Henry De Bromhead, the five-year-old won the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal in October, beating Abacadabras by four and a half lengths.
This form was backed up by finishing second to Sharjah in the Matheson Hurdle, beating more top horses and proving his competitive credentials.
Aspire Tower is younger than most of his potential rivals here, which could mean that even if this is not his year at Cheltenham, his day could be soon around the corner.
Abacadabras is a mercurial horse, his form suggests both that he can take on top hurdlers but also be blown away by them.
The horse and its rider seemed to have last year’s Supreme Novice’s Hurdle wrapped up before Shishkin ground out an incredible victory.
But Gordon Elliott’s seven-year-old hung on to beat Saint Roi and Jason The Militant in the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown this season, which was the horse’s second Grade One honours over hurdles.
Despite being a dual Grade One-winning hurdler, Abacadabras then finished 24 lengths behind Sharjah in the Matheson Hurdle last time out.
The ups and downs of his form make Abacadabras a difficult horse to back but his career has shown there is great ability to be unleashed.
It was announced that dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’air holds an entry in this year’s renewal, providing great excitement for race fans.
Henderson recently commented on how good he looked at home and he will be looking for a Champion Hurdle hat-trick in March.
Epatante is the best horse in the Champion Hurdle entries and despite the setback at Christmas, the mare is still a clear favourite to retain her crown.
If Sharjah can get a better running position in the field this year, he could pose a serious threat but the rest of the top contenders need to iron out their inconsistencies to rival Epatante’s pace and precision.
WIN BET – Epatante: 9/4 with bet365.
DANGER – Sharjah: 8/1 with bet365.