Who Are the Market Leaders for the Feature Races at Cheltenham 2021?
The strength of the Cheltenham Festival has always been showcased by the depth of quality in its racecards. By that, we mean the focus of the festival is not on an individual race, but 28 of them, including 14 Grade 1 events. That has helped make Cheltenham the undisputed highlight of the jumps racing season, arguably surpassing the Grand National as the top event in British racing.
Nevertheless, there are four races that catch the eye more than others – the so-called feature races. The Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and, of course, the Cheltenham Gold Cup are the main courses of the festival banquet, so to speak. Horses who have won these races have their names etched in racing history – Golden Miller, Arkle, Best Mate, Sprinter Sacre, and Faugheen. But who are the the horses clamouring to make history this year? Below we look at the market leaders in the Cheltenham Festival betting odds for the four feature races in 2021:
*All odds supplied by 888sport and correct at the time of writing
Who is the leading contender for the Champion Hurdle 2021?
Epatante, who won the 2020 Champion Hurdle, is favourite to win again in 2021. The JP McManus-owned 7-year-old has been the horse to beat over hurdles over the last couple of years, but some punters will have been given pause for thought after Epatante was beaten last time out at Kempton. Still, he remains a worth favourite at 2/1. But Silver Streak, who defeated Epatante over Christmas, and Sharjah, last year’s Champion Hurdle runner up, both have strong claims.
Who is the leading contender for the Champion Chase 2021?
The clearest favourite on this list, Chacun Pour Soi is 5/4 to win the Champion Chase. The record books will show that Chacun Pour Soi has yet to appear at Cheltenham, but he did in fact make it to the festival year only to be pulled from the event due to an abscess found on race day. Nonetheless, Willie Mullins, his trainer, will fancy that Chacun Pour Soi has the capacity to land a maiden Champion Chase for the Irishman at Cheltenham. The Champion Chase is one of the few events Mullins has never won, but Chacun Pour Soi might be his best chance in years.
Who is the leading contender for the Stayers Hurdle 2021
The first race without a clear favourite. Paisley Park (11/4) get the marginal nod from most bookmakers, but Thyme Hill (7/2) is in close pursuit in the betting markets. This is an intriguing clash between two horses that have traded blows over the winter period. Thyme Hill beat Paisley Park by just over a length at Newbury in November. But Paisley Park got his win back at Kempton in late December, yet only be a neck. It’s a toss-up between two fantastic long-distance hurdlers.
Who is the leading contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021?
Al Boum Photo (10/3) is the market leader, with the Willie Mullins-trained horse gunning for this third-successive Gold Cup victory. Those who fancy Al Boum Photo’s chances will be buoyed by the patchy form of the other leading contenders in the race, including Santini, Minella Indo and A Plus Tard. Indeed, it’s not that Al Boum Photo has set to the world alight – he has had one routine victory in his only outing since last year – it’s that he hasn’t done anything wrong. Al Boum Photo is a worthy favourite, but there are several horses who could beat him if the stars align. It’s worth remembering that the just a couple of lengths separated the first four home in the Gold Cup last year. This will be no procession for Al Boum Photo.