Who Can Make History at Cheltenham 2020?
The nature and prestige of the Cheltenham Festival ensure that every win, every failure, every near miss and every fall enters the history books. However, there are always plenty of noteworthy occurrences that stick in the memory longer than others. Indeed, at the 2020 festival, there is a chance for some horses, trainers and jockeys to make history. Below we look at some of the potential achievements that we might witness next month:
Five in a row for Altior?
Nobody can touch Quevega’s record (2009-2014) of six consecutive festival victories yet, but we could be entertaining that notion next year if Altior lands the Queen Mother Champion Chase. At the moment, he is 3/1 to land his third consecutive Champion Chase (it would tie Badsworth Boy for that record) but finds himself in the unfamiliar territory of not being favourite (Defi Du Seuil leads the market at 7/4). Adding a third Champion Chase to his 2016 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and 2017 Arkle victories would be remarkable, and possibly set up one of the races of the century next year to hunt down Quevega’s record.
Seventh Heaven for Henderson?
Nicky Henderson currently has six victories in the Champion Chase, tied with the legendary Tom Dreaper in the prestigious two-miler. If Altior wins, then Henderson will be out on his own with seven. Of course, it doesn’t need to be Altior, but it would be something of a surprise if Henderson’s other entry – the 50/1 shot Janika – lands him that seventh Champion Chase. On the other hand, Paul Nicholl’s sends several decent horses into the race, including an interesting candidate in 25/1 chance (Betfair) Dynamite Dollars, and he will equal Dreaper and Henderson with six wins if he succeeds.
A Five-Year Wait for a Hat-Trick?
Three-time winners at the Cheltenham Festival are rightly venerated, but there will be a lot of money going on Faugheen to win the Marsh Novices’ Chase five years after his Champion Hurdle triumph. Faugheen, who can be backed with the latest free bets for Cheltenham Festival at Freebets.co.uk, is a tidy 6/1 to win the opener on St Patrick’s Thursday. However, there is another less conspicuous runner aiming for a hat-trick this year – Don Poli. Winner of the Martin Pipe in 2014 and the RSA Chase in 2015 (under Willie Mullins’ tutelage), Don Poli has had several changes of trainer in the last couple of years and can be currently found winning low-key point to points. It would be remarkable if he could land the Foxhunters’ Chase on Gold Cup Day. He’s 20/1 with Bet365 to do so.
Can Tiger Roll Eclipse Altior?
Altior is not alone in trying to become a five-time Cheltenham winner, as Tiger Roll will also start as 5/4 favourite for the Cross Country Chase in pursuit of his fifth win at the festival. The wins weren’t consecutive, of course, stretching back to the Triumph Hurdle in 2014. Tiger Roll added the National Hunt Chase in 2017, as well as the Cross Country Chase in 2018 and 2019. However, punters should be cautious as his trainer Gordon Elliott has advised caution over his fitness. Moreover, you would imagine that all the energy is going to be pointed towards another piece of history – winning a third Grand National in April.