Betting Tips and Previews: Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival Day One Preview

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Welcome to Champions Day! The opening day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival may not have the customary opening roar, well not a real one anyway, but that takes nothing away from what is set to be an absolute belter of typical Cheltenham betting frenzy and top championship National Hunt Racing!


The Champion Hurdle dominates proceedings which includes an enthralling three way tussle between the two mares Honeysuckle and Epatante, with the resurgent Goshen also in the mix.

We’ll preview the six televised ITV races and give you our carefully assessed tips with best odds from our partner firms. 


Don’t forget to check out our Best Bets for Cheltenham Festival 2021 predictions here!

So without further ado, let’s check out the race schedule for today!



1320 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle ITV (Grade 1) 2m½f (2m87y) Winner: £52,753

1355 The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase ITV (Grade 1) 2m (1m7f199y) (Class 1) Winner: £73,854

1430 The Ultima Handicap Chase ITV (Grade 3) 3m 1f Winner: £46,423

1505 THE UNIBET CHAMPION HURDLE ITV (Grade 1) 2m½f (2m87y) Winner: £189,911

1550 The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle ITV (Grade 1) 2m4f (2m3f200y) Winner: £50,643

1615 The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle ITV (Grade 3) 2m½f (2m87y) Winner: £33,762

1650 The Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices' Chase Racing TV (Grade 2) 3m6f (3m5f201y) Winner: £52,753


For the first time, ITV 1 HD will be showing the first SIX races lives on TV and you can catch the last race on Racing TV. You can also watch races live with our partner firms bet365, William Hill, Betfred, Bet Victor, Coral and Boylesports providing you have placed a bet of £1 or more on the race you wish to watch.


Cheltenham Racecourse have predicted a significant change in the going and it is now set on Tuesday to be soft, good to soft in places (from good to soft) on all courses.


1320 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle

An each way bonanza 8 runner renewal for this year’s 2 mile novice hurdle championship. Appreciate It is a warm order (5/4 bet365, William Hill) for Willie Mullins and looks set to take all the beating after winning 2 Grade 1’s in Ireland. Soaring Glory’s (15/2 Bet Victor) recent victory in The Betfair Chase strongly suggests he represents the best each way value.

SELECTION: Appreciate It

1355 The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase

This race was without doubt the Britain v Ireland super match of the week until the Willie Mullins trained Energumene was withdrawn last weekend, leaving the race at the mercy of last year’s narrow winner of The Supreme Novices, Shishkin (1/2 bet365, William Hill, Bet Victor).

Very hard to see past this progressive Nicky Henderson trained novice chasing superstar.


1430 The Ultima Handicap Chase

The first handicap of the week is as competitive as ever. Happygolucky (Bet Victor 7/2) for Kim Bailey leads the market but seems a very short price for a race that is notoriously difficult to win and the fact that only 2 favourites have obliged since 1977.

Therefore, as the Dan Skelton team have had a tremendous season thus far, we fancy the chances of Alnadam (11/1 Bet Victor) who stayed on well last time out at Sandown and looks like he can handle a test of stamina like this.




The feature race of the day is an absolute humdinger and arguably one of the most competitive in recent seasons. Check out our detailed preview here.

At one stage, it looked like a straight match between the two talented mares, Honeysuckle (7/4 bet365, William Hill, Betfred, Coral) and reigning champion Epatante (4/1 bet365, Bet Victor, Coral) until Goshen landed The Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton in fine fashion to add himself to a fascinating three-way epic tussle.

The mares do retain the 7ib weight allowance of course. Despite the drifting in the market and her poor run in The Christmas Hurdle, Epatante is our selection to retain her crown: Nicky Henderson has a superb record of getting his horses right for The Cheltenham Festival and we just feel that Epatante might just tap Honeysuckle for pace in the dying strides, despite the former’s brilliant Irish Champion Hurdle triumph.


1550 The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle

The market strongly predicts a match between the Skelton trained Roksana (11/4 Betfred) who won this previously in 2019 and Concertista (11/8 bet365, William Hill) trained by Willie Mullins. Concertista is preferred due to being able to handle the distance and Mullins’ record in this record is near impeccable.

SELECTION: Concertista

1615 The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Joint favourites Hous Grix (5/1 bet365) and Saint Sam (11/2 Bet Victor) for Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins respectively head the market but we fancy the Paul Nicholls second string Hell Red as a decent value long shot bet (40/1 bet365, Bet Victor) to cause a major upset.

He really impressed with a resounding win at Chepstow back in October, prompting talk of a Triumph Hurdle crack but failed to live up to expectations subsequently over unsuitable surfaces. However, he needs better ground to perform to his best and he may well get this with 2 straight dry days forecasted.



1320 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle: APPRECIATE IT (WIN)
1355 The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase: SHISHKIN (WIN)
1430 The Ultima Handicap Chase: ALNADAM (e/w)
1550 The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle: CONCERTISTA (WIN)
1615 The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle: HELL RED (e/w)

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Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (7:30pm 15th March 2021) and are subject to change.

Matt is Howtobet4free's resident Horse Racing expert, writer, tipster and a huge Cheltenham Festival fan. He occasionally dabbles in Golf, Football and anything else you can gamble on!

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