Betting Tips and Previews: Cheltenham Festival

Epatante, Honeysuckle & Goshen Set To Star In Epic Champion Hurdle Clash



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(3.3 minutes read)

After reigning champion Epatante’s superb Fighting Fifth seasonal reappearance last autumn, the Champion Hurdle market seemed to indicate confidently a repeat success for the Seven Barrows trained mare for the 2021 Champion Hurdle.

However, the plot has certainly thickened in recent months as the Henry De Bromhead trained Mares Hurdle winner from last year Honeysuckle has proved herself more than capable of competing in the senior division after her Mares Hurdle glory last season.

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And after some early season hiccups, the Triumph Hurdle last flight drama king Goshen has finally demonstrated his exciting potential to become a respectable contender in what could be the most explosive Champion Hurdle in recent seasons.

We will assess the chances of these three juggernauts as well checking out the current best odds from our partner firms.

bet365 is now offering best odds guaranteed for all the Cheltenham Festival races so we will highlight all their current odds.

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EPATANTE

The news from Seven Barrows regarding Nicky Henderson’s reigning champion is certainly positive. Speaking to The Racing Post, the eight times winner of The Champion Hurdle reported Epatante to be in fine fettle ahead of her title defence, after the disappointment of her Christmas Hurdle defeat to Silver Streak:

We’ve ironed a few things out. She had a bit of a sore back and we've had that treated. She had a little bit more than physio. I don't know if that was all that was wrong at Kempton but she wasn't comfortable for whatever reason. She has always been a bit rigid."

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The frustration of the Kempton run was really put down to higher expectations after such a blistering performance in The Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.

I think there is a very strong case to be made for Epatante especially with a change in the going and if she can replicate the Newcastle run. She is therefore our selection at 7/2 best with William Hill (Full ante post rules applies). 7/2 with NRNB can be obtained through Betfred. Also available at 4/1 with bet365 including Best Odds Guaranteed and NRNB.

UPDATED Odds - Monday March 15th - 3pm. Best price 9/2 

HONEYSUCKLE

After a mundane winning effort in the Hatton Grace hurdle last autumn, the Henry De Bromhead trained super mare subsequently blasted her critics away with a pulsating display in the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle last month.

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Jumping her hurdles with economic precision and demonstrating a great turn of foot, she powered home making Abracadabras back in second look very ordinary indeed. It is of no surprise that Honeysuckle finds herself at the head of affairs in the betting market (5/2 Betfred NRNB or 2/1 bet365 with Best Odds Guaranteed and NRNB).

My only doubt would be a lively surface, which would probably favour Epatante. Either way, this could be an epic showdown of the best mare hurdlers in UK and Ireland.

UPDATED Odds - Monday March 15th - 3pm. Best price 15/8 

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GOSHEN

The romantics and those who love a good Cheltenham Festival story will be willing this Gary Moore trained enigma up the hill with all their hearts and passion.

After last season’s unforgettable capsize at the last fence in The Triumph Hurdle with the race at his mercy, Goshen comes to the renewal of this big senior championship with a renewed sense of confidence and determination after what has been a very questionable season.

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This new surge of optimism comes off the back of a resounding win in the Kingwell Hurdle recently at Wincanton where he had his rivals off the bridle from some way out, including Song For Someone who had previously beaten Goshen at Cheltenham.

However, the weight allowance in favour of the mares is a considerable concern and he therefore will need to improve further to trouble the two market leaders.

4/1 best with Betfair, Betfred NRNB or 3/1 with bet365 BEST ODDS GUARANTEED and NRNB.

UPDATED Odds - Monday March 15th - 3pm. Best price 4/1 

THE REST

Abracadabras (14/1 bet365, Best Odds Guaranteed, NRNB), Silver Streak (14/1 bet365, Best Odds Guaranteed, NRNB) and Sharjah (14/1 bet365, Best Odds Guaranteed, NRNB) all need to make significant improvements to trouble the top three market leaders.

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However, Buveur D’Air at 25/1 (bet365, Best Odds Guaranteed, NRNB) makes outstanding each way value for an entry who has won the event twice previously and is reported to be in good form according to trainer Nicky Henderson.

Some firms may offer 4 places each way on the day which will certainly improve the horse’s value in that respect.

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RECAP

Epatante gets a very marginal call in this fascinating battle of the mares. I just feel she will be the one to cope with a change in the going and be able to perform to her best on a sound surface: the long-term weather forecast indicates much drier conditions with only occasional light showers, which may be key.

EPATANTE TO WIN
7/2 William Hill (Full ante post rules apply)
7/2 Betfred (NRNB)
4/1 bet365 (Best Odds Guaranteed, NRNB)

UPDATED Odds - Monday March 15th - 3pm. Best price now 4/1 

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William Hill are paying 5 PLACES in the Champion Hurdle (3:05 Cheltenham tomorrow). And are also paying Best Odds Guaranteed on the race.

MORE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL!

Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (5pm 4th 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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