Cheltenham Festival Runners: Pick up Your Winner 2021

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The 2021 Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner, and there are a host of Festival runners to keep an eye on. The Gold Cup is the main event on Friday March 19th and if you want to know which runners are amongst the favourites in 2021, this article will focus on them.

Our Top 10 Cheltenham Gold Cup Favourite

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Al Boum Photo

Trainer: Willie Mullins, Jockey: Paul Townend, Age: 9
Two-time defending champion Al Boum Photo is the horse that finally ended Willie Mullins' pursuit of the Blue Ribband in 2019 and, 12 months ago, he was strongest at the finish in prevailing by a neck from Santini to retain his crown. As he did last season, Al Boum Photo has had just a single prep-race for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, winning as he pleased at Tramore on New Year's Day. Everything appears to have gone smoothly for his hat-trick bid as he seeks to emulate Cheltenham greats such as Golden Miller, Arkle and Best Mate by landing three Gold Cups in a row.
3/1
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A Plus Tard

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead, Jockey: Rachel Blackmore, Age: 7
A Plus Tard is a festival winner already, routing the opposition in the Close Brothers Novices' Chase in 2019. He enjoyed a fine first season in open company last term, including a Grade 1 defeat of Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown over Christmas, before finishing a close third in the Ryanair Chase at this meeting. On his most recent start he produced a stirring late run under stand-in jockey Darragh O'Keefe to collar subsequent Irish Gold Cup winner Kemboy and take out the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. He must prove his stamina for the 3m2f Gold Cup trip come March, while he's also set to give jockey Rachel Blackmore a decision to make as trainer Henry De Bromhead also has Minella Indo in the picture for this prestigious race.
7/1
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Royale Pagaille

Trainer: Venetia Williams, Jockey: Charlie Deutsch, Age: 7
Royale Pagaille has been one of the emerging stars of the season in Britain and looks a solid Gold Cup contender after wins at Kempton and Haydock. He easily won a novice contest over 2m5½f at Haydock in December before sluicing up on handicap debut at Kempton (3m) over Christmas from an opening mark of 140. He defied a 16lb ratings-hike with a demolition job in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase at Haydock in January. His best form has come on heavy ground, which may be something of a concern for connections in time. Should he take out the Gold Cup, he would give owner Rich Ricci his maiden victory in the Blue Ribband after many years of trying.
10/1
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Santini

Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Jockey: Nico De Boinville; Age: 9
Denied by just a neck in last year's Gold Cup as Al Boum Photo retained the mantle, Santini looks set to return for a second bite at the crown. However, he'll do so having failed to win in three starts this season at Aintree, Kempton and Sandown. There were mitigating reasons for defeat in the first two of those outings but his February third behind Native River and Bristol De Mai in the re-routed Cotswolds Chase was a major disappointment. The Gold Cup trip may once more bring out the best in the dour stayer, but it might come to pass that Santini's first opportunity in the race will prove to have been his best.
14/1
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Champ

Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Jockey: Aidan Coleman; Age: 9
Winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup has been the aim from day one for a horse owner JP McManus named in honour of 20-times champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy. He was denied in the 2019 Ballymore over hurdles and looked set for more Festival heartache last spring before he and Barry Geraghty sprouted wings after the final jump to come and claim Minella Indo and Allaho in an unforgettable finish to the RSA Chase. He looks to have the stamina for the Gold Cup and is very lightly-raced for a nine-year-old - perhaps too lightly-raced to be landing a Gold Cup in 2021 given his relative lack of chasing experience. Like McCoy however, it would be churlish to write him off.
12/1
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Native River

Trainer: Colin Tizzard, Jockey: Richard Johnson, Age: 11
The 2018 Gold Cup hero, Native River famously beat off Might Bite after what became a pure duel over more than three-miles around the Cotswolds in a stunning renewal of this race. Unlike the now-retired Might Bite, that race didn't seem to leave a telling mark on Colin Tizzard's star. He issued a timely reminder of his abilities when winning the Cotswold Chase at Sandown Park in early February, breaking the will of his rivals from the front - as is his wont. Richard Johnson's partner is clearly still willing, but the sands of time are truly against him becoming only the second horse ever to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup having won it and lost it previously. Not since 1969 has any horse older than 10-years-old won this famous race.
16/1
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Frodon

Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Jockey: Bryony Frost, Age: 9
Ryanair Chase winners together in 2019, having won the Cotswold Chase that same season, Frodon and Bryony Frost simply love Cheltenham, with the sport's most recognisable female rider on board for five of Frodon's six Prestbury Park career victories. At Christmas, they stole the show with a gallant front-running masterclass to win the Grade 1 King George VI Chase at Kempton, leaving the likes of Clan Des Obeaux, Santini, Cyrname and more floundering in their wake. That appears enough to have convinced champion trainer-elect Paul Nicholls that the fantastic Frodon could be the horse to give him his first Gold Cup triumph since Kauto Star's second win in 2009. It would make for some tale should Frost and 'the dude' fight off the challengers up the hill.
16/1
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Kemboy

Trainer: Willie Mullins, Jockey: Danny Mullins; Age: 9
He won the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival in early February under Danny Mullins and Kemboy could be part of Willie Mullins's Gold Cup squad again. He unseated in the 2019 renewal and was some 12-lengths behind stablemate Al Boum Photo in finishing seventh last year. He's now 0-4 at the Cheltenham Festival, with his best effort being fourth in the 2018 JLT (Marsh) Novices Chase won by Shattered Love. His most polished performances have come from the front and whether or not he can find a way to dictate with the likes of Frodon and Native River in the mix remains to be seen.
16/1
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Minella Indo

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead, Jockey: Unknown, Age: 8
Narrowly denied by Champ in that RSA Chase last spring, 2019 Albert Bartlett winner Minella Indo thrust his name into the Gold Cup mix with impressive wins at Wexford and Navan to launch his second season as a chaser for Henry De Bromhead. He was favourite for the Savills Chase at Christmas but fell after a novicey mistake mid-race and there was more heartache for favourite-backers in the Irish Gold Cup back at Leopardstown in early February, once more his progress checked irretrievably by a mistake at the second last as Kemboy won and Minella Indo finished fourth of five. Rachel Blackmore has been on board for all bar his debut run under rules but she faces an agonising decision now, with De Bromhead also likely to fire Savills Chase winner A Plus Tard at the Gold Cup target.
20/1
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Lostintranslation

Trainer: Colin Tizzard, Jockey: Robbie Power, Age: 9
Winner of the 2019 Betfair Chase, Lostintranslation put up a career-best when finishing third behind Al Boum Photo and Santini in the Gold Cup last March. He appeared to have signalled that the future remained very bright for his hopes as a Grade 1 staying chaser with that run. He was all but pulled up on his seasonal comeback in the Betfair Chase having started 7-4 favourite in November and then was pulled up by Robbie Power in the King George on Boxing Day. If there are any positives from the season thus far, it's got to be said that Colin Tizzard's horses were underperforming through the winter and, as spring arrived, there has been a definite upturn in their fortunes. The Dorset handler knows how to ready a contender for this race and Lostintranslation certainly remains with plenty of time on his side to get back on track.
25/1
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*All odds are subject to change. Last update 17/02/2020 (Source: oddschecker)

Cheltenham Festival Runners for Gold Cup 2021

Once again, the Cheltenham Festival incorporates St. Patrick’s Day. So, while visitors are not allowed this year, there will once again be millions in bets flowing from Ireland. Prize money is huge at Cheltenham. In fact, as a racing festival, its prize fund sits second only to Royal Ascot in June.

Many stables specifically target the Cheltenham Festival, with the reputations of the runners very much at stake. Gold Cup winners in particular enter racing folklore after they land the Blue Riband event.

Despite its four days of racing magic, the Festival’s final day is the one everyone looks forward to. The Gold Cup is the entire seasonal highlight for National Hunt enthusiasts, taking place on the Friday of the meeting.

With this as the highlight of the week, Festival runners are all treated as great betting options. Bookmakers respond in kind, money-back offers, non-runner no bet deals and free bets all being promoted. Your bookie of course publishes the terms and conditions of each deal.

Cheltenham festival runners make for great betting options. Offers like money-back guarantee, NRNB, fair play, ante-post betting, free odds, free bets, and many bonuses are quite popular. The bookmaker of your choice provides the terms and conditions for every bonus offer.

About the Gold Cup

Known as the highest quality and most sought-after race of the season, the Gold Cup is the target for all UK and Irish stables. This year, Gold Cup day falls on Friday, March 19th.

Gold Cup runners will have been prepared superbly for a race that is immersed in history. The event having been run since the 1800s with the modern version on the calendar since 1924.

A Grade 1 race, there are 22 fences to take around 3¼ miles of the tough New Course at Cheltenham with runners chasing a total of £468,000 in prize money.

Cheltenham Festival Runners 2021 — Quick Facts

The Cheltenham Festival is a once-a-year jump racing spectacular. During the four days of action there are 28 races, seven each day, with four of them being ‘championship’ events. Those are the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and the Gold Cup.

The Champion Hurdle is run on day one, Tuesday, March 16th, and is staged over two miles. Although the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is one of the biggest betting events, opening the entire week.

Day two’s feature race is also a two-miler, this time over fences for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Many Arkle winners (day one) return to have a crack at this race as mature horses with the Champion Chase this year being worth some £300,000.

The second half of the week is about the Stayers. The Stayers’ Hurdle in fact is the main race on Thursday, the three-mile event being the making of hurdling legends. Another £240k is up for grabs in this event.

The last day is the big one, Gold Cup day. Friday, March 19th is the date this time around for the £468,000 Gold Cup, run over 3 miles, 2½ furlongs of the New Course which makes it not only the highest quality race on show, but also the hardest to win.

Gold Cup winners, even in achieving the feat just once, are immediately immortalised within the industry with the names of past winners such as Arkle, Dawn Run, Best Mate and Kauto Star rolling off the tongue.

Gold Cup Runners 2020 Results

Friday, March 13th 2020 saw the 92nd running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the last day of the Festival. Just a year after landing his very first Gold Cup, trainer Willie Mullins was successful again with his Al Boum Photo.

In winning the race, Al Boum Photo became the first dual winner since Kauto Star in 2009. Now, it looks to become the first triple champions since Best Mate who won this in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Al Boum Photo’s time was 6 minutes, 50.38 seconds which was impressive in the good-to-soft conditions. Plus, it meant a second win for not only the horse but also for Mullins, jockey Paul Townend and owner Joe Donnelly.

Here are last year’s top five finishers in the Gold Cup, three of them still being top contenders in 2021:

  1. Al Boum Photo
  2. Santini
  3. Lostintranslation
  4. Monalee
  5. Delta Work

An important betting angle in the Gold Cup is looking at the trainers. With that in mind, bet365 provides the opportunity to bet on the top trainers at this year’s Cheltenham Festival:

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