*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change
It’s finally here. The week we’ve all been waiting for. Sure, COVID-19 has made it a miserable 12 months but we can now kick back and enjoy four days of racing royalty battling it out at Prestbury Park. The opening day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival sees a flurry of high-quality hurdling action peppered with three chases.
What better way to start than with the double hit of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Chase. The Ultima Handicap Chase follows before the feature race, the Champion Hurdle, won last year by the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante. She faces a real battle to defend her crown from last year’s Mares’ Hurdle winner Honeysuckle and the back-on-form Goshen.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL: DATES, RACE TIMES AND TIPS FROM OUR EXPERTS
That means we’ll have a new winner in the Mares’ Hurdle unless 2019 champion Roksana can make a successful return to the race before the day’s penultimate renewal, the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. The Grade 2 National Hunt Chase rounds off the action. You can check out all the day’s runners and riders by taking a look at our snazzy racecards.
DON’T MISS: CHELTENHAM TIPS – OUR PUNDITS’ CHEAT SHEET FOR ALL WEDNESDAY’S RACES
Generous Uncle Paddy is giving away FREE £/€5 bet to every Paddy Power punter for the opening race of the day – and we’ve also got you covered with top tips from Ruby Walsh, the greatest jockey in Cheltenham history. Don’t forget, you can watch all 28 races at this year’s Festival live on paddypower.com and through the Paddy Power app.
- DON’T MISS OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN CHECK OUT ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS
TUESDAY MARCH 16 – CHAMPION DAY
13:20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y
Ruby Walsh: “APPRECIATE IT looks rock solid here. He’s only been beaten once, and that was by Ferny Hollow in last year’s Champion Bumper.”
13.55 – Arkle Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y
Ruby Walsh: “It looks a two-horse race to me between Shishkin and Allmankind. SHISHKIN has the strongest form, will in behind and pounce.”
14.30 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f
Ruby Walsh: “Frank Hickey sold HAPPYGOLUCKY for me when we discussed this race last week. I sat and listened to him and he solid it to me. Happygolucky was an unlucky fourth in last year’s Martin Pipe.”
15.05 – Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y
Ruby Walsh: “If I was given a ride in this year’s race I would choose HONEYSUCKLE. She has been better than ever this season and her performance blew me away in the Irish Champion Hurdle.”
15.40 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y
Ruby Walsh: “CONCERTISTA won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle last season at Cheltenham but ROKSANA has stronger form in my opinion. It’s one I’m happy to watch.”
16.15 – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y
Ruby Walsh:“SAINT SAM stays strong, he’ll be coming home and as long as he doesn’t get much shorter he’s an each-way price.”
16.50 – National Hunt Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y
Ruby Walsh: “I fancy NEXT DESTINATION. I’d say he’s my best bet of the day. He was head and shoulders above these as a hurdle horse.”
Cheltenham Day 2 Tips
- Pundits’ Cheat Sheet for all Wednesday’s races
- Ruby Walsh’s Cheat Sheet for Wednesday’s renewals
- Mick Fitzgerald’s best bets for Day 2
- Frank Hickey’s best bets for all 7 races on Wednesday
- Timeform’s slick picks for every race on Day 2
*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.
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- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh’s cheat sheet for all 4 days
- Cheltenham tips: Mick Fitzgerald’s 5 to thrive in 2021
- Cheltenham tips: Championship races cheat sheet for the Festival