Cheltenham Festival: Dates, race times and tips from Paddy Power experts

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Cheltenham Festival

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The Cheltenham Festival 2021 takes place between Tuesday March 16 and Friday March 19 – and we can’t wait for four days of National Hunt heaven.

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A bumper 28-race schedule over four mouthwatering days of action awaits National Hunt fans. While there won’t be any punters in attendance (thanks coronavirus…), you’ll be able to watch from home and you won’t want to miss a second. Paddy Power News has rounded up all the key dates, race times and tips from our experts to keep you in the loop. You’re welcome!

TUESDAY MARCH 16 – CHAMPION DAY

What better way to start the Cheltenham Festival than with the double hit of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Chase. The opening day’s feature race is the Champion Hurdle – won last year by the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante. Can she see off the threat from Honeysuckle to defend her crown? Generous Uncle Paddy’s even giving away FREE £/€5 bet to every Paddy punter for the opening race of the day. Jurassic Park!

13:20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y

Ruby Walsh:APPRECIATE IT has the pace to win, he’s a good jumper and ticks all the right boxes”

FULL PREVIEW: SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE ANTEPOST TIPS FROM RUBY WALSH

BETTING: SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE LATEST ODDS

13.55 – Arkle Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y

Ruby Walsh: “I think SHISHKIN is the best horse in the race”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH’S ARKLE CHASE ANTEPOST TIPS

BETTING: ARKLE CHASE LATEST ODDS

14.30 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f

Frank Hickey: “The one I like is HAPPYGOLUCKY trained by Kim Bailey. I am very sweet on this one.”

FULL PREVIEW: ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE ANTEPOST TIPS FROM FRANK HICKEY

15.05 – Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y

Ruby Walsh: “Before Christmas I would have fancied Epatante but since the Irish Champion Hurdle, I would be all over HONEYSUCKLE”

FULL PREVIEW: CHAMPION HURDLE ANTEPOST TIPS FROM RUBY WALSH

Frank Hickey: “The Irish or Epatante will win the Champion Hurdle, and HONEYSUCKLE should be clear favourite and is the most likely winner”

FULL PREVIEW: CHAMPION HURDLE ANTEPOST PICKS REVEALED BY FRANK HICKEY

BETTING: CHAMPION HURDLE LATEST ODDS

15.40 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y

Ruby Walsh: “Concertista, Roksana and Dame De Compagnie are ahead of the others – but if one was going to break into the top three it’s probably GREAT WHITE SHARK”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH’S MARES’ HURDLE ANTEPOST BEST BETS

Frank Hickey: “We can’t ignore INDEFATIGABLE, who has a very decent Cheltenham record”

FULL PREVIEW: FRANK HICKEY’S MARES’ HURDLE ANTEPOST PICKS

BETTING: MARES’ HURDLE LATEST ODDS

16.15 – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y

Ruby Walsh: “I can see Saint Sam going to the Triumph so I would maybe tip up BUSSELTON for Joseph O’Brien”

Frank Hickey: “The one that stands out to me is HOUX GRIS for Paul Nicholls”

FULL PREVIEW: JUVENILE HANDICAP HURDLE ANTEPOST SELECTIONS FOR RUBY WALSH AND FRANK HICKEY

16.50 – National Hunt Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y

Ruby Walsh: “David Pipe’s horse, REMASTERED, won the Reynoldstown recently and although he is in a couple of handicaps, the races will start cutting up soon as people start seeing who will go where”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH’S NATIONAL HUNT CHASE ANTEPOST TIPS

WEDNESDAY MARCH 17 – LADIES DAY

The Queen Mother Champion Chase takes centre stage on the second day of racing. Politologue took advantage of the absences of Chacun Pour Soi and Altior to claim victory last year. The feature race is followed by the Cross Country Chase, which is set to see Grand National hero Tiger Roll take on Easysland after a 17l defeat last season. Once again, we’re dishing out a FREE £/€5 bet to every Paddy punter for the opening race of the day. Result!

13.20 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 5f

Ruby Walsh: “I’m a big fan of BOB OLINGER – he was good at Naas and I loved him at Navan”

Frank Hickey: “BEAR GHYLLS has a right engine if he can learn to jump better”

FULL PREVIEW: BALLYMORE NOVICES’ HURDLE ANTEPOST PICKS FROM RUBY WALSH AND FRANK HICKEY

BETTING: BALLYMORE NOVICES’ HURDLE LATEST ODDS

13.55 – Festival Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y

Ruby Walsh: “MONKFISH is a very polished chaser already, and he does everything that you would want a horse to do”

FULL PREVIEW: FESTIVAL NOVICES’ CHASE ANTEPOST TIPS FROM RUBY WALSHS

BETTING: FESTIVAL NOVICES’ CHASE LATEST ODDS

14.30 – Coral Cup (Grade 3) 2m 5f

Ruby Walsh: “The one I would give a chance to at a price is BIRCHDALE”

FULL PREVIEW: CORAL CUP ANTEPOST BEST BETS FROM RUBY WALSH

15.05 – Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y

Ruby Walsh: “CHACUN POUR SOI’s in great form and he looks the best in the field”

Frank Hickey: “I think NUBE NEGRA will have a right chance of definitely hitting the frame”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH AND FRANK HICKEY’S QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE ANTEPOST PICKS

BETTING: QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE LATEST ODDS

15.40 – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y

Ruby Walsh: “I’ll most certainly be siding with EASYSLAND”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH’S CROSS COUNTRY CHASE ANTEPOST PICK

16.15 – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 62y

Paul Jacobs: “This is a race which lends itself to finding the value with recent winners at 40/1, 20/1, 28/1 and 16/1 twice and I can see ZANZA running a huge race if he turns up on the day.”

FULL PREVIEW: 6 PICKS TO GET YOUR KICKS IN THE FESTIVAL HANDICAPS

16.50 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y

Ruby Walsh: “I have been a SIR GERHARD fan since I watched him winning at Down Royal and I don’t have any reason to change my mind”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH’S CHAMPION BUMPER ANTEPOST TIPS

BETTING: CHAMPION BUMPER LATEST ODDS

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THURSDAY MARCH 18 – ST PATRICK’S DAY

It’s only right that the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle features prominently on St Patrick’s Thursday at Cheltenham – so to celebrate we’re giving away a FREE £/€5 bet to every Paddy punter for any race. Simply click on the banner below to redeem the offer. The 2020 renewal produced a shock 50-1 winner as Lisnagar Oscar romped to glory but Paisley Park will be hoping to regain his crown.

13.20 – Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 168y

Ruby Walsh: “A relatively new race and the most perfect horse in training – ENVOI ALLEN – is an odds-on shot”

Frank Hickey: “You just can’t see any of the others beating ENVOI ALLEN”

FULL PREVIEW: MARSH NOVICES’ CHASE ANTEPOST TIPS FROM RUBY WALSH AND FRANK HICKEY

BETTING: MARSH NOVICES’ CHASE LATEST ODDS

13.55 – Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y

Ruby Walsh: “THE BOSSES OSCAR was second at Leopardstown and has been duly penalised for that. He runs off 151 when he could end up with a mark in the 160s.”

Frank Hickey: “I know the handicapper’s been harsh on THE BOSSES OSCAR but a claimer is set to be put up so he will have a huge chance”

FULL PREVIEW: PERTEMPS NETWORK FINAL ANTEPOST TIPS FROM RUBY WALSH AND FRANK HICKEY

EXPLAINED: PERTEMPS NETWORK FINAL QUALIFYING PLUS ODDS AND TIPS

14.30 – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y

Ruby Walsh: “MIN is a classier, speedier horse than Allaho”

Frank Hickey: “The one I can’t get away from is SAINT CALVADOS”

FULL PREVIEW: RYANAIR CHASE ANTEPOST PICKS FROM RUBY WALSH AND FRANK HICKEY

BETTING: RYANAIR CHASE LATEST ODDS

15.05 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y

Gina Bryce: “PAISLEY PARK showed his characteristic brilliance last time at Ascot”

FULL PREVIEW: GINA BRYCE’S TOP PICKS IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACES

Matt Chapman: “Although he ran deplorably in this race last year, PAISLEY PARK for me, is still the best stayer in the business”

FULL PREVIEW: MATT CHAPMAN’S 4 TO SCORE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACES

BETTING: PADDY POWER STAYERS’ HURDLE LATEST ODDS

15.40 – Paddy Power Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 4f 166y

Ruby Walsh: “The trip and pace of the race will suit FILS D’OUDAIRIES”

FULL PREVIEW: PADDY POWER PLATE ANTEPOST TIPS FROM RUBY WALSH

BETTING: PADDY POWER PLATE LATEST ODDS

16.15 – Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y

Ruby Walsh: “If I was riding, based on form, I would pick Hook Up but I do have a preference for ROYAL KAHALA”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH’S MARES’ NOVICES’ HURDLE ANTEPOST TIPS

Frank Hickey: “THE GLANCING QUEEN is without a doubt the best of the British and with no standout Irish contender in the race, she has every chance”

FULL PREVIEW: FRANK HICKEY’S MARES’ NOVICES’ HURDLE ANTEPOST TIPS

16.50 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup 3m 2f

Frank Hickey: “A 5lb rise for that isn’t excessive and I think DEISE ABA has got strong each-way claims”

FULL PREVIEW: FRANK HICKEY’S KIM MUIR ANTEPOST SELECTIONS

Min

FRIDAY MARCH 19 – GOLD CUP DAY

It’s all eyes on the Gold Cup for the final day of the Festival. Al Boum Photo made it back-to-back wins in the race last year – and the nine-year-old is expected to return for a third shot at glory. The card is stacked full of high-quality races including the JCB Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. There’s also the brand-spanking new Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase to keep you entertained.

13.20 – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y

Ruby Walsh: “I’m going to leave Zanahiyr on the betting front and say you should back QUILIXIOS because he has to run in this”

Frank Hickey: “TRITONIC is the one that could cause a little upset”

FULL PREVIEW: JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE ANTEPOST BEST BETS

BETTING: JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE LATEST ODDS

13.55 – County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y

Frank Hickey: “CIEL DE NEIGE has been peaking for this and I expect a much better run that last year”

FULL PREVIEW: COUNTY HURDLE ANTEPOST BEST BETS FROM FRANK HICKEY

14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y

Ruby Walsh: “BARBADOS BUCKS looks like he will stay forever – and then stay forever again”

Frank Hickey: “FAKIERA is just crying out for 3m and I would just love it if they stepped him up on his next start”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH AND FRANK HICKEY’S ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE ANTEPOST PICKS

BETTING: ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ CHASE LATEST ODDS

15.05 – Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y

Ruby Walsh: “It will not be straightforward, but AL BOUM PHOTO is the most likely winner”

FULL PREVIEW: GOLD CUP ANTEPOST TIP FROM RUBY WALSH

Frank Hickey: “AL BOUM PHOTO will take an awful lot of beating”

FULL PREVIEW: GOLD CUP ANTEPOST BEST BET FROM FRANK HICKEY

BETTING: GOLD CUP LATEST ODDS

15.40 – St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup 3m 2f 70y

Ruby Walsh: “I’m lukewarm on Billaway as jockeys will be key here, and the advantage he had is now gone. I’m therefore going to go for BOB AND CO.”

FULL PREVIEW: ST JAMES’ PLACE HUNTERS’ CHASE ANTEPOST BETS FROM RUBY WALSH

Frank Hickey: “STAKER WALLACE has a big chance”

FULL PREVIEW: ST JAMES’ PLACE HUNTERS’ CHASE ANTEPOST BETS FROM FRANK HICKEY

16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (Grade 2) 2m 4f 127y

Ruby Walsh: “ELIMAY’s tiny but a real character, as brave as a lion”

FULL PREVIEW: RUBY WALSH’S MRS PADDY POWER MARES’ CHASE ANTEPOST PICK

BETTING: MRS PADDY POWER MARES’ CHASE LATEST ODDS

16.50 – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 56y

Ruby Walsh: “GALOPIN DES CHAMPS is an each-way play for me”

FULL PREVIEW: MARTIN PIPE HANDICAP HURDLE ANTEPOST TIPS FROM RUBY WALSH

Paul Townend celebrates winning the Magners Gold up for the second time on Al Boum Photo. Cheltenham Festival. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post 13.03.2020

*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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