* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
Has improved from last year, has the best form in the race this year and her jumping has also improved which it needed to if she was to be winning a Champion Hurdle.
Has been brought along steadily this season after a long absence and looks set to peak in this. He ran really well on both previous runs at the festival when trained by Willie Mullins and his win in a strong Grade 1 novice hurdle at Punchestown indicates he may have a class edge over his rivals. He has jumped soundly in both his chase wins and the decision by connections to come here rather than taking on Monkfish looks a wise one with the step up to this trip looking guaranteed to suit. This is obviously a competitive race but he looks to have rock solid credentials and it would be a major surprise if he doesn’t give his supporters a good run for their money.
Not very original, though I do think Appreciate It will be very difficult to beat. The opposition looks quite weak, with the UK horses form way below what Appreciate It has achieved in Ireland. He’s beaten the Irish opposition already, with Ballyadam, Blue Lord and Irascible all well behind him last time at DRF. He’s very uncomplicated and should have a lovely racing position throughout, with a strong pace looking guaranteed with For Pleasure in here. He’s getting into a short enough price now, though I still think he’s value at odds against, and he could get the festival off to a good start for punters.
Roksana was a fortunate winner of this race back in 2019 and followed up that run with a brilliant second in the Liverpool Hurdle. Since then she’s proven herself to be able to mix it with the top of the staying division and was only beaten 2 lengths by Paisley Park and Thyme Hill in the Long Walk Hurdle. Her level of form is above the favourite’s Concertista and although there may be more to come from Willie’s mare, Roksana looks a very solid option at the prices.
Nothing in the field has anything like the grade 1 hurdle form that he does and his beating of Delta Work at Punchestown plus his liking for some cut in the ground and step up in trip means he should be hard to beat. Fact he is 2 from 2 this year with Paul Nicholls is an added plus.
Last year’s Coral Cup winner Dame De Compagnie is likely to be behind Concertista and Roksana in the market but back over hurdles she should be more than capable of giving them a race. Her course form is outstanding and she’s likely to get a lovely position in the race. Roksana has a lot to prove over the trip given all her from this year is over 3 miles while Concertista won’t be missed by the market but needs to up her game given the poorer races she’s been running in. If she can get back to her form this time last year Dame De Compagnie will be right up there and will run a huge race.
Next Destination looks to have an excellent chance here. He has looked all stamina in his 2 chase starts this season so the step up to 3 mile 6 here should be a positive. He had the class to win two Grade 1 hurdle races when trained by Willie Mullins & with that blend of speed and stamina you would be disappointed if he doesn’t go very close here.
- CHECK OUT OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN GET ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS
Paul Nicholls certainly knows how to lay one out for this race, saddling the 1-2 in 2016, as well as winners in 2015 and 2010 and it looks like he may have laid Houx Gris out for this year’s renewal. A winner of a bumper and a hurdle in France, he was pitched straight into Grade 1 company for his stable debut at Chepstow at Christmas. He travelled really well that day, looking a big player jumping three out but a mistake two out seemed to knock the wind out of his sails and it is likely the run was needed a fraction. He got a rating of 128 after that run and Nicholls has put him away since thinking that his mark might be enough to get a run. He gets in here off a lovely weight and he caught the eye at Wincanton where Nicholls worked his festival string a couple of weeks ago. I think he is way ahead of the handicapper and I would rate him as my most confident selection on day one.
This being a race in the past which tended to favour French imports, I’ve gone with ex-Francois Nicolle trained Homme Public here. At the prices he looks a phenomenal Each Way bet with PP paying 6 places. This will be his 3rd encounter with highly touted Houx Gris having finished ahead of him first time out before being beaten a neck off levels in Auteuil in October (3lb better off here). He was very strong in the market on his UK debut where he was beaten 2 3/4L having lost a shoe, which may have been a blessing in disguise as he was given a very lenient mark of 125 and I have no doubt this race has been on connections mind since making the switch over the channel. He looks a solid each way punt to me, given the close ties with the strongly fancied Houx Gris in what can be a lottery of a race.
READ MORE ON CHELTENHAM 2021
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh’s Cheat Sheet for all 4 days of the Festival
- Cheltenham tips: Frank Hickey’s NAP for each day of 2021 Festival
- Cheltenham tips: Our Championship races cheat sheet for the Festival
- Cheltenham tips: Mick Fitzgerald’s sizzling Lucky 15 for the Festival
- Cheltenham tips: 5 former festival winners Paddy’s pundits think will strike again in 2021
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle antepost bets
- Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey’s County Hurdle antepost picks
- Cheltenham tips: Gina Bryce’s top picks in the championship races