It’s finally here – day one of the Cheltenham Festival 2021.
The feature race on Tuesday is the Champion Hurdle at 15:05 but there are six more races to get fired into and, fear not, we’ve got an Odds Picks for every single one.
So read on and see who our top fancies are, including selections at 18/1 and 16/1.
And don’t forget to check out our Cheltenham Festival Betting Offers page on the link below for all the best free bets and betting offers for day one of the Cheltenham Festival.
We’ll be honest and say we were looking at taking on Appreciate It with Ballyadam but with the ground now on the soft side, it looks set to be another Supreme winner for Willie Mullins.
Appreciate It was 2nd in the Bumper here last year and has since won all three starts over hurdles, including last time out at the Dublin Racing Festival where he had Ballyadam, Blue Lord, and Irascible all in behind.
With conditions to suit, he looks difficult to oppose and should get the Festival off to a winning start for favourite fans.
He’s unbeaten under rules including a win in the Supreme Novices’ last year, and has since gone on to look very tasty over fences.
Three wins from three over the larger obstacles see him a short-priced favourite here and his cause has been helped by the withdrawal of main market rival Energumene.
We expect Allmankind to lead from the front with Shishkin set to pounce late coming up the hill to give Nicky Henderson yet another Arkle winner.
Happygolucky hasn’t made an appearance since winning around here at the start of December but he’s won twice after returning from a break so he’s well placed coming in here.
His form around Cheltenham reads 3-4-1, showing his liking for the course, and we’re expecting him to do the business in the Ultima.
He was as big as 25/1 two weeks ago but punters clearly felt this opening handicap mark was on the lenient side and he’s been well supported into favouritism now.
Honeysuckle is a perfect 10 from 10 having landed the Irish Champion Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival and she looks primed to land Tuesday’s feature race.
Her Irish Champion Hurdle win was her fifth Grade 1 victory in a row and she knows what it takes to win around Cheltenham after winning the Mares’ Hurdle last year.
She has it all – she can quicken off a slow or fast pace, she stays, and she’s a fluent hurdler.
Chuck into the mix that she receives a handy 7lb allowance from the likes of Goshen and we can see her and fellow mare Epatante battling it out up the hill with Honeysuckle edging it.
Willie Mullins has farmed this race in recent years with the likes of Quevega and this time has a short-priced favourite in the form of Concertista.
At the prices though, we’re happy to take her on and are siding with two horses at juicy prices that we think are set to run big races.
The first up is Great White Shark who won at Galway in July before running away with the Cesarewitch on the flat at Newmarket in October.
She hated heavy ground at Gowran Park at the end of January and on better ground here she looks a cracking each-way play at the prices.
The other one to be on the right side of against Concertista is Indefatigable who won the Martin Pipe at last year’s Festival.
Her course form at Cheltenham reads 5-1-2-1 and although she’s disappointed over the winter, a return to slightly better ground – and to Cheltenham – should see her in an improved light.
Trained by Dermot Weld, Coltor had three runs on the flat last year including victory at Killarney, before making the switch to hurdles.
He looked useful without winning in big fields at Leopardstown and Punchestown before scoring at Naas.
Connections reach for the visor here, which he had success with on the flat, and he looks to be on a competitive handicap mark with Jonjo O’Neill Jr an eye-catching jockey booking.
Galvin ran a cracker at last year’s Festival finishing 2nd to Imperial Aura.
He retained his novice status for this season and connections have make great use of that, landing four victories over the summer and autumn.
He arrives here having not run since October but he’s a horse that goes well fresh and with Royale Pagaille bypassing this race for a crack at the Gold Cup, Galvin looks set to be the one to take advantage.
This was the season’s target for Galvin and with the step up in trip looking ideal, he’ll be a tough nut to crack.
Please note that all odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.