Who Could Challenge the 2021
Cheltenham Festival Bankers?
Well ahead of the 2021
Cheltenham Festival, there are already some hot favourites for certain races
which take place over the four days at the Prestbury Park track in March.
One of the great things about sport, though, is that not everything goes
according to plan.
Favourites can be and do get beaten, even on this
grandest stage for National Hunt racehorses. With that in mind, who could
challenge the so-called bankers at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival?
Allmankind (Arkle Challenge
Following an impressive chase debut, Shishkin heads the
betting for the Arkle but he's not the only horse to have made waves in the
two-mile novice chase division. Recent
results also highlight slick jumping and speed shown by last season's
Triumph Hurdle third Allmankind.
After his own rather taking bow over
fences at Warwick, trainer Dan Skelton was more than happy to pitch him
straight back in at the deep end. That came in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices'
Chase at Sandown, and Allmankind again jumped for fun.
The back straight is
very demanding there, with seven fences to clear. Allmankind, who, as a
juvenile hurdler, had been very headstrong, now seems to be putting that energy
to good use. He left his rivals toiling in their bid to keep up with
If not Shishkin, then Allmankind has big claims of Arkle glory come
the Cheltenham Festival himself, at ante post odds of 10/1. There could well be
some each-way juice in that price, for those who want to oppose the firm
The hand that Gordon Elliott has for this year's
Triumph Hurdle looks very strong indeed with three market principals headed by
Zanahiyr, but Paul Nicholls trained juvenile Monmiral has done nothing wrong in
winning his two starts to date. A French import to his Ditcheat stables, he
made an easy step up into Grade 2 company when landing the
Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster.
Getting a handle on the
Triumph Hurdle hasn't been easy for punters in recent years with the danger
being that certain horses have peaked too early in their juvenile season.
However, Monmiral has beaten rivals with useful form on the Flat and
previous hurdle winners very easily.
He is clearly above average and,
whatever the rest of the campaign holds between now and the Cheltenham Festival
for him, ante post odds of 12/1 for the Triumph could be a value
alternative to Zanahiyr. Monmiral may give punters something to bet around for
the race at least.
Street Lad (Marsh Novices' Chase)
As bankers go, they don't seem
to come more dependable than Envoi Allen. Already a Cheltenham Festival winner
in the Champion Bumper and Ballymore Novices' Chase, he has since switched to
fences and has the opposition running scared. However, come Cheltenham, there
will be rivals to tackle and Chatham Street Lad has an
impressive course victory under his belt.
Like Envoi Allen, he is
trained in Ireland but not by Elliott. County Cork handler Mick Winters is
enjoying a real renaissance with his runners this winter and promised to roll
in the mud if Chatham Street Lad won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at
He did just that in spectacular fashion. As Chatham Street
Lad still qualifies as a novice, then he could tackle Envoi Allen. At ante post
odds of 16/1 for the Marsh, a horse who has proven himself against seasoned
handicappers in open company should be regarded as a bigger potential threat.