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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 Trophy)

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 racing 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 him.

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 favourite.

Monmiral (Triumph Hurdle)

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.

Chatham 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 Cheltenham.

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.

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