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Cheltenham 2021 Day 1 previews

Supreme Novices' Hurdle

Disappointingly small field. This is the race which sets off the roar. This year there'll be no roar and quite a limited level of excitement.

Appreciate It is the dominant favourite and probably wins. He's beaten all the Irish brigade at least once, the only hole I can pick in him is I don't think he sprinted up the hill in the Bumper last year, when he was beaten by Ferny Hollow. Clutching at straws probably but I won't be getting involved much on this. The form behind Metier hasn't been great but when you're winning comfortably, that's their problem.

METIER, Appreciate It, Irascible.

Arkle Novices' Chase

A real shame to see Energumene come out of this on Friday, every racing fan was looking forward to a great battle with Shishkin, now it's very hard to see last year's Supreme winner getting beaten. Allmankind will set a cracking pace and Shishkin will just stalk him until the final couple of fences. Captain Guinness can be in the mix if he stands up.

SHISHKIN, Allmankind, Captain Guinness

Ultima Handicap Chase

The Irish have a terrible record in this race, no winner since Dun Doire back in 2006 with just a smattering of placings. Aye Right ran third in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby followed by second in the Ladbrokes Trophy which is the premier handicap chase form of the season. Gets a significant riding change from Callum Bewley to Richard Johnson, must give this a big shake. Alnadam has been impressive over fences so far apart from a flop at Kempton over Xmas where he 'was unsuited by the tight track', while Happygolucky has been in the frame at every start so far and has run well here on both occasions.

AYE RIGHT, Alnadam, Happygolucky

Champion Hurdle

The mares dominate the market here and rightly so. Honeysuckle has won the last two Irish Champion Hurdles and is undefeated in ten career starts. Epatante is the defending champ who disappointed on Boxing Day, falling to Silver Streak who'd she'd beaten easily the year before. The young challenger is Goshen who was waltzing away with the Triumph before a desperately unlucky stumble at the last. After a disappointing Flat campaign in the autumn, he sprang back to life last start in the Kingwell at Wincanton.  

HONEYSUCKLE, Goshen, Epatante

Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle

Concertista bolted up in the Mares' Novice here last year and Roksana ran fourth in this race behind Honeysuckle, but I don't think they dominate the race as much as the prices suggest. Dame de Compagnie won the Coral Cup from Black Tears, Indefatigable won the Martin Pipe, Great White Shark won the Guinness Hurdle at Galway and the Cesarewitch last season, plus plenty of other crosslinked form. Indefatigable has had a wind operation since her last run. She came from the clouds to win the final race of the Festival in 2020 and is fancied to go close again at a big price.

INDEFATIGABLE, Dame De Compagnie, Concertista

Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

See full preview here.

BALKO SAINT, Her Indoors, Nassalam

National Challenge Cup Novices' Chase

Galvin has been laid out for this and despite the enforced stable change, is entitled to be favourite. Irish stables have a very strong record in this race but they don't get the advantage of the excellent Irish amateur jockeys this year. Is undefeated in four runs since running second in the Northern Trust Novices' Handicap Chase here last season. Remastered is 3-3 since going chasing and took a G2 last time out, while Next Destination is fast making up for a 30 month break, winning two G2 Novice Chases and a second to Roksana in another.

GALVIN, Remastered, Next Destination

No stonking certainties but Indefatigable each-way at 16/1 will probably be my biggest bet of the day.

Colossus Place 6 Ticket - come and join my syndicate

1,7 / 6 / 2,6,7,14 / 3,10 / 2,3,4,6,7 / 1,6,8,12,13,16,21


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