When it comes to the Cheltenham Festival, the Irish have always looked to conquer the British, and in recent years they’ve certainly done that with the likes of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott dominating the winners enclosure.
Despite the lack of spectators, this year looks set to be no different for the Irish trainers with a whole host of leading hopefuls making the trip over from the Emerald Isle, many of which are already favourites in the ante-post betting for the Festival. Leading names and ex-jockeys from across the sport are already giving their opinions on the meeting, with horse racing tips from Peter Scudamore, Sir AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh already available across several racing sites.
With that in mind, we thought we’d have a look at some of the best Irish-trained runners that are expected to line up at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, and put together several selections to form an Irish Banker bet from horses trained by Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Henry de Bromhead.
Honeysuckle @ 3/1 for the Champion Hurdle
Quite simply a mare in a million, and the one to beat in this year’s Champion Hurdle. She remains unbeaten in 10 races, including two this season and arguably put up a career best when winning the Irish Champion Hurdle for a second time at the Dublin Racing Festival in February. With a sex allowance to boot, there’s only really Epatante that you can see challenging her up the Cheltenham hurdle, unless Goshen can put in another Wincanton-like performance.
Chacun Pour Soi @ 10/11 for the Champion Chase
Extremely fragile but extremely talented, Chacun Pour Soi has proved to be all class this season and heads to Cheltenham as the market leader for the Champion Chase. He was super impressive in the G1 Dublin Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival, leaving the likes of Fakir D’Oudairies and Notebook in his wake. Injuries have so far kept him away from Cheltenham, but if he makes it this March, then he’s the one to beat.
Al Boum Photo @ 3/1 for the Gold Cup
He’s aiming to become the first horse since Best Mate to win three Gold Cup’s on the spin, and it’s reportedly all systems go for the big race after winning his usual prep race at Tramore on New Year’s Day. That came by an impressive 19 lengths over the talented Acapella Bourgeois, which was 13 lengths more than when beating the same opponent in the race last year. At nine-years-old, he’s still in the peak of his career, and you’d be brave to bet against him landing that Gold Cup hat trick.
Kilcruit @ 2/1 for the Champion Bumper
Switched across the Mullins family from Tony to Willie at the end of last year, and has proved to be a class act since then including the most impressive victory of the Dublin Racing Festival, when winning the G2 Bumper by 12 lengths. That quickly installed him as the new favourite for the Champion Bumper, and he’ll take all the beating if he can reproduce that Leopardstown performance.
Monkfish @ 5/6 for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
Unbeaten in his last six starts, including three times over fences, he won the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham last season and has shown further improvement this term. He’s comfortably beaten Latest Exhibition in both of his last two starts, and is seemingly the one to beat in the Festival Novices’ Chase.
Envoi Allen @ 5/6 for the Marsh Chase
The absolute superstar of the National Hunt game right now, he remains unbeaten after three races over fences. The latest of those came in heavy conditions at Punchestown in January, and after deciding to side step the Dublin Racing Festival, it’s now all systems go for the Marsh Chase, where he’ll certainly take some stopping considering he’s already won the Champion Bumper and the Ballymore at the Festival.
Galvin @ 4/1 for the National Hunt Chase
An impressive individual who has now won his last four races on the bounce, and could be the earliest plot job of the Festival. He won a Grade Three novice event at Tipperary in October, and has then been put away with Elliott confirming he’ll go straight for the National Hunt Chase, of which he has been the ante-post favourite all season.
If you like the sound of our Irish bankers, then why not put them into an accumulator ahead of the Cheltenham Festival? A £10 accumulator bet on our seven selections at the above odds, would return over £15,000 if they all win.