Cheltenham Festival 2020 Championship Race Previews
The Cheltenham Festival is 28 races over four days and quality everywhere you look. However, there are four championship races, one each day, that take centre stage. These are some of the biggest races on the entire racing calendar, and the races that connections dream of winning.
Here is an early look at these four races and what is fancied to go close.
Champion Hurdle – Tuesday
We don’t have a standout candidate for the Champion Hurdle this season, which has given us an open betting heat. The rapidly improving Epatante, trained by Nicky Henderson, is the current race favourite at 3/1 with 888Sports.
She has only been beaten once in her young career, but the worry for punters is that her loss came at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival in the Mares Novices Hurdle. She won the Christmas Hurdle in the style of a good one though, and there could be more to come.
For value though, I have one against her and that is Saldier from the Willie Mullins yard. This horse only ran once last year and fell but we’ve seen him once this year and he really impressed. Mullins is keeping him wrapped up before the festival, but based on the few pieces of form we have seen from him, he is a major player. Mullins has another great chance to win the Grand National with his runner, Burrows Saint. Can he dominate both Festivals this year?
- Saldier to win the Champion Hurdle @ 6/1 with 888Sport
Champion Chase – Wednesday
The big clash between Defi Du Seuil and Altior here could well be the best of the week, not forgetting Irish challenger Chucan Pour Soi, who could get involved. Altior comes here as a two-time champion, while Defi Du Seuil has dominated the two-mile division in Altior’s absence this season.
Altior is available to back at 10/3 with 888Sport but it is Defi Du Seuil we like here. He has rapidly improved this season, dominated things and poses the biggest threat Altior has ever faced over two miles. We think we are going to see a new champion on day two, and that is Defi Du Seuil.
- Defi Du Seuil to win the Champion Chase @ 7/4 with 888Sport
Stayers Hurdle – Thursday
Of the four championship races, this is the one that has a strong favourite, and on the form he has and what his opponents have shown, it is impossible to oppose Paisley Park here.
The only change to that would be if Benie Des Dieux re-routed here instead of the Mares Hurdle, but the chances of that appear to be slim.
He won the Stayers Hurdle last season, prior to that he won the Cleeve at Cheltenham and he has followed the same path this time around. His win in the Cleeve wasn’t as impressive but he was always on top and loves the hill finish to get him home.
It isn’t an original selection, but Paisley Park appears to be one of the bankers of the meeting.
- Paisley Park to win the Stayers Hurdle @ 8/11 with 888Sport
Gold Cup – Friday
The final day and the biggest of the four championship races, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A test of 3m2f with an uphill finish makes this a challenge for even the best stayers in the land, and this year we look to have a wide open race and plenty in with a chance.
Starting off in Ireland, they have Al Boum Photo who won the race last year and Kemboy towards the front of the market. Al Boum Photo is the 4/1 favourite while Kemboy is priced up at 6/1.
Santini for Nicky Henderson heads the British challengers at 5/1 and he is in front of Lostintranslation at 6/1 and Clan Des Obeaux at 7/1.
While every one of those five contenders have their own positives, the horse I keep heading back to is Lostintranslation. He needs forgiving for a poor run in the King George where he pulled up but that was not the right type of race for him, he needs a proper test. That is exactly what he is going to get here, and the Tizzard’s have kept their star chaser off the track since Kempton to get him ready for the Gold Cup.
I trust them to do that, think this horse has a massive chance on his Betfair Chase form from November.
- Lostintranslation to win the Gold Cup @ 6/1 with 888Sport
Cheltenham Racing Betting Offer
Ahead of the festival, it is important to take a look around and find out which bookmakers are offering non-runner no bet rules. This means if your horse doesn’t make it to Cheltenham or runs in a different race, you get your money back.
888Sport are offering non-runner no bet on the six biggest races at the festival, which include all of those races in the preview above. This means you can place your bets early now and grab the value, with the knowledge that if something goes wrong and your horse doesn’t run, you will get your money back.
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