By HRI Foreign Staff — If you are a fan of horse racing, then this time of year starts to get very exciting. This is because the Cheltenham Festival is not far away now! This festival, which takes place every March, is one of the top events in UK jump racing. Of course, it also ranks well alongside other global horse racing events, such as the fifth Pegasus World Invitational. Bringing together the very best jockeys, horses and trainers, Cheltenham is always a fabulous spectacle. Taking place over four days from Tuesday 16th March to Friday 19th March 2021, many will be tuning in worldwide to catch the action.
For a lot of horse racing fans, the Cheltenham Festival is also a good chance to place bets and maybe win some money. With the sheer number of races taking place over the four days, you will never be short of horses to back.
Of course, the quality of horses on show at festivals such as Cheltenham means that the favourites can often win. As shown at the superb Cheltenham Festival tips from RacingTips.com, a horse such as Paisley Park is hard to get past in the Stayers’ Hurdle this year. If you need even more tips and news to help your betting, the rest of the RacingTips website is worth checking out.
Sometimes though, shocks and upsets do occur. This can be great news for savvy punters who have taken big odds on an outsider who comes through. As a result, many punters are always looking for dark horses at Cheltenham who could spring an upset. Who should you be thinking about this year though?
If there is one top-level trainer who loves Cheltenham, it is Willie Mullins. He has saddled up more winners than anyone else there in the past. This includes four of the last six horses to win the Arkle Challenge Trophy. As such, it makes the Mullins-trained Unexpected a good outside bet to consider in this year’s Arkle. The excitement around this horse has only grown since an impressive winning debut over fences at Tipperary.
Lightly raced in comparison with other horses in the race, Unexpected is also owned by JP McManus, who normally does well at Cheltenham. With plenty of stamina and a superb jump on him, he looks good value at the price that most bookies are now giving for him. While he has only run twice over hurdles since moving to the Mullins stable, he could well improve again at Cheltenham to win.
The Gold Cup is the top event at the Cheltenham Festival and the one that many people love to bet on. In the 2021 Cheltenham Festival running, Al Boum Photo is the red-hot favourite. This horse is going for a hat-trick of Gold Cups, as he won in both 2020 and 2019. Are there some dark horses that could upset this party though? In Minella Indo, it seems so.
Minella Indo is a very interesting horse and comes from the yard of Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead. Usually ridden by top jockey Rachael Blackmore, this is a horse with lots going for it. Not only does he jump well, but he also shows good stamina levels and knows how to win. While a fall at the end of December in the Savills Chase raised eyebrows, previous form before then was pretty decent. Lightly ridden and with a planned warm-up ride in the Irish Gold Cup to help him get back on top, he could be worth backing.
In the Gold Cup, there is also Lostintranslation to consider. This horse is a useful outsider who could really upset the applecart. At odds of around 25/1 ante-post, he is also decent value to take on. If Robbie Power is on board again, then this bodes well as the horse really seems to perform when he is taking the saddle. A creditable third last year was pretty good and he could certainly go a few places better in 2021.
With victories in the Mildmay at Aintree, Carlisle and Haydock in the past, he also knows how to win. It must be said that pulling up in his last race at Kempton Park was not ideal preparation, but expert trainer Colin Tizzard will know how to get him just right for the race in March. This is a horse with lots of class, who has shown that he can do well at the top level of racing. Expect to see him there or thereabouts again this year.
Dark horses can often come home
There is no doubt that the top horses who are favourites in the betting are there for a reason. They normally do stand the best chance of winning, especially in the higher-level races. However, this is not a foregone conclusion. Outsiders can put in a once-in-a-lifetime performance or take advantage of a favourite’s off day to romp home. Finding outsiders who do this can really pay off, when you think of the odds you back them at. If you are looking for some outsiders who could cause upsets at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, then the above are worth considering.