News

Weekly Racing Blog: Cheltenham Festival Recap & Odds For 2022


Rachael Blackmore Honeysuckle Champion Hurdle

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images


Cheltenham 2021 Recap

One rather enthusiastic Racing Post intern tweeted last week something along the lines of it being “A nigh on impossible job” for the TV stations to capture the atmosphere of the Cheltenham Festival with everyone watching from home.

I had to chuckle at some of the responses, with the best reply saying “TV did a good job but unless I missed something there was no atmosphere to capture this week?”

What a shame that was however! Major stories and great finishes galore, with every one of them totally deserving of a rabble-rousing roar, but instead – a splattering of sympathetic claps. Perhaps next year hey?

Lets’ take a whistle-stop journey through last week’s Cheltenham Festival results:


Tuesday

  • Appreciate It ruled Supreme in the Festival opener, winning by a masterful 24 lengths in all.
  • Shishkin was dominant in the Arkle and is now a 6/4 chance for next year’s Champion Chase.

  • The popular grey Vintage Clouds finally landed the Ultima and heads to the Scottish Grand National next.
  • Honeysuckle blew away the boys in the Champion Hurdle and made Rachael Blackmore a history maker.
  • Black Tears gave Cullentra House something to smile about in the David Nicholson Hurdle.
  • Veteran Irish-trainer kidded them all when his Jeff Kidder (80/1) took the Fred Winter Hurdle.
  • Galvin’s winning run continued in the National Hunt Chase.

Wednesday

  • The jumping world is Bob Olinger’s oyster now after his Ballymore Hurdle romp.
  • Banker of the week Monkfish had little trouble in collecting the Brown Advisory. He’s the new 5/1 favourite for the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

  • Heaven Help Us (33/1) led from pillar to post to scoop the Coral Cup under Richard Condon.
  • Put The Kettle On is now 4/4 at her beloved Cheltenham after winning the Champion Chase.
  • Tiger Roll claimed his fifth Festival victory after trouncing his rivals in the Cross Country.
  • Sky Pirate showed his liking for Cheltenham once again when taking the Grand Annual.
  • Bumper scorer Sir Gerhard is now the 2020 Supreme favourite after downing Kilcruit in a tight finish.

Thursday

  • Nicky Henderson’s Chantry House capitalised upon an uncharacteristic fall from Envoi Allen in the Marsh Novices’.
  • Mrs Milner struck gold in the Pertemps Final for Byan Cooper and Paul Nolan.
  • Allaho was a convincing winning of the Ryanair Chase under Rachael Blackmore and looks a Champion Chase (8/1) contender for next year.

  • Flooring Porter led them all a merry dance in the Stayers’ Hurdle in a never-say-die ride from Danny Mullins.
  • The Shunter looked like the winner a long way out in the Paddy Power Plate and picked up a tidy £100k bonus in doing the Morebattle/Cheltenham double.
  • Telmesomethinggirl put Rachael Blackmore back on the score sheet once again with a tidy win Dawn Run Hurdle.
  • Mount Ida touched 1000/1 in-running after coming from what looked like an impossible position to take the silverware home in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase.

Friday

  • Triumph Hurdle winner Quilixios gave the famous Cheveley Park Stud colours another primetime airing under the excellent Rachel Blackmore.
  • The County Hurdle went the way of the 33/1 Peter Fahey-raider Belfast Banter under a smart Kevin Sexton ride.
  • Vanillier made all the running to give Gavin Cromwell his second winner of the week after Flooring Porter in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
  • Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Indo (9/1) lifted the Gold Cup for Ireland under an inspired Jack Kennedy ride. The Barry Maloney-owned gelding gets an 8/1 quote to repeat the feat next season.

  • Will Biddick’s Porlock Bay (16/1) just touched off Billaway in a thriller of a finish to the Hunter’s Chase. Jockey Lorcan Williams will go down in the history books too.
  • The Liberthine Mare’s Chase was won by Colreevy who is still unbeaten this season.
  • The final installment of the “Behind Closed Doors” Cheltenham Festival was the Martin Pipe Conditional Hurdle, and victory went the way of Willie Mullins with Galopin Des Champs.

Summary

History-making Rachael Blackmore was crowned the leading jockey with six victories, while Willie Mullins clinched the leading trainer title from Henry De Bromhead on the countback rule.

Let’s just hope Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs turns out to be the very last Festival winner under lockdown conditions.

All in all it was a great Festival in the circumstances. You can’t ask for any more.


* Betting odds correct at the time of writing. All odds are subject to change.