It’s every racing fan’s dream to pick an obscure winner for a big race and then boast about their prescient knowledge to all their mates. As the 2021 Cheltenham Festival approaches, punters across the country will be studying the Cheltenham odds to try and identify which horses could cause an upset when the Festival gets underway on March 16th.
With 28 races across the Festival’s four days, it’s fair to say that not every event will be won by one of the bookies’ top favorites, so there is value in studying which horses could prove to be solid outside bets. Read on, as we break down a few horses that could spring a surprise in their respective races at Cheltenham, and could leave you gloating to your friends as a result!
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Bareback Jack
What better place to start than the opening race of the entire Festival – the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on March 16th. While Appreciate It leads the betting at odds of around 6/4, with Metier and Ballyadam also at relatively short odds, one horse that could upset things is Bareback Jack.
While the five-year-old only has four races to his name, they have all resulted in victory, and so there is reason for optimism for trainer Donald McCain and the rest of the horse’s connections. The novices’ races at Cheltenham see the best young horses in the sport go head-to-head, and an unbeaten run is always a good sign, so Bareback Jack’s odds of around 20/1 could prove quite generous.
Champion Hurdle – Song For Someone
The first major race of the Cheltenham Festival is the Champion Hurdle, where the likes of Honeysuckle, Epatante, and Goshen lead the way in the betting odds. But sitting a bit further down the list is Song For Someone, who is currently listed at odds of around 20/1.
Although the Tom Symonds-trained horse lost out to Goshen in the recent Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, Song For Someone had won his previous three races on the trot, and that’s the kind of form you look for in a horse as Cheltenham approaches. Of course, it will take a monumental effort to do damage in the Champion Hurdle, but you wouldn’t put it passed the talented Song For Someone.
Champion Chase – Chosen Mate
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is one of the most highly-anticipated races each year at Cheltenham, and this year is no different, with big names like Altior, Chacun Pour Soi, and A Plus Tard in the running. Hoping to cause an upset is Chosen Mate, who fans of the Cheltenham Festival will remember as the winner of the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase last year.
While Chosen Mate’s form has been indifferent in the time since that win, the know-how that comes with winning could serve Gordon Elliott’s horse well. He is a 25/1 shot to win the Champion Chase.
Gold Cup – Real Steel
For trainer Paul Nicholls, it’s been 12 years since he last triumphed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and some punters may feel he’s due a win. Frodon is the better fancied Nicholls-trained horse for the Festival’s showpiece, but don’t rule out Real Steel, who lived up to his name in last year’s Gold Cup.
At odds of around 50/1 before the race, Real Steel came in a respectable sixth in the Cheltenham results for the 2020 Gold Cup, and that was proof that there is more to this horse than maybe meets the eye at first. This year, Real Steel is priced even further out at around 66/1, but at those odds, we feel he is definitely worth a little flutter given that Nicholls will have learned a lot about the gelding’s ability from last year’s showing.