2021 Cheltenham Festival Tips - Three horses to back before Trials Day
- We've taken a look through the early entries on Cheltenham Festival Trials day
- The Cotswold Chase and Cleeve Hurdle headline the card at Cheltenham on Saturday 30th January
- This could be the perfect time to back The Conditional for a repeat in the Ultima
- Espoir De Romay and Third Wind are our other Cheltenham tips
Espoir De Romay winning over hurdles at Wincanton last season. (Getty)
The final Saturday in January marks a big day on the calendar for many National Hunt trainers, as Cheltenham hosts their popular Trials Day card. Many of the horses who impress during Trials Day go on to star at the Cheltenham Festival, and there have been some eye-catching entries for all seven of the races on Saturday's card.
Here are three horses to back right now for the Cheltenham Festival, before they run on Trials Day.
2021 Cheltenham Festival Tips - Trials Day Runners
Espoir De Romay - Brown Advisory Plate
Espoir De Romay2021 Brown Advisory Plate Ante-Post TipsGET 25/1 HERE
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The Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase has become renowned for producing big-race winners in recent years. Mister Whitaker won in 2018, before scoring in the Close Brothers. Kildisart carried top-weight to victory two-years ago, and he went on to finish fourth in the Marsh Novices' Chase before winning a big handicap at Aintree.
Simply The Betts triumphed on Trials Day last year, before scoring in the Brown Advisory Plate. Imperial Aura finished second to Simply The Betts, and he went on to score in the Close Brothers two months last.
Imperial Aura's trainer, Kim Bailey has another improving novice entered in the Timeform, and that's ESPOIR DE ROMAY. Bailey's charge has taken to chasing well this season, winning once at Huntingdon before following Royale Pagaille home at Haydock.
Espoir De Romay was giving Royale Pagaille five pounds at Haydock, and David Bass allowed his mount to coast home in second once he realised the winner wasn't for catching. Considering what Venetia Williams' winner has achieved since, that looks a very strong piece of form, and you wouldn't be surprised if Espoir De Romay won this Trials Day Handicap, before going onto the Brown Advisory Plate.
The Conditional - Ultima Handicap Chase
The Conditional2021 Ultima Handicap Chase Ante-Post TipsGET 22/1 HERE
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Saturday's renewal of the Cotswold Chase promises to be an absolute cracker. Santini and Bristol De Mai renew their rivalry from last year. Native River makes his triumphant return to Cheltenham, and Saint Calvados will bid to establish himself as one of Britain's leading Gold Cup contenders.
Despite the strength at the head of the betting, David Bridgewater has already jocked up THE CONDITIONAL, with a view to possibly taking up their Gold Cup entry.
Last year's Ultima Handicap Chase winner has been in good form again this term, placing in the Ladbrokes Trophy for the second successive season, before finishing second to Mister Malarky at Ascot.
Connections must clearly think he's still progressive, to pitch him in at the top level at the age of nine, but I think he'll be outclassed this weekend. A lengthy defeat on Saturday, however, would open the door for a return to the Ultima Handicap Chase.
With a rating of 149, The Conditional would only have to deal with a weight somewhere between 11-00 and 11-5, depending on who else enters. Three horses have managed to successfully defend this handicap crown during it's history, and The Conditional certainly has the class and course form to add his name to that list.
Third Wind - Pertemps Final
Third Wind2021 Pertemps Final Ante-Post TipsGET 33/1 HERE
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Paisley Park is the 1/2 favourite to win Saturday's Cleeve Hurdle, and it would be a huge surprise if the former Stayers' Hurdle winner was beaten. Amongst those likely to take the favourite on is THIRD WIND, who was fifth behind Paisley Park, Thyme Hill and Roksana in the Long Walk at Ascot before Christmas.
Hughie Morrison's mount ran a cracker in the Pertemps Final last season, ending the race as the highest-placed British runner back in fourth.
That was one of the strongest renewals of the Pertemps Final we've ever seen. Sire Du Berlais is now a leading contender for this year's Stayers' Hurdle. The Storyteller has won a Grade One over fences since, and third-placed Tout Est Permis was running off a hurdles mark some 16-pounds short of his chase rating.
On his reappearance this term, Third Wind booked his return to the Pertemps Final by placing fourth under top-weight in the qualifier at Newbury. Morrison's seven-year-old was then pipped to the post by Main Fact in the Grade Three Handicap at Haydock on Betfair Chase Day, before his defeat at Ascot.
A similar loss in this weekend's Cleeve Hurdle would see Third Wind return to the Pertemps Final just five-pounds higher in the handicap. I can't imagine this year's renewal being anywhere near as strong, so there's no reason why Third Wind can't go three better on his second Cheltenham Festival appearance.