2021 Cheltenham Festival Tips - Four British horses to back before the travel ban
- We've put up this Each-Way Ante-Post Lucky 15 for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival
- With Covid-19 travel restrictions in place, there may be less Irish runners at the Cheltenham Festival this year
- Here are four British horses to back before the races cut up
- Royale Pagaille, Potters Corner, The Glancing Queen and Happy Diva feature on this Cheltenham Festival bet
Richard Patrick riding Happy Diva clear the last to win The BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase in 2019. (Getty)
The New Year is barely a week old, but punters are already looking ahead to the middle-week of March. Sadly, it seems like the 2021 Cheltenham Festival might be played out behind closed doors, after the government enforced a third national Lockdown.
Covid-19 restrictions also affect those trying to enter Britain from the rest of Europe. Visitors must present a negative Covid test upon touching down. Something which is perfectly manageable on a small scale, but if you're Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, who arrive at Cheltenham with a massive delegation of stable staff every year, it's going to make travelling very difficult indeed.
When racing commenced on the flat in the summer, trainers and jockeys were given certain exemptions if they were bringing horses over to run in Grade One races. If this happens again, then we'll still see the likes of Envoi Allen, Chacun Pour Soi and Al Boum Photo at the Cheltenham Festival, but Irish trainers won't have any runners in the lesser races.
We've picked out four British horses to back in races below Grade One level at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, and rolled them into this Each-Way Lucky 15.
2021 Cheltenham Festival Tips - Ante-Post Lucky 15
2021 National Hunt Chase Tips - Royale Pagaille
ROYALE PAGAILLE has improved massively this season, winning by seven lengths at Haydock on his reappearance, before an excellent handicap victory at Kempton.
Those wins have pushed Venetia Williams' seven-year-old up to a mark of 154, which will force the team to look towards Graded races. Royale Pagaille is owned by Cheltenham regulars Rich and Susanna Ricci, and they would much prefer to see their horse run in a race with the grandeur of the National Hunt Chase than carry top-weight into the Ultima.
2021 Cross Country Chase Tips - Potters Corner
Entering England from Wales will be just as hard as entering from Ireland. However, the Grand National is the big target for POTTERS CORNER, so I expect Christian Williams to bring his stable star over to England nice and early, to avoid any complications.
Potters' Corner ran an excellent race to finish second on his Cross Country debut back in the Autumn, and Williams has already said he'll go straight to the Festival before heading onto Aintree. If Easysland and Tiger Roll aren't allowed to run, then the Cross Country Chase could be Potters Corner's for the taking.
2021 Mares' Novices' Hurdle Tips - The Glancing Queen
Willie Mullins has saddled all five winners of this race since it's inception. Irish horses currently occupy eight of the top ten spots in the ante-post betting, but THE GLANCING QUEEN is easily the best of the British runners, and could be favourite here if the race cuts up.
Alan King's mare has twice run well in the Champion Bumper here at Cheltenham, and gave a good account of herself in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury over Christmas. Trips further than 17-furlongs would suit her better, but if the Irish horses come out, King would be foolish not to target the Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
2021 Mares' Chase Tips - Happy Diva
Another race where Willie Mullins is expected to dominate, with Benie Des Dieux, Colreevy and Elfile sitting prominently in the market. Yet, if the Irish runners were to come out of the field, Annie Mc and HAPPY DIVA would be locked in a battle for favouritism, and course form would give Kerry Lee's mare the edge.
Happy Diva won the Paddy Power Gold Cup over the Mares' Chase trip last season. Lee's mare also finished second to Aso here on New Year's Day in 2019, and placed second behind Simply The Betts in last year's Brown Advisory Plate. She may be a ten-year-old now, but performances this season suggest she retains all of her ability, and Happy Diva simply loves running at Cheltenham.