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Eye On Cheltenham Week 6 – Envoi Allen, Epatante and Honeysuckle enforce Festival favouritism

  • We bring you the sixth article in our Eye On Cheltenham series
  • Envoi Allen and Honeysuckle were both cut in the Festival betting after maintaining their unbeaten records at Fairyhouse
  • Epatane was cut into 2/1 for the Champion Hurdle after her fighting Fifth Hurdle win
  • Monkfish and Ballyadam also moved into Festival favouritism
Epatante made a winning return in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle this week. (Getty)

In week six of our Eye On Cheltenham series, we look back through this week's results and pick out the main market movers in the betting for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.
Fairyhouse’s Bar One Racing day provided it’s usual quality on Sunday, as three Grade One prizes were handed out. The first of those, the Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle, went the way of Ballyadam, who held his rivals at arm’s length to win fairly comfortably. Bet365 then cut Gordon Elliott’s charge into 12/1 for both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.

Envoi Allen then produced his second foot-perfect performance over fences to score in the Drinmore Novices’ Chase. Jack Kennedy barely flinched as the favourite saw off Assemble and Home By The Lee, a performance which saw Betfair cut Envoi Allen into 11/10 to win the 2021 Marsh Novices’ Chase.

Honeysuckle also extended her unbeaten career record in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, seeing off some decent rivals from the front to win by just less than a length. Henry De Bromhead’s mare was then clipped into 3/1 from 7/2 in the Mares’ Hurdle betting. Ronald Pump, who flew home after the last to finish a close second to Honeysuckle, was cut in from 25s to 16/1 to win the 2021 Stayers’ Hurdle.

Zanahiyr earned short quotes of 7/1 for the Triumph Hurdle after an impressive Grade Three triumph at Fairyhouse on Sunday. Grand Paradise rounded off the action with a comfortable win on the level, and Gordon Elliott’s grey was cut into 25/1 to win next year’s Champion Bumper.

Monkfish made a winning start to life over fences in the opener at Fairyhouse on Saturday, sweeping aside a modest field with complete contempt. Last year’s Albert Bartlett winner has been an 8/1 shot for the 2021 RSA Novices’ Chase, but after Saturday’s victory, Monkfish was made the 7/2 favourite for that Grade One at Cheltenham by Betfair.

Paul Townend then gave Concertista a confident ride to win the Grade Two Hurdle, galloping all over Minella Melody to win plenty in hand. Willie Mullins’ mare broke her maiden tag at the Festival last year, and William Hill was quick to cut Concertista into 5/1 from 10s in the Mares’ Hurdle betting.

thyme hill
Thyme Hill (right) beats Paisley Park (left) and Mcfabulous (centre) in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. (Getty)

In England, Newbury’s Ladbrokes Trophy meeting was the biggest meeting of the week. Friday’s Long Distance Hurdle saw three of Britain’s leading contenders for the 2021 Stayers’ Hurdle go head-to-head, and it was Thyme Hill who prevailed, holding off Paisley Park and Mcfabulous to win a thriller.

A 12/1 shot in the Cheltenham Festival betting prior to Friday’s race, Thyme Hill was then pulled into favouritism for the 2021 Stayers’ Hurdle following the Long Distance Hurdle, with Betfair offering a top price of 11/2. Paisley Park, who looked like he needed the run, was also cut for the Festival. Mcfabulous was backed into favouritism at Newbury, but after a third-place finish, Paul Nicholls’ charge drifted out to 20/1 in the Stayers’ Hurdle betting.

Bravemansgame secured another impressive bumper victory at Newbury, and was cut into 16/1 for both the Ballymore and the Albert Bartlett. Caribean Boy got the better of Fiddlerontheroof to win the Berkshire Novices’ Chase, and entered the 2021 Ryanair Chase betting on a fresh price of 20/1 with bet365. Flinteur Sacre ran really green when finishing fourth on his hurdles debut at Newbury, and drifted right out to 25/1 in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle market.

All eyes were on Newcastle this Saturday as Epatante made her reappearance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle. Aidan Coleman’s mount travelled nicely through the race, and showed an eye-catching turn of foot after the last to see off Sceau Royal and put the race to bed. Unibet then made Epatante their 2/1 favourite to retain her Champion Hurdle crown at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.

Next Destination impressed at Newbury on Saturday, winning on his first start over fences in the John Francombe Novices’ Chase. Paul Nicholls’ charge was then backed into 12/1 for both the RSA Novices’ Chase and the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham.

My Old Gold defeated Chilli Filly and favourite, Happy Diva in a Listed Mares’ Chase at Carlisle on Sunday. The winner then entered the 2021 Mares’ Chase betting on a price of 20/1, with Happy Diva drifting out from 12s to 16/1. Colreevy made a good impression on her first start over fences at Punchestown last Tuesday, and Willie Mullins’ charge was cut into 12/1 from 25s in the Mares’ Chase betting.

Hook Up and Keskonrisk earned quotes of 33/1 for the 2021 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after victories at Fairyhouse on Saturday. Willie Mullins’ Gauloise looks a real prospect when winning a maiden at Thurles on Thursday, and bet365 were quick to cut her into 12/1 to extend Mullins’ 100% record in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

Epatante2021 Champion Hurdle Market MoverGET 2/1 HERE
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