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The Racehorses Looking to Win at the Cheltenham Festival Again This Year
Just as there are course specialists at Happy Valley, the same can be said of Cheltenham – the home of jumps horse racing. Past form at the venue can count for an awful lot when the big four-day Festival at the top British National Hunt track comes around in March.

There are a number of racehorses bidding to follow-up on Cheltenham Festival successes last year again this time around. Some of these are going for repeat wins in the same race, while others have progressed to different disciplines, so lookout for these names.

On Champion Hurdle day which opens the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, 16 March, Shishkin is looking to follow-up on Supreme Novices’ Hurdle success 12 last season with a win in the Arkle Challenge Trophy for novice chasers. He is unbeaten over fences, but faces stuff competition from Irish raider Energumene.

The Champion Hurdle itself is set to be all about two magnificent mares. While Epatante bids to retain her crown, it now looks inevitable that the Mares’ Hurdle heroine Honeysuckle will take her on after consecutive victories in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Monkfish led home a 1-2-3 for Ireland in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last year, and he’s heading back to the meeting for the Festival Novices’ Chase after collecting more Grade 1 prizes since switching to fences. He’s had the beating of long-time rival Latest Exhibition on three occasions now.

Politologue faces a much deeper race in defending his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown later on Ladies Day, meanwhile. The popular grey gelding capitalised on high-profile absentees from the race last year, but both four-time Cheltenham Festival winner Altior and the impressive dual Dublin Chase scorer Chacun Pour Soi are gunning for him.

Another Cheltenham veteran, Tiger Roll, lost his Cross Country Chase crown to Easysland. The two-time Grand National winner nears the end of his career, but could he pull off one last Festival hurrah against the French-trained youngster? Last year, Easysland certainly had the beating of him.
Irish raider Min and the locally trained Imperial Aura are among 2020 Cheltenham Festival winners who could meet in the Ryanair Chase. In what could be one of the deepest and most absorbing races of the meeting, there are a wealth of challengers.

Sire Du Berlais has won the Pertemps Final, a three-mile Festival handicap, in each of the last two seasons. He is out to prove himself better than that in the Stayers’ Hurdle, and Cheltenham betting tips and predictions suggest that Gordon Elliott’s charge could give Paisley Park something to think about.

Last and by no means least, Al Boum Photo seeks a Gold Cup hat-trick that would match the achievements of legendary steeplechasers of past generations such as Arkle and Best Mate. An unexposed challenger to his own slice of Cheltenham history is last year’s top staying novice Champ, who should run before the Festival. So many horses seeking further glory in the spring, then.