Four day Cheltenham Festival 2021 carries on without the huge crowds

Despite crowds being unable to attend this year’s Cheltenham Festival because of the Covid-19 pandemic there was some superb racing.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 10:00 am
Jack Kennedy (left) and trainer Henry de Bromhead celebrate with Minella Indo after winning the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase during day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Picture date: Friday March 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA Story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Michael Steele/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse.
Jack Kennedy (left) and trainer Henry de Bromhead celebrate with Minella Indo after winning the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase during day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Picture date: Friday March 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA Story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Michael Steele/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse.

And the Racing Post was on hand to capture some exclusive insights into the racing.

Reflecting on the Marsh Novices’ Chase Willie Mullins, trainer of Asterion Forlonge and Blackbow said: “Asterion Forlonge jumped well for Patrick [Mullins] the last day and if Paul [Townend] gets him into a good rhythm, he could be placed behind the hotpot Envoi Allen.

“Blackbow had a promising enough run last time. He jumped well and hopefully going up in trip will bring about improvement.”

Galopin Des Champs ridden by Sean O'Keeffe crosses the line to win the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle during day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Picture date: Friday March 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA Story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: Michael Steele/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Chantry House and Fusil Raffles, remarked: “We’ve all got a big task against Envoi Allen, but I’m hopeful we can give him some sort of a race. Chantry House was great at Wetherby and he’s been in very good form since. He was really good the first time he was at Cheltenham but the next time he didn’t jump so well, but we’ve solved that problem. Fusil Raffles has been off since Cheltenham [in December] but he’s in great shape. The more it dries out the better.”

Mick Winters, trainer of Chatham Street Lad, said: “He has thrived since he came over and he’s coming better into this race than he did when he won here in December. Envoi Allen will be hard to beat, but our horse is very comfy and he’ll love the ground.”

Meanwhile, Gavin Cromwell, trainer of Darver Star, remarked: “Envoi Allen looks almost unbeatable but the ground is going to be very much in our favour and I’m looking forward to stepping Darver Star up in trip.

“You can put a line through his last run as the ground was too soft for him and my horses weren’t firing at the time. His run before that was a good solid effort. I’m confident we have him in good nick.”

Flooring Porter ridden by jockey Danny Mullins win the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle on day three of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Picture date: Thursday March 18, 2021. PA Photo. See PA Story RACING Cheltenham. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire for the Jockey Club. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse.

Focusing on the Stayers’ Hurdle on day three of the festival Willie Mullins, trainer of Bacardys, said: “He always runs well here and will benefit from the drying conditions. He has an each-way chance.”

Noel Meade, trainer of Beacon Edge, was hopeful of his horse’s chances: “We think he has a good chance. He’s travelled over well and seems in good form. He had a colic during the winter and that knocked the stuffing out of him but he was very good at Navan and seems to have come on for that again.”

Meanwhile, Gavin Cromwell said that Flooring Porter was in good form for the race. He said: “He has form with Sire Du Berlais and the best of the Irish. He’s in good shape and is coming here fresh. It’s a little bit of unknown with the track and we’d prefer if he had a true running rail the whole way as he’s just not completely straightforward.”

Harry Fry, trainer of If The Cap Fits, commented: “We’re reverting to hurdles as he hasn’t hit the same level of form over fences. He seems in good form and I hope he’s got an each-way squeak.”

Lil Rockerfeller’s trainer Neil King was confident of his horses’s chances, he said: “He’s in really good form - he’s only had two runs this season which is a big plus because he’s fresh and not been drained on heavy ground. The more the ground dries the better and we’ve put the headgear on as he’ll need to be sharp.”

Finally on the Stayers’ Hurdle, Dan Skelton, trainer of Shan Blue, said: “ I’m looking forward to getting him on some better ground. I’ve been very happy with his preparation and he carries some high-class form through from the winter. We’re very positive and happy. Envoi Allen is a superstar who is going to be hard to be beat, but hopefully we can get into a nice rhythm.”