Cheltenham Festival 2021: Marsh Novices’ Chase preview


nvoi Allen is considered one of the bankers of the week at this year’s Cheltenham Festival as he looks to preserve his unbeaten career record in the Marsh Novices’ Chase. 

The seven-year-old has already won twice at the Festival – in the Ballymore twelve months ago and the Champion Bumper in 2019 – and has taken to fences in fine style, with a Grade 1 success already to his name in the Drinmore.

However, preparation for the Festival has been far from ideal – Envoi Allen was one of the Cheveley Park horses switched from Gordon Elliott’s Cullentra House yard to that of Henry De Bromhead at the start of March after the former was disgraced by a photo showing him sat on a dead horse. 

De Bromhead’s new recruit will still be a red-hot favourite, and many potential contenders have diverted to either the Arkle or Brown Advisory to avoid taking him on, but punters may be tempted to have go, hoping the last-minute transfer could expose a seemingly absent chink in the armour. 

Kauto Star Novices’ Chase winner Shan Blue has looked the pick of the British contenders, despite defeat in the Scilly Isles last time out, having progressed markedly for Dan Skelton when switched from hurdles to fences thanks to his impeccable jumping. 

Chantry House, last year’s Supreme third, is two from three over fences, his sole defeat coming at Cheltenham in December when clearly short of his best while Sporting John, under the same ownership of JP McManus, is expected to run in the three-mile contest but could drop back to this race if the ground is sufficiently testing. 

Two horses to have already tasted victory at Prestbury Park this season are Chatham Street Lad and Fusil Raffles. The former bolted up in handicap company at the International Meeting, while the latter took his record over fences to three-from-four on the same card, having been pulled up at Cheltenham on his previous start.

When is the Marsh Novices’ Chase?

The Marsh Novices’ Chase will be run at 1:20pm on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, the second day of this year’s Festival.

Marsh Novices’ Chase odds

(Odds provided by Betfair NRNB market and are subject to change, correct as of 3/3/21)

  • Envoi Allen 4/5
  • Energumene 9/4
  • Shan Blue 6/1
  • Monkfish 6/1
  • Chantry House 7/1
  • Sporting John 7/1
  • Chatham Street Lad 11/1
  • 14/1 bar

How to watch the Marsh Novices’ Chase

TV channel: The Marsh Novices’ Chase will be shown live on ITV1 and Racing TV. 

Live stream: TV licence payers can stream the race for free via the ITV Hub website and app. Subscribers can also stream the action via the Racing TV website. 

Terms: Min £20 in Exch bets on Saturday races, excludes ante-post. Max £10 free bet per qualifying day, awarded 15/03. Betfair Rewards ‘Basic’ customers excluded. T&Cs apply

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