The 2021 Cheltenham Festival, featuring the WellChild Gold Cup, is four weeks away.
National Hunt racing’s best horses, trainers and jockeys will go head-to-head at the prestigious fixture.
Over four days, from March 16-19, 14 Grade 1 contests are staged – the top level of the sport.
Fans are set to watch all of the action from home this year, based on the current coronavirus rules.
“We continue to monitor Government guidance and should this change in advance of The Festival supporting WellChild we will act accordingly,” a racecourse spokesperson has said.
Each-way bets for the feature races on each day:
Buveur D’Air (22-1*) – Unibet Champion Hurdle (Tuesday)
Two mares, Epatante and Honeysuckle, dominate the ante-post market for the feature contest on day one.
And it is a stablemate of the first-named, last year’s winner, who has each-way appeal.
Buveur D’Air has two victories in this on his record, from 2017 and 2018, before he spent over a year recuperating from injury.
Although he ran well below form on his belated reappearance at Haydock in January, the 10-year-old showed his old zest at the obstacles.
He was given a positive reintroduction by Nico de Boinville on ground which wasn’t really ideal – similar to when he won narrowly here three years ago.
The handicapper has Buveur D’Air rated 3lb below Epatante at this stage.
Nicky Henderson will be preparing him for one day – and he has done it before with Sprinter Sacre, who found his old sparkle in 2016.
Put The Kettle On (14-1) – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Wednesday)
Favourite Chacun Pour Soi is rock solid and last year’s Arkle heroine looks the most viable value selection.
Third behind that rival at Leopardstown last time out, she kept on well, but lacked his gears up the run-in.
Cheltenham suits her ideally, a track where she is unbeaten in three outings.
On each occasion, she has relished the final hill, staying on strongly.
In a race in which genuine contenders are thin on the ground, Henry de Bromhead’s runner is still a good price.
Sire Du Berlais (9-1) – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Thursday)
Gordon Elliott’s hurdler has taken the last two runnings of the Pertemps Final at this meeting – and should not be overlooked in Grade 1 company.
The time of his last triumph was positive compared to the 2020 Stayers’ Hurdle, which suggests he is worth his place in the line-up.
Off top weight, he battled on well in first-time blinkers for Barry Geraghty and appeared to have a bit more in hand than the half-length at the line.
The stayers’ division isn’t overly strong and this Irish raider has to be greatly respected.
Minella Indo (20-1) – WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup (Friday)
A brave second in the 2020 RSA, his last fence mistake did not help the eight-year-old against Champ’s remarkable late run.
Up until that point, Minella Indo had travelled well and jumped tidily around Prestbury Park, with the very talented Allaho.
That horse is a leading contender for the Ryanair Chase 12 months on, as Minella Indo goes down the Gold Cup route.
His jumping was not at its best at Leopardstown earlier this month and he has to come good again in that department.
But odds of 20-1 are rather exaggerated given the former Albert Bartlett hero’s natural ability.
* Best odds at the time of publication, subject to change