The Greatest Show on Turf

The countdown is on to Cheltenham 2021 and excitement can start to build for national hunt racing fans from all over the world

By Eddie Scally

In truth real racing fans have had one eye on Cheltenham since possibly last October, trainers on the other hand had both eyes on it since the curtain drew on 2020s festival.
Having a runner at Cheltenham is a great achievement for any owner but to have a winner, well that’s the dream. Cheltenham is correctly referred to as the Olympics of jumps racing where the best of the best head to the Cotswolds each year to take on each other at racings blue ribband event. Over the past number of years, the Irish dominance at this festival must feel like a kick in the guts to the British racing fraternity who can only look on in astonishment at both the quality & quantity of top-class Irish runners. Gone are the days when the Irish were saved by “Galmoy” in 1988, the only Irish winner that year. Now we are spoilt with double figures an almost expected given annually at the festival, in 2020 we had 17 winners. This remarkable dominance didn’t happen overnight it is the culmination of world class breeding operations, top class point to point handlers, brilliant racecourses, the best trainers, the best jockeys, and hugely supportive owners. Credit must also go to the powers that be in HRI for keeping Irish prizemoney at higher levels than those across the water thus making it more lucrative to keep your horse in training in Ireland and just plot your raids on the UK for their big festival meetings.
Cheltenham is much more than just racing, its social, it’s fun, its fiercely competitive between the Irish & UK trained runners and it’s a showcase for all that’s wonderful in racing.
On a normal non covid year Cheltenham would welcome north of 250,000 people over the 4 days to marvel at the best equine athletes in the world. It’s harder to find winners at Cheltenham than your standard fixture but somehow a 4/1 winner at Cheltenham feels like it pays more than a 4/1 winner anywhere else. The badge of honour to say “I backed that winner of the supreme novice hurdle” just carries far more weight than any other meeting,  everyone’s a racing expert for that 4 days & also
it can feel like everyone is “related” to someone in the industry that week, hence the “this tip is rock solid brigade”
When the flag falls to start the Supreme Novices Hurdle on Tuesday March 16th it won’t be greeted by the famous Cheltenham roar with this season’s festival being raced behind closed doors, some might say a year too late !!! For the racing fan that attends this will be a Cheltenham like no other, we will miss the social aspect, the craic, the banter with our British rivals, we will probably even miss queuing for toilets and wrestling our way to the bar for much needed hydration. What we will most certainly not miss is the action on track which will be beamed into our homes with no doubt as much pomp and ceremony as they can fit into the racing shows. We will still hear the great back stories as to how this horse was found and today became a star. Heroes will still be made in 2021 so just sit back and enjoy the action from home !!!


Day 1
1.20pm – Appreciate It
1.55pm – Energumene
3.05pm – Epatante

Day 2
1.20pm – Bob Olinger
4.15pm – Entoucas
4.50pm – Kilcruit

Day 3
2.30 – Allaho
3.40 – A Wave Of the Sea

Day 4
1.20pm – Zanahiyr
3.05pm – Al Boum

> Banker Bet –

Monkfish – Wednesday
Chacun Pour Soi – Wednesday
Al Boum – Friday
Elimay – Friday

Previous Holy St Patrick, there’s a pair of them in it...
Next ​Our own Cartoon Saloon ​is in line for a Bafta