3 Horses to Follow Ahead of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival
Even though the National Hunt season for 2021/22 has only just begun, all roads lead to the Cotswolds in March – UK racing’s flagship occasion, the Cheltenham Festival.
What will unfold in the months leading up to the meeting at Prestbury Park is anybody’s guess, but assuming form and fitness hold then there are some horses who will be expected to be in the hunt for the spoils.
As you might expect, the leading bookmakers are already offering betting on horse racing odds for the Cheltenham Festival, and so you can have a flutter or two on a few long-range selections and ensure the best prices in the ante post market.
It’s actually these horses that often offer some of the best value, and many horse racing tips columns will look to strike early – for example, one of the selections we have earmarked below, Bob Olinger, is priced at 3/1 to win the March Novices Chase in the ante post market, and those are odds that simply won’t be available on raceday.
So, with that in mind, let’s see if we can find three of the best to follow in the lead up to the March extravaganza.
Decisions are to be made as to whether Bob Olinger remains a hurdler or switches to the stiffer jumps and goes chasing.
It seems increasingly likely that Henry de Bromhead will opt for the latter option, and in that sense the six-year-old will become a very dangerous customer on the chasing circuit at Prestbury Park next year.
🗣 “His schooling has gone great”
Bob Olinger could make his eagerly anticipated debut over fences on Saturday after being entered for a 2m3½f beginners’ chase at Punchestown
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) November 9, 2021
If his progress is stratospheric, a tilt at the Arkle is not out of the question. However, more conservatively, it’s likely that Bob Olinger will be one of the most fearsome debut chasers around – therefore a tilt at the March Novices Chase seems the most likely course of action.
It looks likely that Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit will renew their hurdling rivalry this season, and that should come to a gripping conclusion at Cheltenham.
In 2021 it was Willie Mullins’ charge that just took the line in first place under a phenomenal ride from Rachael Blackmore, before Kilcruit gained revenge six weeks later at Punchestown.
The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle could be the likely target for both, and with previous form at the Cheltenham track counting for plenty it’s Sir Gerhard who holds the most appeal.
Unbeaten in 2021 to date, Chantry House could be primed for an even brighter 2022.
A staying on win in the Marsh Novices Chase hinted at the seven-year-old’s suitability for the Cheltenham slope, and also gave a nod to the potential that could be unlocked with a step up in trip.
Chantry House – a successful return to action
🥇 Eight wins
🏆 G1 Marsh Chase
🏆 G1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase
💷 Over £180,000 in prize money
✅ Winning return
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) November 7, 2021
And that seemed to be vindicated just a few weeks later in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase. Chantry House’s first glimpse at the three-mile length went absolutely swimmingly with a stunning 32-length victory, and a handy seasonal return at Sandown Park confirms that big things are surely set to follow. Perhaps a tilt at the Gold Cup?
Either way, he – and Sir Gerhard and Bob Olinger – look set for a fine season ahead.