Ante-Post Picks for Cheltenham and the National in 2021


2020 has delivered one of the most unusual and unexpected seasons in the British Horse Racing calendar. From the Virtual Grand National back in April to many of the summer races being conducted behind closed doors, the year has presented challenges for runners, riders, organisers, and bookmakers alike. It’s no wonder, then, we’re already looking forward to the 2021 season and the showpiece races that lie ahead.  

Two of the most loved and crucial events in the European racing calendar, The Cheltenham Festival and The Grand National Festival are on track to go ahead as usual next year, so it’s time to start thinking about who you’ll be backing to be first past the post.  

A note for first-time Punters 

Taking a punt during these two key racing events is all part of the tradition, therefore they provide a great opportunity for first-time bettors to get involved. The Blue Riband races like The Gold Cup and The Grand National are typically the races where most novice punters will choose to make their debut bets, as they often seem the most approachable, but there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with betting throughout the duration of both festivals.  

Even if 2021 will be your first time betting on Cheltenham races or the National, adopting a smart approach centred on making strategic decisions – similar to the one used by successful poker players – will serve you well.


The Cheltenham Festival  

Often referred to as ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’, the Cheltenham Festival kicks off the British jump racing season. Taking place from Tuesday 16th to Friday 19th March 2021, each day of the festival will be jam-packed with exhilarating racing action and plenty of off-course events and attractions.  

Picks for the Unibet Champion Hurdle 

A highlight race on Day 1 of the festival, the Champion Hurdle is a Grade One race open to horses aged 4 and above. In 2020, JP McManus’ classy Epatante took the win, giving her owner the fourth successive win in this particular race. Consequently, she’s leading the pack when it comes to ante-post odds for 2021.

Epatante (Trainer: Nicky Henderson) – 3/1 

Abracadabras (Trainer: Gordon Elliot) – 8/1 

Goshen (Trainer: Gary Moore) – 8/1  


Picks for the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle 

Taking place on Queen Mother’s Day – Day 3 of the festival – the Grade One Stayer’s Hurdle is the ultimate test of endurance, being the only 3-mile race in the entire festival. This year’s favourite and the reigning champion, Paisley Park looked all set to win for the second time, having been unbeaten in his seven hurdle races in the run-up to the event. However, he eventually finished in a disappointing seventh place. This hasn’t put the bookies off giving him the best odds for 2021 though, as he’s leading the field 7/1. 

Paisley Park (Trainer: Emma Lavelle) – 7/1 

Benie Des Dieux (Trainer: Willie Mullins) – 8/1 

Thyme Hill (Trainer: Phillip Hobbs) – 11/1 

Picks for the Magners Gold Cup 

The most prestigious event of the entire Festival, the Magners Gold Cup famously closes the festival on Gold Cup Day. This year’s edition of the race was particularly memorable as it was the second consecutive win for Al Boum Photo and his legendary trainer Willie Mullins. Naturally, he’s been leading the ante-post betting since and looks to be on track to join the likes of Arkle, Best Mate and Cottage Rake in winning the Gold Cup hattrick.  

Al Boum Photo (Trainer: Willie Mullins) – 5/1 

Santini (Trainer: Nicky Henderson) – 7/1 

Champ (Trainer: Nicky Henderson) – 10/1 

The Grand National 

What can be said about the showpiece race of the Randox Health Grand National Festival that hasn’t already been said before? Steeped in history, this 30-fence steeplechase is the ultimate test of grit, talent, and staying power. Contested and won by the world’s greatest racehorses in history, taking place in 2021 on April 10th, it’s sure to be as much a spectacle as ever.  

There are those in the industry who would rather forget the events of this year’s festival, as the National was actually contested in Virtual Reality. With the proceeds going to charity, the race was televised and won by Potter’s Corner. Leading favourite Tiger Roll, who was attempting to go down in history by winning the race for the third consecutive time finished in fourth place – or his avatar did, at least.  

With things returning to normal in 2021, Tiger Roll is firmly back in the favourite position again, with trainer Gordon Elliot declaring that superstar gelding is “moving great” and looking brilliant and he “couldn’t be happier” with his form right now.  

Tiger Roll (Trainer: Gordon Elliott) – 14/1 

Burrows Saint (Trainer: Willie Mullins) – 20/1 

Santini (Trainer: Nicky Henderson) – 25/1 


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Author: Suzanne Ashton Founder, Everything Horse Ba Hons Marketing Management email:

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