The 2020 Champion Hurdle winner Epatante looked like a horse that could go on to win multiple titles when she hacked up in the race last season. She has further justified those claims on her first start this season, landing the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle with ease.
The feature race on day one of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival could well have a strong odds on favourite by the time we get there, with the Henderson mare already trading at a short price.
Antepost betting has her as a strong 7/4 favourite with many bookmakers and punters are already using betting promotions for the Champion Hurdle to get on.
We still have three months to go until the festival, but this mare is seen as one of the bankers of the meeting by some.
Superb Win in Fighting Fifth
Cheltenham will feature a lot in the latest sports betting news over the coming weeks and that is because we will see a number of big important races take place. These will determine who we all fancy, to win on the day, and what prices are on offer.
Epatante returned to action in the Fighting Fifth hurdle at Newcastle, a race that trainer Nicky Henderson has used a lot in the past for his top horses. She was a strong favourite in the race and fully justified that with how she breezed past the field and then came away from them in good style.
She won in the manner of a horse that has plenty more to give, should it be required, and she certainly gets the two mile trip well so stamina won’t be an issue.
There is always a concern when a new season begins, but Epatante has blown any concerns out of the water with how she came back at Newcastle.
Can Anyone Challenge Her?
If you go back to Epatante winning the Champion Hurdle in March then it is hard to see any of the runners from that race turning around the form.
Coupled with the fact that the top novice horses from last season are mainly going chasing and won’t meet her in the Champion Hurdle and there is every chance that this mare not only wins again, but that she dominates the race for a couple of years.
Yes, she looks incredibly special and capable of winning a strong renewal of the Champion Hurdle but on top of that, it appears as though we won’t have a strong renewal in 2021.
It is not ideal for the race and the public who want to see a hotly contested Champion Hurdle, but this season could really play into the hands of Epatante.
The Mares 7lb Allowance
There has been a lot of talk about the allowance that mares receive when they take on the boys in the big races. Epatante is one of the mares that have been able to win against the boys, and she has been very impressive in doing so.
She has impressed so much when winning that we are questioning whether or not the mares should receive 7lb as an allowance against the boys, does this make it too easy for them?
This will no doubt be brought up again if she can win a second Champion Hurdle, especially if she wins it with ease, just like she did last season.
Two victories, both of which show she would have more than likely won the race without the allowance, will no doubt trigger more calls for this to be scrapped in a bid to make the task harder for top mares.