News and STORIES

Three Big-Priced Horses to Look Out for at the Cheltenham Festival

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday February 22, 2021

With the Cheltenham Festival taking place in a few weeks, we would be taking a look at some horses you should consider betting on at the festival.

Race Category: Ultima Handicap Chase

Race Date: Tuesday, March 16

Horse: One For The Team

The Nick Williams' leading novice chaser, One For The Team, is one horse to look out for at the Ultima Handicap Chase. He is entered in Graded staying novice chases, but a handicap mark of 140 will see him head into Cheltenham glory.

Nick Williams has a sweet-sour experience so far at the Ultima. From Maljimar losing to Wichita Lineman and Coo Star Sivola pulling off a long-term plan to win the race with Lizzie Kelly in 2018. Training horses to a target has over time been Williams' specialty as only a few do it better than Williams. And he is highly rated to win the Ultima with the chaser, One For The Team.

At Newbury, One For The Team put up an impressive performance, as he gave Next Destination a good race and went on to stay on and was not beaten far in the Kauto Star. One For The Team will be looking to secure a big race success for his trainer as this will be a real test of stamina.

Race Category: Champion Bumper

Race Date: Wednesday, March 17

Horse: I Am Maximus

Nicky Henderson is yet to secure a victory in the Champion Bumper, despite having 68 Cheltenham Festival winners, which are spread across over 20 races in the forthcoming festival. In 2000, Inca finished as a runner-up, and Trabolgan also finished as a runner-up in 2003. In 2017, Claimantakinforgan placed third in the race. Henderson has always come close to snatching the win, but he hopes to change the narrative with I Am Maximus.

The five years old Claudio Micheal Grech-owned horse made a great impression on his racecourse debut, beating My Drogo in October at Cheltenham race ground. This same track will be used to hold the championship event in March. I Am Maximus has not been seen since his win in October and as such would be very ready for the race come March.

Race Category: Coral Cup

Race Date: Wednesday, March 17

Horse: Black Tears

At the Coral Cup last season, Black Tears was placed in the second position, finishing closely behind Dame De Compagnie. Both horses were very clear of the other runners, including Protektorat, Bachassan, Honest Vic, and others. She would likely participate in that race again rather than appear in the Mares' Hurdle, which might have her feature against Concertista and Roksana. Black Tears is a favorite to take the win at the Coral Cup if she goes for the race again.

At the mares' races this season thus far, she has placed third twice. But Gordon Elliot has reassured that she is a better horse in the spring, as such a better outcome is expected at the Cheltenham Festival. Black Tears might have an appearance at Punchestown come February 24 to help keep her sharp for the festival.