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Three Outsiders for the 2023 Cheltenham Festival


With so many quality horses running in each of the 28 races, the Cheltenham Festival is a meeting where outsiders often do well at. Runners which have big prices should not be ignored if you feel they have a good chance of being in the mix.

Here is a look at this year’s meeting, and three outsiders who should be on your shortlist for the four-day event.

Epatante – Champion Hurdle (20/1)

They say you should never fear one horse in jumps racing, so with that in mind, it is worth looking at the rivals to Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle. Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten hurdle is now as short as 1/3 in the Cheltenham Festival odds for the day one feature. There are two former winners in the entries for the premier hurdle contest, and one of those, Honeysuckle, is likely to line up in the Mares’ Hurdle instead of the Championship race. 2020 winner Epatante is set to take her chance again against Constitution Hill, and at 20/1, she is overpriced to prevail.

Those backing GB in their Prestbury Cup bets will be confident of a British-trained horse winning the Champion Hurdle this year. They will be expecting it to be Constitution Hill, but if he has an off day, and Epatante is at her best, the mare is good enough to win this contest for a second time for the home team. However, odds of 1/10 for Ireland suggest a British victory is unlikely overall in the Prestbury Cup.

Royale Pagaille – Cheltenham Gold Cup (25/1)

With a lot of early pace setters in the Cheltenham Gold Cup field this year, it is a race that could suit a horse with proven stamina. Royale Pagaille has consistently been one of the best 3m staying chasers in the UK over the last few seasons and he has shown he can see out the distance.

The two-time Peter Marsh Chase winner rarely puts in a bad performance. He finished second behind Bravemansgame in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in his sole start of the campaign so far. Expect to see him build upon that when he lines up at Cheltenham.

Venetia Williams’ runner finished fifth in the Gold Cup in 2022. He acts on all ground types, but if it does become testing during the Festival, few will thrive more than the nine-year-old at the meeting.

Nube Negra – Queen Mother Champion Chase (16/1)

Nube Negra came less than a length away from winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2021 when he finished second behind Put The Kettle On. He showed his liking for Cheltenham once again earlier this season when he prevailed at the course at the November Meeting in the Grade Two Shloer Chase.

Energumene’s defeat in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot back in January means this year’s renewal of the 2m contest is wide-open. It may be a year when a big-priced horse comes on top. Dan Skelton’s chaser is 16/1 in the betting for the day two Championship race. At those odds, he looks to have been underestimated ahead of the race.

This year’s Cheltenham Festival takes place between 14-17 March. The final declarations for the 28 races will be announced 48 hours before each race.

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