The new National Hunt racing season is almost upon us, and sports fans will be rubbing their hands with anticipation for the upcoming campaign. It’s set to be something of a celebratory season, with significant spectator presence to return to racecourses up and down the country following the difficult times for the sport caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
But despite fans being absent from many of the sport’s main events last season, we still witnessed some sensational drama, not least at the Cheltenham Festival, where Rachael Blackmore stole the show with her stunning performances. There were plenty of talking points at Prestbury Park back in March, and whilst the 2022 edition of the Festival is still months away, punters are already starting to analyse the horse racing betting odds and are making some early predictions.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the horses tipped to win the Festival’s feature races, and see how the market is shaping up at this very early stage. You never know, there might be some real value to be found!
Who could forget the 2021 edition of the Champion Hurdle, where Honeysuckle and Blackmore reigned supreme, recording a memorable victory. Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the race, and Honeysuckle maintained her unbeaten run with a dominant display.
Ahead of the 2022 event, Honeysuckle is being touted as the heavy favourite to retain her crown, should Henry de Bromhead choose to enter her in the Champion Hurdle. Still yet to taste defeat, it’s unclear when we will next see the mare in action, but she’ll take some stopping in the day one feature race, where she is the 2/1 favourite to make it two on the spin.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
There was plenty of drama in the Champion Chase last year, as Put The Kettle On upset the odds to claim victory for trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Aidan Coleman. It was the first time a mare had won the event, and a moment to remember for all the horse’s connections.
Heading into 2022, though, Shishkin is being tipped as the prime contender to win the Champion Chase. The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old won the Arkle last year at Cheltenham, and it’s clear that the horse’s connections have their sights set on bigger things. Watch this space!
A supremely dominant performance from Flooring Porter and jockey Danny Mullins claimed the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle in March, despite the bookies having 2019 winner Paisley Park as a hot favourite. This was after Thyme Hill had missed out on the chance to continue his great rivalry with Paisley Park due to injury.
For 2022, Thyme Hill is likely to be back in contention, and the horse racing betting tips are backing the Philipps Hobbs-trained horse to get the job done at Prestbury Park. With plenty to prove after missing out earlier this year, it’ll be interesting to see how Thyme Hill fares.
The Gold Cup is the showpiece race of the Cheltenham Festival, and it’s every jockey and trainer’s dream to land a winner. In 2021, it was Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Indo who denied stablemate A Plus Tard and defending champion Al Boum Photo to claim victory.
There is a lot of interest in the antepost betting for the 2022 Gold Cup, and Monkfish is currently the horse being mooted as a potential champion. Monkfish won the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the 2021 Festival and the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2020, so knows what it takes to triumph at Prestbury Park. But the Gold Cup is a whole different kettle