Longshot Ted: Looking ahead to the 2021 Cheltenham Festival

Fakir D'oudairies was a smart novice chaser last season.
Fakir D'oudairies was a smart novice chaser last season.

With the Jumps season proper now upon us, Ed Quigley takes a long range look at the months ahead, with big-priced selections for the Ladbrokes Trophy, the Ryanair Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle...

With the winter edging ever closer, that means National Hunt trainers start plotting routes to big targets, and I start seeking out the ante-post wagers. The Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on November 28 is always a favourite of mine. Copperhead (10/1), I have flagged for a while now that he is an ideal candidate for the race, but as a previous Grade 1 winner, his stablemate SLATE HOUSE looks overpriced at 33/1. He was last seen disappointing in the RSA Chase, but that came at the end of a hard season when the stable were under a bit of a cloud. The benefit of that performance is that his mark has eased to 152, and so he makes plenty of appeal from a handicap perspective. He shapes as though he wants a trip, enjoys soft ground, and tends to show good early season form, so he looks to be ticking a lot of right boxes this race. Colin Tizzard has said he will go for a prep run at Wetherby this weekend and then onto Newbury where I expect his stable to have a major say in the outcome of that famous old handicap.

I've been perusing the Cheltenham Festival markets for a while, and the latest horse to go into my portfolio is FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES, who I think has the propensity to develop into a serious Ryanair Chase contender this term. He was last seen finishing runner-up to Put The Kettle On in this year's Arkle, in which he ran all the way to the line after looking a little outpaced. A winner of the Drinmore last year, I think a step back up in distance will suit this lightly raced five-year-old, and trainer, Joseph O'Brien appears to be leaning that way, mentioning in a recent stable update that 'intermediate trips will suit' and I can see him flourishing this season. Cheltenham is a course that he enjoys, and 25/1 makes plenty of appeal.

I enjoy trying to find a left-of-field selection, and the Stayers' Hurdle picture looks a fairly wide-open one in which there are some interesting types at decent prices. Having already flagged up Thyme Hill at 20/1 for this I will be hoping for a bold show from him at Wetherby this weekend against Lisnagar Oscar. McFabulous looks a smashing prospect and the likes of Sire Du Berlais and Fury Road could easily make the step up, but at 66/1, the Olly Murphy trained THOMAS DARBY looks worth a flutter. Things didn't work out over fences, but he appeared to relish the return to hurdles and the step up in trip to an extended 2m3f, when defying top weight and a mark of 151 to land a Ascot handicap back in January. It was deep ground that day and he powered clear in the closing stages. Fontwell's tight track didn't suit when last seen, but I would love to see him have a crack at 3m, and his handler seems keen by suggesting 'we will see if he is a Stayers' Hurdle horse.' Ascot in mid-November looks a natural starting point before a crack at something like the Long Walk Hurdle. He is unexposed and could be a bit of a joker in the pack.


Ladbrokes Trophy, Newbury, Saturday 28th November - Slate House, 1pt win, 33/1 (generally)

Ryanair Chase, Cheltenham Festival, Thursday 18th March 2021 - Fakir D'oudairies, 1pt win, 25/1 (generally)

Stayers' Hurdle, Cheltenham Festival, Thursday 18th March 2021 - Thomas Darby, 1pt win, 66/1 (Bet365)

Ladbrokes Trophy
Slate House silk

Slate House

Ryanair Chase
Fakir D'oudairies silk

Fakir D'oudairies

Stayers' Hurdle
Thomas Darby silk

Thomas Darby

Today's Racing Tips

Bet £5 Get £20 In Free Bets

Min £5 bet on the SBK. Rewards valid for 7 days. Free bets must be placed at min odds of 1.5. Exchange free bet limited to certain markets. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
New customers using promo code C40 only. 1x per customer. Min £10/€10 bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Free bets paid as 2x £15/€15 (expires after 30 days). Max £10 Bonus. 35x wagering requirement. Max redeemable amount £25. Casino bonus expires 72 hours from issue. Eligibility rules, free-bet rules, game, location, payment-method, currency restrictions, stake contributions and terms and conditions apply. 18+ begambleaware.org.
£20 Risk Free First Bet Money Back In Cash
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is €/£20. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Welcome Offer
Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code ‘100BET365’ can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. 18+ begambleaware.org.
Bet £10 Get £30 + 60 Free Spins
New UK & NI customers only. Promo code SPORTS60. Deposit and place first sports bet of £10+ in one transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0)+, settled within 60 days. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 60 Free Spins on Justice League Comics. 7-day expiry.  Full T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 & Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £20
18+ New Customers only. Deposit, opt in and place a £10 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive a £10 Free Sports Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days.  Plus a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. PayPal and Card Payments only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.
£25 Bet Bundle
18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 qualifying bets. 13 bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Money back As A Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Racing Bet Loses + £10 Casino
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Racing 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 35x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Racing bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in. #ad