Matt Newman’s Cheltenham Festival dark horses

Winter Lion wins at Cheltenham

We’re into the last last couple of days before the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. The countdown has been on a long time and the hours of late night study, burning the midnight oil are almost complete. While going over the twenty-eight races looking for our free horse racing tips, there have been some fascinating dark horses found at decent prices which are worth serious consideration each way.


Wed 4.50 – Weatherbys Championship Bumper

The bumper is always a race that is poured over in serious detail after the fact, looking for the top novice hurdlers for the following season. There are a whole host of interesting ones here but one of the most fascinating has to be the Richard Spencer-trainer Wonderwall.

The winner of an Ascot bumper in November, he was green back at that track in December in a Listed contest that looks one of the strongest run so far this season over here. Both of those came on soft ground but his pedigree suggests he’ll be far better on a sound surface and the weather forecast looks in his favour to get that.


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Thu 4.50 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

A horse who has been on the radar for quite some time is Milanford. He is a superb jumper for an inexperienced chaser and given his size, he looks well capable of stepping up considerably on what is in the book so far. Drying conditions would be a big plus for him during the week.

A dour stayer, he misses the National Hunt Chase for this. Nick Mitchell trains, he also trains Lieutenant Rocco who was vying for favouritism in the Ultima until he got injured. When that horse won at Ffos Las in February, Mitchell was asked on Twitter if Lieutenant Rocco was National Hunt Chase bound. He replied, “Sorry, not entered and wouldn’t get anywhere near Milanford.” That comment pricked up the ears in no uncertain terms so he looks one very much to follow.


Fri 4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Fire Attack is a fascinating runner in this. Things have not gone right for him of late but he was a smart bumper horse last season and began this campaign running Fakiera to half a length at Navan off level weights in November. That rival is at the head of the market for the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett so a mark of 138 here for Fire Attack looks very tempting.

Joseph O’Brien has had four runners in this race, including a winner and a third. Of the two unplaced, one of them was sent off a very well supported favourite so better was expected. This does have the hint of one that has been lined up by a very smart trainer.


Check out the myracing experts’ Cheltenham Festival tips every day of the festival, and don’t forget to check out the latest Cheltenham free bets and offers to get a headstart on your festival punting. 

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