The unmissable 197-1 Paul Nicholls Cheltenham Festival treble


The Cheltenham Festival kicks off in just 3 days time and the time for waiting is nearly over. The Festival is the pinnacle of National Hunt racing and it brings together the best horses from both Britain and Ireland.

One of the yards with the strongest Festival hand is Paul Nicholls. Since 1997, Nicholls has been top trainer on six occasions, though his most recent title was in 2009. Although 2021 is unlikely to be his next, he has three very strong chances that are not to be underestimated at this year’s Festival. You can find them below!

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Houx Gris

Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle

A dual winner in France, Houx Gris made a good start to life with Nicholls at Chepstow back in January. He was given a very difficult stable debut in the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle, where he acquitted himself well to finish third behind a pair of smart horses.

He can only improve for that pleasing introduction and the Fred Winter looks the perfect race for him. A mark of 128 is far from harsh and the good to soft ground next week will suit him perfectly. Strong early fractions will play into his favour and Nicholls has a great record in the race, training Sanctuaire, Qualando and Diego Du Charmil to Fred Winter glory. With that in mind, he has excellent claims.


Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle 

The Ballymore is shaping up to be one of the best races of the Festival with Bob Olinger, Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame having bright futures. Nicholls’ has already raised eyebrows by comparing Bravemansgame to Denman and although he’ll be a much better horse once he jumps a fence, his hurdling form has been impressive thus far.

He suffered defeated on debut at Chepstow, but he’s left that well behind since, landing Grade 1 honours in the Challow at Newbury last time. That race has been a woeful trial for the Ballymore, but trends are meant to be broken and he was mightily impressive that day. A stiff 2m 5f test will suit him down to the ground and with good to soft conditions perfect for him, it’s difficult not to be excited by his claims.

Barbados Bucks

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 

Running in the familiar colours of the Stewart Family, Barbados Buck’s will look to emulate Big Buck’s as the yard’s leading stayer. He has some way to go to draw those comparisons, but he’s certainly heading in the right direction.

He’s won three of his four hurdling starts, landing a pair of novice events at Southwell before defying a double penalty at Kempton in January. The further they went that day, the stronger he became, and he looks the perfect type for the Albert Bartlett. It’s a race that requires big reserves of stamina and his staying power looks to be his biggest strength.

He will need to take another step forward, there’s no doubt about that, but Nicholls’ stayers tend to improve for their racing. The forecast suggests he’ll have his ideal ground and if his breeding is anything to go by, we haven’t seen anywhere near the best of him yet.

Get clued up for the festival with the latest Cheltenham tips and Cheltenham free bets to get a head start on your festival punting. 

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