Henry De Bromhead’s Top Chances At The 2021 Cheltenham Festival

Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore pose with A Plus Tard over Christmas.

Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore pose with A Plus Tard over Christmas.

2021 Cheltenham Festival – Henry de Bromhead Tips

It is a case of quality rather than quantity for County Waterford Trainer Henry De Bromhead as he prepares for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. He has struck twice in the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Sizing Europe (2011) and Special Tiara (2017). This season he has his sights set on the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup and could be doubly represented in both races.

Honeysuckle (Champion Hurdle, Tuesday)

Honeysuckle has been confirmed a definite starter for the Champion Hurdle after her impressive ten-length win in the Irish equivalent in February. The seven-year-old mare was completing a perfect ten out of ten starts over hurdles when drawing clear of Abacadabras to win the race for a second successive season.

Last season connections opted to side-step the Champion in favour of the Mares Hurdle where she duly obliged, repelling Benie Des Dieux in one of the highlights of the meeting. A workmanlike victory at Fairyhouse in November was followed by that devastating Leopardstown success. She is currently vying for favouritism with reigning champion Epatante who was surprisingly beaten in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Expected to join Honeysuckle in the feature race on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival is the five-year-old Aspire Tower, runner-up in last season’s Triumph Hurdle. The son of Born To Sea was impressive at Down Royal in October before finishing a game second to Sharjah in the Grade 1 Matheson Hurdle. The stable’s Jason The Militant also has a Champion Hurdle entry but he looks held by Aspire Tower on form.

A Plus Tard and Minella Indo (Cheltenham Gold Cup, Friday)

De Bromhead’s Cheltenham Gold duo are A Plus Tard and Minella Indo, both previous festival winners. A Plus Tard won the Novices’ Handicap Chase in 2019 before finishing third in the Ryanair last season. That had looked his most likely target again this season prior to winning the Savills Chase at the end of December.

That was only his second start at three miles but he finished strongly to catch Kemboy on the run-in. The runner-up has since boosted the form by winning the Irish Gold Cup. Minella Indo was unlucky to be caught by Champ in the RSA Chase last season after winning the Albert Bartlett in 2019 at 50-1. He started this campaign with victories at Wexford and Navan but fell in the Savills Chase before finishing a one-paced fourth in the Irish Gold Cup.

Envoi Allen (Marsh Novice Chase, Thursday)

All eyes will be on Envoi Allen as he defends his unbeaten record in  the opening race of day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival, the Marsh Novices’ Chase. The seven-year-old won the Champion Bumper in 2019 and the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle last season but has only recently moved to Henry De Bromhead after former trainer Gordon Elliott was suspended from training. Envoi Allen has been imperious in his three starts over fences and has been widely tipped as a future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. Anything less than victory here would come as a major surprise.

Best Of The Rest

The stable also have a big chance in the Ballymore Novices’ Chase on Wednesday with Bob Olinger. After chasing home the smart Ferny Hollow at Gowran Park, the gelding has won stylishly at Navan and Naas. His most recent success was in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle where he beat Blue Lord by six and a half lengths.

Eklat De Rire goes for the RSA Chase with solid each-way claims after defeating Escaria Ten at Naas. The son of Saddex excels when the mud is flying so his prospects will improve if the going is testing this year. Both of his victories over fences have been in heavy ground.

Put The Kettle On sprang a 16-1 surprise when landing the Arkle Trophy for De Bromhead in 2020. The mare was given a fine ride by Aidan Coleman to beat Fakir D’Oudairies. She reappeared at Cheltenham in November to win the Grade 2 Shloer Chase by a length and a quarter from Duc Des Genievres. Her limitations appeared to be exposed on her most recent outing when only third to Champion Chase favourite Chacun Pour Soi. Put The Kettle On could run in the Champion Chase or in the inaugural Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase over a longer trip but you could do worse than putting some of your Cheltenham Festival Free Bets on her

Champagne Gold  could be a leading player in the County Hurdle. The son of Presenting was second to Drop The Anchor in the valuable Ladbrokes Hurdle at Leopardstown in February. He didn’t quite get home over two and a half miles behind Fakiera in November and a fast-run two miles looks ideal. With Honeysuckle and A Plus Tard leading a strong raiding party, it would be no surprise to see Henry De Bromhead claim another top Cheltenham prize in 2021.