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RacingBetter News
Wednesday 16th December 2020
Shishkin and Epatante set for opening day double at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham festival is now fast approaching, with just a few months to go, as we move into the festive period. This is set to be another memorable one, as stars come out to contest racing in order to great ready for those special four days at Prestbury park. It is still up in the air, as to whether spectators will be allowed to attend the special event but at present it looks like this may not be possible. Despite this, the event is still set to go ahead, and the opening day looks like it could prove to result in another double for Henderson, with both Shishkin and Epatante heading in as the overwhelming favourites.

Shishkin is now available at a best priced 7/4 for the Arkle and punters have already started picking up Cheltenham sign up offers and free bets. There is no doubt he will be included in many of these selections, as one of the early bankers. Shishkin made a faultless debut over fences at Kempton last month. This saw him pull effortlessly clear to win by 23 lengths and stamp him down as a current star of racing. The six-year-old has won five of his six starts, with his only defeat coming in his second start when falling at second flight. Last season also saw him win the Supreme Novices hurdle on the opening day of the meeting, despite clearly not appreciating the surface. It was another example of the horse’s ability that he was able to win and this further stamps him down as a potential banker for punters on the opening day of the festival in March.

Epatante is also set to contest the opening day, as she looks to defend her title in the Champion hurdle. She has now won eight of her ten starts under rules and is the current 6/4 favourite to again win at Prestbury park. It has long appeared a weak division, but she now looks to be the leading light and is set to take the world of beating in the race. Epatante recently returned and produced a breath-taking display to win easily in the Grade one Fighting Fifth hurdle at Newcastle. If she can maintain her form, then she is going to head into the Champion hurdle as the clear horse to beat and it could yet be the pair who again win for the trainer of the opening day of the festival.

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