The phrase ’12 months is a long time in sport’ is a particularly pertinent point where horse racing is concerned.
Ante-post betting is fraught with danger, with many well-fancied horses never making it to their long-term stated target.
However, the Cheltenham Festival has historically featured horses that have become multiple winners of races at the meeting.
In recent times the likes of Altior and Buveur D’Air have etched their names into Cheltenham folklore and more will undoubtedly follow over the coming years.
Read on as we look at three horses who ran at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival who we believe are primed for glory next time around.
Shishkin a star of the future
Shishkin headed into this year’s Festival as one of the strongest Cheltenham tips after two impressive victories at Newbury and Huntingdon.
Nicky Henderson’s charge had a troubled passage in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, but still managed to claim victory ahead of a field full of useful prospects.
Henderson has suggested that Shishkin will go over larger obstacles next season and the Arkle Chase looks to be his most natural target.
Bookmakers are offering odds of around 5/1 for Shishkin to win the Arkle in 2021 and that looks a great long-term investment.
Ferny Hollow to follow in stablemate’s footsteps
Plenty of punters had their fingers burnt as Ferny Hollow was beaten at odds-on in his first two races in Ireland.
However, the expensive purchase showcased his talents with a smooth victory at Fairyhouse and followed up with a fully deserved success in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
It has taken a while for trainer Willie Mullins to unlock Ferny Hollow’s potential, but the sky is now the limit for this hugely talented horse.
Ferny Hollow is expected to try and emulate stablemate Envoi Allen in winning the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – at around 16/1 he is simply too good to ignore.
Paisley Park fancied to bounce back
Paisley Park was one of the biggest bankers at the 2020 Festival, but produced a below-par performance to trail home in seventh in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
That run was simply too bad to be true and a subsequent test that showed the horse had an irregular heartbeat came as no surprise.
With some time still to go until horse racing resumes, Trainer Emma Lavelle has insisted that the issue has rectified itself and is confident that all is well with the horse.
Paisley Park had dominated the staying hurdle scene over the past couple of seasons and is strongly fancied to bounce back at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.