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Cheltenham Festival Race Previews: Marsh Novices’ Chase

A festival hat-trick is on the cards for the poster boy of National Hunt racing in this year’s Marsh Novices’ Chase…



Shan Blue ridden by Harry Skelton clears the last before going on to win the bet365 Novices' Chase at Wetherby Racecourse.

Jumps superstar Envoi Allen heads to Prestbury Park to put his unbeaten status on the line once again, this time in the form of the Marsh Novices’ Chase.

The seven-year-old has made a faultless transition to fences, winning all three of his start quite comfortably.

Under the guidance of new trainer Henry De Bromhead, the former Champion Bumper and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner is looking very likely to add another Festival victory to his tally.

Envoi Allen and Davy Russell jump the last hurdle in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
Envoi Allen will chase a Cheltenham Festival hat-trick when he heads for the Marsh Novices’ Chase

With Monkfish indefinitely racing in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, it could be a simple task for the Irish talent.

Hoping to put a spanner in the works is Dan Skelton’s Shan Blue, who carries some interesting form into this contest. The winner of the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, he followed that victory with a strong second in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase in February.

It will take something incredibly special to beat the market favourite, so the seven-year-old will need to produce the performance of his career if he is to usurp Envoi Allen from his National Hunt throne.

Chantry House has improved after back surgery, with Nicky Henderson confident of his runner producing a big run here.

Chantry House and Nico De Boinville jump the last at Ascot Racecourse in November 2020
Chantry House has won two starts over fences but disappointed at Prestbury Park back in December

Stablemate Fusil Raffles will join him as well, with two victories under his belt at the Gloucestershire course this season already.

Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner Chatham Street Lad has prominent each-way claims here, while last season’s Champion Hurdle third Darver Star could be a threat if the ground is suitable and trainer Gavin Cromwell decides to send him here.

Chatham Street Lad wins the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham Racecourse in December 2020
Will Chatham Street Lad make the switch from handicap company ahead of the Thursday Grade One opener?

Willie Mullins is yet to decide whether Asterion Forlonge is to make the trip across the Irish Sea, but the Closutton trainer believes ‘this race is for him.’

Allart and Latest Exhibition are likely to head to other contests at the Festival, while Hitman is avoiding Cheltenham for Aintree instead.

Paul Nicholls has opted for Aintree as Hitman’s target as opposed to the Cheltenham Festival

It seems likely that Envoi Allen will land his Festival hat-trick here, but anything can happen at Cheltenham.

samcro won a thrilling marsh novices’ chase at the 2020 cheltenham festival [racing tv]

Read our other Festival race previews, including Wednesday’s Champion Chase.

Reece Charlton is a Content Writer at Low6 that specializes in horse racing. He is an avid hunter of value in the racing world, picking out longshots six days a week across the National Hunt and Flat cards on offer across the UK and Ireland. He keeps punters and race fans in the know with his racing expertise with previews and value picks for all the big cards and meetings.