The Marsh Novices Chase is open to horses aged five years and older and is run on the new course over a distance of two and a half miles.
There are seventeen fences to be jumped and last year saw an epic battle to the line featuring Samcro and Melon.
There have now been ten quality renewals of the Marsh Chase and eight of those winners were trained in Ireland.
Eight of the previous ten winners had already raced at a previous Cheltenham Festival and seven of the winners had also won a Graded novice chase last time out.
Willie Mullins has a fantastic record in the race having won it four times and last year Samcro became the eldest horse to win it at the age of eight.
Previous Winners of the Marsh Novices Chase
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for Marsh Novices Chase 2021.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
Envoi Allen – Henry De Bromhead
Envoi Allen spearheads the Irish invasion and comes here unbeaten in eleven races.
He has two previous Festival wins under his belt and certainly knows how to rise to the big occasion.
A recent change of yard ought not have had too much of an impact and he may actually improve for it like so many others.
He is following a similar route to his success here last year and he looks the one they all have to beat.
Shan Blue – Dan Skelton
Shan Blue was beaten twenty-seven lengths by Envoi Allen at the Festival last year and has clearly appreciated the switch to fences.
He ran up a sequence of three consecutive wins including when getting the better of The Big Breakaway at Kempton on Boxing Day.
He was put in his place by Sporting John over this course and distance next time though although when dropping back down to this distance.
He looks to have it all to do here and may chase home the favourite.
Chantry House – Nicky Henderson
Chantry House is on an upward curve and had three lengths to spare over Coconut Splash at Wetherby just a few weeks ago.
He has been to Cheltenham three times previously and won a novice hurdle here back in December 2019.
He was clearly not right when beaten by stablemate Fusil Raffles over the course and distance in December and proved that running to be all wrong with his subsequent win.
Will have to be at the very top of his game to trouble the main protagonists however.
Chatham Street Lad – Michael Winters
Chatham Street Lad was an impressive winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over this course and distance back in December.
He followed that up with another fine effort at Fairyhouse back in January.
That run possibly came too soon and he has been off the track ever since.
His previous winning run here will stand him in good stead and he is capable of running a big race.
Fusil Raffles – Nicky Henderson
Fusil Raffles has always been held in high regard and his only disappointing run came here in November when he was pulled up in a race won by Eldorado Allen.
He has proved that was a one off as he had more than three lengths to spare over Lieutenant Rocco in a novice chase when winning here subsequently.
He is still around a stone inferior to Envoi Allen but is rated higher than stablemate Chantry House.
No surprise should he be the one to chase home the favourite.
Blackbow – Willie Mullins
Blackbow is generally consistent but he has been dismissed by twenty-eight and eleven lengths respectively in races at Naas and Leopardstown most recently.
A return to better ground should see him in a better light.
He has been placed at this level and at best could well grab a place at decent odds.
He skipped the Festival last year but was fifth to Relegate here in the Champion Bumper two seasons ago.
He needs to run the race of his life to trouble the judge here. Having endured four races already this season, he may well just prove a little off target.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2021 Marsh Novices Chase
Envoi Allen looks an absolute star in the making and seems to have scared away most of the opposition.
His recent move to Henry De Bromhead is unlikely to prove too much of a detriment and he can enhance his already unblemished record.
Shan Blue looks to be best of the remainder and can chase him home.
Odds With Paddy Power – correct at time of publication
- 4/9 Envoi Allen
- 9/1 Chantry House
- 10/1 Shan Blue
- 12/1 Chatham Street Lad
- 16/1 Fusil Raffles
- 33/1 Blackbow