Horse Racing

Cheltenham Festival 2021 tips from Love Island star Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes has an extra special reason to be watching the Cheltenham Festival this year.

The horse he co-owns through the Coral Champions Club, Annie Mc, is racing for a big win in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase.

An 8-1 shot with the sponsors, the seven-year-old has won her last two races in Listed company – and bids to round off her season with a memorable hat-trick on March 19.

The new race at the meeting is run just over an hour after the feature WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Coral ambassador Hughes, 24, will be presenting on ITV Racing during the card, trying to keep his cool on the big day.

After her win at Warwick on February 3, he tweeted: "I'm gone, emotional wreck. Pure heart. Shaking.

"I love you so much Annie, you've my heart forever. Superstar.

"Jumps racing gets you like this. Best sport in the world."

Coral recently launched a prize draw to give their customers the chance to own a share of Annie Mc ahead of her race, plus a host of other prizes.

Hughes will be at the heart of the action during the afternoon, in his role for ITV.

Here are his three top tips for the four days of high class racing at Prestbury Park:

Soaring Glory

Like Annie Mc, the six-year-old is trained in the Cotswolds by Jonjo O'Neill.

He comfortably won the Betfair Hurdle on February 21 – and is set to run in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle  on Tuesday.

"Soaring Glory was my one to watch for the season and he is a good horse," Hughes said.

Royale Pagaille

A big improver, Venetia Williams' seven-year-old has won his last three starts. Ante-post favourite for the National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices' Chase, connections have now committed to running him in the Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup.

"He has a lot of pace for a stayer and his sectionals were very good at Kempton (December 27)," Hughes said.

"I think it's a bread and butter Gold Cup – and he would have a massive chance."

Paisley Park

The 2019 winner of the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle aims to regain his crown on day three. He arrives at Cheltenham via a Grade 1 triumph at Ascot

"He looks a great price in the Stayers' Hurdle to me," Hughes said.

"He flew home at Ascot and is very solid. He has the ability to win this again so let's see if that happens."

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