Shishkin and Envoi Allen Top Cheltenham Festival Novice Entries

Cheltenham Festival winners Shishkin, Envoi Allen and Monkfish were quickly installed as the market leaders for the Grade One novice chases at this year’s Cheltenham Festival after they were confirmed as intended runners at this week’s entry stage.

Shishkin, who won last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the opening day of the meeting is set to put his credentials to the test in the Sporting Life Arkle, which is a race that his trainer Nicky Henderson has enjoyed plenty of success from in recent years, with Sprinter Sacre (2012), Simonsig (2013) and Alitor (2017) all winning for the Seven Barrows handler.

At this current stage, Shishkin has just one entry for the Festival and that comes in the Arkle, where he was one of 34 runners that have been entered for the Grade One on the first day.

Also included in the field is recent Henry VIII Novices’ Chase winner Allmankind, with trainer Dan Skelton suggesting in the media recently that they wouldn’t be running scared of Shishkin, despite his lofty reputation, and would be happy to meet in a build-up race at Warwick in February.

Other British-trained entries include Sky Pirate, who is also favourite for the Grand Annual, plus Hitman, Eldorado Allen and Ga Law.

Irish entries include those made by Willie Mullins, who has dominated the recent renewals of this race with four of the last six winners. At the entry stage, he has six runners in the race, which include the unbeaten Energumene, Franco De Port, Janidil and the 2019 Supreme winner Klassical Dream, who is yet to be seen over fences.

Arkle Betting

With Shishkin being so impressive over hurdles and in his short career as a chaser so far, it’s no surprise to see that the bookies have installed him as the 5/6 favourite for the Arkle in the ante-post betting.

A lot of the online sports bookmakers have now gone non-runner no bet on the Cheltenham Festival, which means you will get your stake back as cash if your selection does run in your intended race. The bookies also have plenty of other betting promotions ready for Cheltenham including the chance to get a free bet through offers such as money back as a bonus on Cheltenham Festival races.

Elsewhere in the betting for the Arkle, the Willie Mullins-trained Energumene is the 6/1 second favourite to continue his unbeaten run, while Allmankind is 10/1 and Sky Pirate as big as 20/1 with some bookmakers.

Other Novice Chase Entries

In the Cheltenham Festival’s other novice chases, the unbeaten Envoi Allen tops the bill as one of 47 entries for the Marsh Chase, which is Thursday’s opening race on the card.

The Gordon Elliott-trained superstar was quickly installed as the pre-race favourite after winning at Punchestown recently but isn’t without some challengers in the Marsh entries, which include Energumene, Shan Blue and Allart.

However, Messire Des Obeaux was left without an entry in the Marsh despite being a 12/1 chance for the race with some bookmakers, with The Big Getaway also set to miss the race after an injury ruled him out of being given an entry by Willie Mullins.

In the Festival Novices’ Chase, which has formerly been known as the RSA Chase, Monkfish is the name that leads a remarkable 53 entries for the big race.

They also include Latest Exhibition, who was a close second to Monkfish in last season’s Albert Bartlett before being well beaten by the same rival at Leopardstown over the Festive period.

Other entries for the Festival Novices’ Chase include recent Warwick winner Next Destination, as well as the talented trio of The Big Breakaway, Pencilfulloflead and Royal Pagaille.

In the National Hunt Chase, some of those have also been entered namely Latest Exhibition, Next Destination, Pencilfulloflead, Royal Pagaille and the hot favourite in the Gordon Elliott-trained Galvin.


Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on

Read More from Pete White