It’s finally here. Get ready to hear the Cheltenham Festival roar on Tuesday as an action-packed week of racing begins at Prestbury Park.
The Champion Hurdle is the highlight of the first day of racing, with this year’s race looking wide open.
The 15:30 race heads up our tips for Day 1 as we look over the latest horse racing betting ahead of the festival.…
Cheltenham Day 1 Tips – Champion Hurdle Picks & Full Tuesday Betting Preview
Champion Hurdle Tips (15:30)
Last year’s Champion Hurdle produced a surprise winner, with Gavin Cromwell securing a memorable first Cheltenham win with Espoir D’Allen (16/1) as the favourites faltered on the opening day of the festival.
With no stand-out candidate for this year’s race, there could be plenty of value throughout the field here, but the expected softer conditions could suit Pentland Hills (11/2) despite indifferent form this winter, while impressive wins at Kempton and Newbury last winter make Epatante (3/1) a worthy pre-race favourite.
Don’t rule out trusty veteran Supasundae (10/1) finally seizing his moment. Age undoubtedly counts against him – a 10-year-old hasn’t won this race since the 1980s – but he tends to shine at the distance and landed the Irish Champion Hurdle back in 2018.
Looking for value? Ballyandy (18/1) could be the one to back with the 2016 Champion Bumper winner edging out Pentland Hills on his return to action at Haydock back in January.
Cheltenham Day 1 Tips – Full Racecard
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (13:30)
Could Abacadabras (6/1) take full of advantage of the Cheltenham Roar to produce some magic in the opening race of the festival?
The Gordon Elliot-trained six-year-old put a marker down for this in December with an easy eight-length win at Leopardstown and finished a credible fourth in the Champion Bumper last season.
Nicky Henderson’s hopes are headed up by Shishkin (16/5) with wins earlier this season at Huntingdon and Newbury suggesting he’s ready to make a splash at Cheltenham. Expect plenty of strong Irish backing for Captain Guinness (14/1). The name aside, recent form suggests he’s a genuine contender after a gutsy second place in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.
Arkle Challenge Trophy (14:10)
A four-race winning streak since October could see Notebook (5/2) write a new chapter in the Arkle, with the seven-year-old looking likely to be Rachael Blackmore’s best bet of sealing a win on the first day as she continues her quest to be the most successful female jockey of all time at the festival.
Cash Back (11/2) could be on the money after running Notebook close back at Punchestown in February and also won comfortably over this distance at Naas in January, while Put the Kettle On (16/1) could build up a head of steam in this race after a strong run in the Arkle Trophy Trial in November.
Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase (14:50)
Aside from the Champion Hurdle, this looks to be the race to watch on Day 1 of the festival, with genuine contenders throughout the field.
Vinndication (6/1) looks a viable contender after a classy five-length win at the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase back in November, and will be out to break his Cheltenham duck after an error-strewn run in the JLT Novices’ Chase here last year.
Elsewhere, Discorama (8/1) will be aiming to get the party started for Paul Nolan. The seven-year-old has two second places to his name in his Cheltenham outings to date and could make it third time lucky despite a mixed record since his last outing here.
Mister Malarky (14/1) will also be out to cause some mischief for Colin Tizzard and stayed well when finishing fourth in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase here last March in a classy field that included Topofthegame, Santini and Delta Work.
Mares’ Hurdle Race (16:10)
Benie Des Dieux (8/15) looks the one to beat here, with Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old looking every inch the first-day nap. She’s got unfinished business around this course after falling at the last in this race last year, but recent form suggest she could be unstoppable if she avoids any unforced errors – obliterating Penhill by 21 lengths in her most recent run at Gowran Park
If Benie doesn’t bring her best form, Rachael Blackmore may just scent victory as she resumes her winning partnership with Honeysuckle (12/5). The pair will be looking for an eighth consecutive win, a run that stretches back to November 2018.
Roksana (14/1) also looks capable of repeating the form that handed her last year’s hurdle, warming up for this one with a second-place finish at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Novices’ Handicap Chase (16:50)
It’s been five years since Kim Bailey last toasted a Cheltenham victory, but the local trainer could get back to winning ways with Imperial Aura (9/2) on Tuesday, with the seven-year-old snatching a plucky second behind Simply The Betts on Festival Trials Day.
Precious Cargo (14/1) will be aiming to deliver the goods for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville on his first step up to this distance and looks the ideal weight to land a signature Cheltenham win.
Beakstown (12/1) could nose his way into place contention after showing flashes of potential before pulling up in last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
National Hunt Chase (17:30)
Day 1’s racing is rounded off with the National Hunt Chase, with Carefully Selected (9/5) looking the class act in the field as he races outside of Ireland for the first time.
Commanding wins at Punchestown and Naas set him up nicely for this one, but he has the occasional mistake in him. That could help proven stayer Springfield Fox (13/2) seize the initiative.
Forza Milan (17/2) could add some style to the day’s final race as Carefully Selected’s closest contender at Naas.
See here for more Horse Racing Tips.
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.