Cheltenham Festival: day one
Daniel McKeown | 14 March 2017
The best of our Tuesday selections
We’re here, day one of the Cheltenham Festival and we have an incredible few days of horse racing ahead. Click here to bet on all the action, or read on as we put forward our best bet in each of Tuesday’s seven races.
1.30pm – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Nicky Henderson’s River Wylde gets the gold star to get us off to a flyer. The five-year-old gelding arrives at course with confidence to burn, claiming three wins on the bounce at Ludlow x2 and, most recently, Kempton. He won the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle last time, and done so in impressive fashion, staying on strongly at the finish. Past efforts suggest he will love the pace this should be run at. 6/1 shot at present with Coral.
2.10pm – Arkle Chase
Another thumbs up for Nicky Henderson and we make Altior the winner of this race. He has done nothing but impress over fences so far, and was seen leading home a talented field at Newbury last month to bank the grade two Betfair Exchange Chase, trailing Fox Norton home by a comfortable margin. Looking for a 10th win in-a-row, and should get it at a short-price.
2.50pm – Ultima Handicap Chase
An ultra-competitive field – the betting would certainly agree – but we’re giving preference to Noble Endeavor, who goes as 15/2 joint-favourite with Singlefarmpayment at the time of asking. The selection goes for Gordon Elliott, a trainer it pays to keep close at the minute. There’s not a lot to separate much of this list, but Noble Endeavor was runner-up at the festival a couple of years ago, beaten a head by Killultagh Vic. Looks worth another go.
3.30pm – Champion Hurdle
I can’t see past Yanworth in this year’s Champion Hurdle, and it has been like that for some time now. Trainer Alan King holds a strong hand in this race, but the six-year-old gelding arrives in breath-taking form. He is a class horse but has that fight about him when things get serious, and they will certainly get serious here. Boasts seven wins from eight starts over hurdles. Too good to overlook at 11/4.
4.10pm – Mares Hurdle
The great Limini vs Vroum Vroum Mag debate. Many punters would confidently throw Apple’s Jade into the picture, but she’s not for me. Instead I am finally going to settle on the Ruby Walsh ridden Limini, who goes as 13/8 fav when posting. Returned to action last month in the Quevega Mares Hurdle and absolutely destroyed Apple’s Jade. She oozed class that day and, after much thought, I just couldn’t oppose her after that.
4.50pm – National Hunt Chase
There are many different opinions flying around on the winner of this race, and I suppose that’s what makes the festival so great. The champion for me however is A Genie In Abottle at 9/2. If my thinking works out to be correct the selection will really enjoy himself here, as he looks made for a big festival win. Was runner-up over three-miles at Naas behind Anibale Fly last time, but not by much, and I expect to see better here.
5.30pm – Close Brothers Chase
In-form Venetia Williams sends out Burtons Well, and that is the winner of the lucky last on day one at the Cheltenham Festival for me. Followed a win at Uttoxeter with a decent fourth around Cheltenham last time in a novices’ handicap chase. The bare result masks a very decent effort that day, and if he can build on that, he’ll go close to causing an upset at 16/1.