Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Tuesday Preview Tips

Champion Hurdle day betting preview and tips

Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival and our top tipster has his best bets for all the big races including the Supreme Novices Hurdle and Champion Hurdle.

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Supreme Novices Hurdle

Day 1 and we can hear that roar already, the Supreme kicks us off. Is Willie Mullins set to restore his dominance in the race can Facile Vega bounce back after his disappointing effort at the Dublin Racing Festival.

For me Facile Vega is just too short on the back of last time now, he might be top class and in the right hands as we know but he`s going to have to be ridden cold and it takes a lot to bring a horse back after racing on the front end a few occasions.

Also, in the last 20 years Grade 1s at the festival, horses that failed to make the top four finish on a prep run within 6 weeks of the festival are 6/315 and below market expectation just not ideal.

I actually thought Il Etait Temps put up a good performance that day when beating his stablemate but  I`m just not convinced with his profile for a race like this being a juvenile hurdle last season when finishing 5th in the triumph, yes was only second start since moving from France at the time but the one that I’m most interested in from that race is Inthepocket.

The ground looks to have turned in favour of the Henry De Bromhead runner, he`s already a winner over further and if this turns into somewhat of a stamina test late, I can see him finishing the race out the best. He looks fair each way value.

The one for me though is Marine Nationale the 100-day layoff is seen as a negative and admittedly for this particular race only 2 winners of last 28 winners hadn’t run in the same calendar year but if you look to more fancied runners in graded races, they actually have a really good record, 9 of the last 31 close to 30% Strike rate. Willie Mullins has started doing it more and I remember the Pipe team with Liberman and Moon Racer winning the bumper, if you set one out that’s proven themselves it`s no problem and this very much seems to be the case.

4 starts unbeaten I thought he travelled and was ridden like the best horse in the Royal Bond, despite things not going completely to plan he was  well on top at the finish despite only winning a head and that forms good. A large field bumper winner and given the confident vibes I think they know what they have. Barry Connell is having a great time of things this year and I think this lad can give him his first Cheltenham Festival winner as a trainer, No issues with Michael O`Sullivan either very good up and coming Jockey.

Selection: Marine Nationale – Each Way Alternative: Inthepocket

Arkle Chase

Onto the Arkle and one of the most eagerly anticipated clashes of the week. El Fabiolo vs Jonbon.

Simple for me I think Jonbon wins, should be favourite and he just looks rock solid. I Think he did well over hurdles taking out Constitution Hill he was best of these and that says a lot about his ability as he was never as forward as some of the Irish horse’s last season. Warwick last time did not bother me at all and was a very similar to performance to his prep last year in a way. Jumps, travels, better pace will suit him see he just sits behind leaders taken into the race before picking them off. This is also where Nicky is just so strong front 2 betting graded races won last time out 21 winners 45% strike rate SP profit.

I`m not convinced with El Fabiolo despite the good performance on the clock in the Irish Arkle I just think his jumping will be put under too much pressure, Dysart Dynamo is tricky to work out and I much prefer from each way angle especially on how the race is likely to be ran Saint Roi. The Willie Mullins third string was fourth in last seasons Champion Hurdle behind Honeysuckle doing all his best work late on. He unseated a bit freakishly last time in the Irish Arkle but that can be forgiven and in a race which we could see a pace collapse he should be the one finishing best of the field late on.

Selection Jonbon – Each Way Alternative Saint Roi

Ultima Handicap Chase

The first handicap of the week and one in which the English normally dominate. Can last year’s winner Corach Rambler take it again?

Off a 7lb higher mark than last year he has to be respected being proven in the race but for me it takes a lot to come back and win this race twice and I`m happy to let win given current odds.

One who makes appeal from last years renewal though is Fantastikas. He looked to struggle to deal the demands of the race last year being a first season chaser I just think it was to much for him that day. That experience should help in this year’s race and he’s dropped 12lbs since last year for only being beaten 13 lengths in end. He ran with a bit more promise last time out at Wincanton and with the ground coming in his favour(3 mile heavy ground winner) all looks set for a big run. First time Cheekpieces also go on in a race in which 10 of the last 15 winners wore Cheekpieces or Blinkers.

Selection Fantastikas – Each Way Alternative Harpers Brook

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Champion Hurdle

The big race of the day it`s Constitution Hill time.

Much has been said and written this season about the Nicky Henderson star who has taken the switch to open company in his stride this year as expected. Last season he demolished the Supreme field winning by some 22 lengths and whilst State Man will be doing his best to make sure that is not the case this time around I just don`t see how Constitution Hill does not remain unbeaten. Hopefully a performance to savour from a potential superstar for the next couple of years.

As for an alternative bet I think its likely that Vauban will be ridden to pick up the pieces, if that’s the case then last year`s Triumph Hurdle winner looks a fair bet against his stablemate.

Selection Constitution Hill  – Alternative Without CH Vauban

Mares Hurdle

Time for the girls, this season’s renewal of the Mares hurdle land one could say one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the week. Can Honeysuckle go out in style or can another previous Champion Hurdle winner Epatante have another day in the sun. Personally I`m happy to take the pair on and stick with the progressive horses in the line-up who we might not have seen the best of yet.

It will take some performance from Brandy Love to show the significant improvement necessary after finishing third on her reappearance at Punchestown just 20 days ago. She is in the right hands though and her impressive performance when beating Love Envoi at Fairyhouse last Spring is still fresh in the memory. The second that day lost her unbeaten record but she soon got back to winning ways this winter winning both her starts. Her latest victory at Sandown once again proved that stamina is her strength. Given the recent rain and how this is likely to be ran Love Envoi certainly makes plenty of each way appeal to follow up her success in the Mares novice here last year.

As for the main selection it`s hard for me to not be with Maries Rock after connections decided to let her try to defend her crown in this race rather than run in the Stayers hurdle latter in the week. The Nicky Henderson trained mare has only been seen once this year but she was ultimately very impressive when winning a slightly sub standard Relkeel Hurdle on New Years Day. Conditions look ideal with the recent rain and we still actually don`t know how good she could be.

Selection Maries Rock – Alternative Love Envoi

Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Up next is the usually fiercely competitive Fred Winter. JP Mc Manus looks to hold a strong hand with Tekao but he is well found in the market now and I`d be happy to let him win.

The interesting race over in Ireland though has to be the Nass race which Sir Allen won last time which has found the winner of this race in recent years. The winner that day will need to have improved again as those behind have a fair weight turnaround but he gave the impression more could be in the tank that day. Plenty experience having ran 12 times on the flat, he finished 2nd to Blood Destiny on hurdle debut, his form looks slightly stronger to me than the horse that finished behind that day Byker much as you respect the Charles Byrnes runner might just want the ground quicker and I think that also could be the case for Jazzy Matty. With that in mind and given he is the biggest priced runner of the quartet currently I will take a chance with Metamorpheus for the shrewd Paul Nolan

Of the English runners both the Ben Pauling catch the attention, Bad is somewhat of a unknown having only ran in France while Samuel Spade could have more to offer still.

Selection Sir Allen – Each Way Alternative Metamorpheus

National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’

Onto the National Hunt Chase Is Gaillard Du Mesnil one of the bankers of the week for me he is. Yes, he doesn’t win as often maybe as he should which is a slight concern but his overall profile just looks way above the rest of the field here. A strong stayer he has rock solid graded form. He finished third in last years Brown Advisory behind L`Homme Presse so is proven here and is hard to knock. With the ground looking likely to be testing Mahler Mission makes most appeal against the short price favourite. He looks ground dependant as shown when he was very impressive at Navan 2 starts back. He finished 7th in last season’s Albert Bartlett and makes some each appeal.

Selection Gaillard Du Mesnil – Each Way Alternative Mahler Mission

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