Cheltenham races start Tuesday 12th March, and, what a day of racing it should be on Champions Day. With seven great races to get the Festival underway, who will you be betting on Cheltenham Day One?
Below, you can find a compilation of offers for the Festival, as well as the race card for the Tuesday Cheltenham races. Check them out below to make sure you get your betting off straight out of the gates.
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Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
The race to kick off not only Cheltenham Tuesday, but, the entire four-day Festival and will be scheduled, as normal, for 1.30pm GMT.
Set up for novices, this Grade 1 race is run over 2 and a half furlongs for those aged four and older. Over that distance the field of runners will tackle eight hurdles in order to see who can win the first race on Cheltenham Tuesdays race card!
Last year’s winner of this race was Summerville Boy, who managed to win the race by a neck, despite a handful of small mistakes over the hurdles. The mistake on the second last hurdle led jockey Noel Fehily exclaiming post-race “how we came back from there, I don’t know!”.
One thing to note with this being the first on the Cheltenham day one racing cards is that you may be able to get some great odds before the bookies are burnt. So, what better time to be betting on Cheltenham, than day one!
Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase
Up next on Cheltenham Day One is the 2.10pm GMT. The Arkle is a Grade 1 race, and, another for novices (five years and older) to challenge one another over the 1 mile 7 furlongs which includes 13 hurdles.
This could be a key race to look at for Cheltenham day one betting. Why? Because in the last four years, it has been a Ruby Walsh run and Willie Mullins trained horse who has won three times. Most recently, was last year’s winner, Footpad who opened up a wide 14 length win once onto the home straight.
Ultima Handicap Chase
The second race of the hour and the third on Cheltenham Tuesday’s racecards is the Ultima Chase at 2.50pm GMT. The Grade 3 chase is run by runners of five years, and older, over the distance of 3 miles 1 furlong.
With twenty hurdles to be navigated over the distance during this handicap encounter, there is always plenty of opportunity for mistakes to be made, which, can often be costly on this type of stage.
Last year’s winner was Coo Star Sivola and it was the first Cheltenham win for British jockey Lizzie Kelly. The horse was the 5-1 favourite prior to the race, and, they showed why in the field and managed to hold off late challenge to win by a neck.
Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
Next on the Cheltenham Tuesday racing cards is a big one, and, will determine who picks up the Challenge Hurdle Trophy at 3.30pm GMT! This race is the third leg in the Triple Crown of Hurdling and is one of the most prized hurdle encounters in the racing calendar.
This Grade 1 hurdle race is open to four-year-old, and older, horses. Over the 2 miles and half a furlong distance the field of runners will have to negate eight hurdles on their run to victory.
Last year saw Buveur D’Air just about hold on to the lead. It was a historic moment as it saw him become only the second horse to win back-to-back Champion Hurdle Trophies. It also gave the team of Nicky Henderson and J.P. McManus their seventh Champion Hurdle winner. So, if you’re looking for a winner of this one, check out their day one declarations for this one!
David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle
It may be difficult to follow in the footsteps of the Champions Hurdle, but, the mares always give it their best shot! The race is also known as the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, but, the winner of the race is given the David Nicholson trophy in memory of the great man who enjoyed success as both a trainer and jockey.
This Grade 1 race is due to be run at 4.10pm GMT and is open to mares of 4 years, or older, over the distance of 2 miles and four furlongs. The course throws up nine hurdles for the field to find their way over successfully.
In this one last year, everyone was sure it would be another walk-over for Apples Jade – but – it was not meant to be as Ruby Walsh rode Benie Des Dieux to victory by half a length.
If you’re looking for a winner in this one, in it’s 10-year history, this race has been won by a Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins double in seven of the ten runs. That is remarkable, but, it may mean you don’t get the greatest of odds. One worth keeping an eye on though, for sure.
National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup
This Grade 2 race for amateur riders at 4.50pm GMT on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. The race has been run more than any other long-running event throughout the history of the Festival.
The race is for horses of five years and over, and is run across the distance of 4 miles, the longest of any race at the entire Festival. If that distance wasn’t enough, there are also a gruelling 24 fences to tackle and overcome throughout.
It was ten-year-old horse Rathvinden who came out victorious in this prestigious event last year. It was an enthralling run too, which even ended up landing jockey Patrick Mullins the ‘Ride of the Season’ accolade, for the run which saw the pair overcome a bad mistake on the 11th fence before storming back to victory.
Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase
We wrap up the Cheltenham day one racing cards with this novices’ chase at 5.30pm. This handicap race is for novice chasers with a rating from 0 up to 145, and, of five-years-old or older. The distance is 2 miles 4½ furlongs and contains sixteen fences along the way to jump.
Mister Whitaker was able to take this race by a head in last year’s outing here. The win here for jockey Brian Hughes and Mister Whitaker meant that the English took a lead on day one in the Prestbury Cup standings, leading the Irish 4-3.
This win also gave ex-England footballer, Mick Channon, his first ever winner at Cheltenham Festival. Not a bad way to get your first one!
Betting on Day One
When you’re placing a bet on the races on day one from the Festival, it is worth looking at the history and the form of the horses declared. How are the jockey’s doing too in their recent runs? The smaller details are what will help you pick out the winners, and, ultimately help you make money on the first of the four-day event.
It is also worth comparing bookies to see where you can get the best odds and most value for your money. Of course, on the first day, there are likely to be an influx of offers designed to get you into the loop of betting on Cheltenham. Use this to your advantage and check out as many of the offers [insert offers] are you can before you bet!
Of course, there are plenty more races to be run, and, plenty more money to be won at Cheltenham for the rest of the week – but it is always important to make sure you get off to a good start out of the gates. At the very least, you don’t want to have made can significant losses, why? Because then it sets you up to have a much stronger and profitable Cheltenham Festival this year!