Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Race Previews & Tips (Tuesday)

Buveur D'Air Champion Hurdle

The opening day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is finally upon us and what a fantastic we have to look forward to! Here is a brief preview of all 7 races, along with our top tip. Good luck, if you are betting at Cheltenham!

Supreme Novices Hurdle – Grade 1

For 4 year olds and upwards

Distance: 2m87y

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Getabird is likely to start as favourite, although the jolly has only won the curtain-raiser once in the last ten years. Even the fact that Getabird is undefeated, doesn’t necessarily help the cause of Willie Mullins charge. Captain Cee Bee was the last unbeaten horse to take the Supreme and that was way back in 2008.

Amy Murphy’s Kalashnikov looks the main threat to Getabird. The 5-year-old won a valuable Grade 3 handicap at Newbury, last month, beating Bleu Et Rouge by almost 5 lengths.

Summerville Boy will represent Tom George’s yard and he got the better of Kalashnikov in the Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle, while Kim Bailey’s First Flow also demands respect after his comfortable defeat of Midnight Shadow in the Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle.

Others to watch out for include Paloma Blue, Mengli Khan and Sharjah.

Tip: Summerville Boy

Arkle Chase – Grade 1

For 5 year olds and upwards

Distance: 1m7f198y

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If Getabird is unable to feather Mullins’ nest in the Supreme, the Arkle looks his next-best chance of picking up a winner. Footpad won both the Racing Post Novice Chase and the Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown and he’s unbeaten in the current campaign.

Saint Calvados looks likely to give Footpad the biggest test of his short career, so far. He effortlessly destroyed the field, in the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase and the highly-rated North Hill Harvey was made to look very ordinary.

Petit Mouchoir is another that cannot be ruled-out. The grey gelding was runner-up to Footpad in the Arkle Novice Chase and would surely have got a lot closer than 5 lengths, had it not been for appalling jumping at the start of the contest.

Nicky Henderson’s Brain Power has bags of talent, but the 7-year-old has failed to make it home in his last two starts and he may struggle to find friends in the market on Day 1.

Tip: Petit Mouchoir

Ultima Handicap Chase – Grade 3

For 5 year olds and upwards

Distance: 3m110y

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Nick Williams has Coo Star Sivola running for him in this one and he arrives at the Festival on the back of a win at Exeter. The horse has a great deal of experience at this racecourse and was 4th in last year’s Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Singlefarmpayment the 2017 runner-up in the Ultima, missing out by just a short-head to Un Temps Pour Tout. The 8-year-old has only finished 3 of his last 6 races though and has not won since 2016.

Nicky Henderson’s Gold Present looks to be hitting top form, just at the right moment. After narrowly bettering Warriors Tale, in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase at Newbury, he secured an even bigger payday for connections by beating Frodon in the Lavazza Silver Cup Handicap Chase at Ascot.

Many others look reasonably well-treated including Yala Enki, Vintage Clouds, Wakanda and Paul Nicholls’ Vicente.

Tip: Gold Present

Classy Champion Hurdler Faugheen, previous point to point winner-compressed

Champion Hurdle – Grade 1

For 4 year olds and upwards

Distance: 2m87y

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Buveur D’Air will be the banker of many punters, on Tuesday. Most believe that Nicky Henderson’s charge only has to avoid a fall, in order to win. This magnificent hurdler has won his last 12 races, although Barry Geraghty did feel the need to shake him up when John Constable had the audacity to actually make a race of it at Sandown.

My Tent Or Yours either loves or hates the Champion Hurdle. He has finished runner-up on no less than 3 occasions and that could tempt punters to overlook his advancing years and seek-out some potential each-way value.

The once mighty Faugheen is still a force to be reckoned with and there will be a huge Irish roar if Willie Mullins horse can eyeball Buveur D’Air, at the business end of proceedings. Mullins also has Wicklow Brave, Melon and Yorkhill running for him.

In a field as strong as this, having a flutter on the likes of Mick Jazz, Elgin or Identity Thief does seem somewhat optimistic, but stranger things have happened and every horse in the race will have plenty of class.

Tip: My Tent Or Yours

Mares Hurdle – Grade 1

For 4 year olds and upwards

Distance: 2m3f200y

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Who will ever forget the end of this race, last year, when Apple’s Jade came out on top in a 3-way battle with Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini? Gordon Elliott has pitched his outstanding 6-year-old into this encounter once again and most expect her to secure back-to-back successes.

It’s by no means a foregone conclusion, however, as Willie Mullins looks to have got his hands on yet another gem. Benie Des Dieux began her career in France, but she has really started to flower since moving to Ireland and was too good for both Asthuria and Dinaria Des Obeaux in the Opera Hat Mares Chase (Naas).

It looks like being a straight fight between those two, although Warren Greatrex’s La Bague Au Roi has won all 4 of his last races and completely outclassed the opposition in Grade 2 company at Ascot back in January.

Jer’s Girl and Kayf Grace are both of interest, but will have to run the races of their lives if they are going to get near the main protagonists. The likes of Pravalaguna, Midnight Tour and Indian Stream look well out of their depth, though.

Tip: Benie Des Dieux

gordon elliot todays racing tips

National Hunt Chase – Grade 2

For 5 year olds and upwards

Distance: 2m3f194

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This is a wide-open contest but Gordon Elliott has a couple of aces up his sleeve and will have high-hopes that one of them can go first past the post.

Jury Duty finished 3rd in last season’s Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle and landed the spoils in the Grade 2 Florida Pearl Novice Chase, in November.

Mossback will be making his Cheltenham debut and has yet to compete on English soil. He raised plenty of eyebrows when beating both Snow Falcon and Bacardy’s in a beginners chase at Naas and finished runner-up behind Monbeg Notorious in the Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase last month.

Others seen as having a realistic chance of winning include No Comment, Ms Parfois, Rathvinden, Keeper Hill and Colin Tizzard’s Sizing Tennessee.

Tip: Mossback

Novices’ Handicap Chase – Listed Race

For 5 year olds and upwards

Distance: 2m4f110y

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Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now has been running in pretty elite company recently and Footpad was the winner of his last two races, both of which took place at Leopardstown. He won the 2017 Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle, beating Willie Mullins’ Crack Mome, but has had no victories since then.

De Plotting Shed has been expensive to back, since beating Jett in the Priory Walls Of Kilgowan Hurdle at Naas, although Gordon Elliott’s inmate has finished 2nd on 6 occasions since then and he’s very reliable over the fences.

Fergal O’Brien’s Barney Dwan won a competitive 3-horse encounter at Market Rasen, before following-up at Musselburgh after the two biggest threats (Keeper Hill and Peter The Mayo Man) both fell 4 from home.

Rather Be, Testify, Mister Whitaker and Demi Sang are also of interest.

Tip: Barney Dwan

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