Cheltenham Festival Day 1 2018 Part I
The Cheltenham Festival Day 1 2018 is now less than 24 hours away. Like many others I am feeling slightly underwhelmed but come 1.30pm am sure to rouse myself for the Cheltenham roar.
As usual we start the festival with the Supreme Novices Hurdle and as seems normal in recent history we start with an Irish hotpot.
GETABIRD trained by Willie Mullins is a very short priced favourite for this (currently available at 13/8).
With the going at Cheltenham now Heavy, Soft in places it is possible he will shorten even further as he has form in the book on this going. Mullins has sent out 3 of the last 5 winners of this and the Irish have won 4 of the last 5 in total.
The concern in backing Getabird is that 10 of the last 12 favourites have been beaten in this race. However weighted against that is that Mullins and Ruby Walsh are the most successful trainer and jockey combination in the history of the race.
At a larger price I think that PALOMA BLUE for Henry De Bromhead is certainly worth an EW punt. He is another horse who loves the heavy going. He has never finished out of the frame in his 6 races and can certainly run better than his current price of 12/1 indicates.
2.10 sees The Arkle and this is pretty much a 3 horse race. Again Willie Mullins has the favourite in FOOTPAD. He is unbeaten in 3 race since switching to fences and beat one of his main rivals for this race PETIT MOUCHOIR by 5l last time at Leopardstown in a trial for this. The question will be whether they allow Footpad to go off in front and will get up the infamous hill?
The 2 Irish challengers will have to fend off SAINT CALVADOS who is protecting a 100% record on the racecourse. Like Footpad he loves to front run so it will be interesting to see who gains the upper hand.
Cheltenham Festival Day 1 2018 Part II
2.50 sees an 18 runner H’cap chase with numerous horses in with a chance. YALA ENKI recently won a Grand National trial at Haydock so may find the 3m 1f a tad sharp.
VINTAGE CLOUDS trained by Sue Smith certanly appears to ticks all the boxes. He stays up to 3m 5f and loves heavy going. Last year he was in 6th when falling 2 out. Whilst he was not going to win the race this year the going will be much more in his favour.
Another one likely to go off at a competitive price is dual Scottish Grand National winner VICENTE. He came 2nd running at Cheltenham in November over 3m 3.5f and is another horse who will certainly appreciate the give in the ground. Vying for favouritism is likely to be SINGLEFARMPAYMENT who was just run out of this last year but has not run as well this year and I think will struggle. More likely to do well is COO STAR SIVOLA. Last time he won easily by 14l and it is not yet clear if the handicapper has fully got to grips with him.
3.30pm is the main event of the day. The Champion Hurdle sees BUVEUR D’AIR attempt to hold onto his crown. I personally see no reason that he cannot do this. FAUGHEEN whilst impressive after a near 2 year lay off on his re-appearance has since struggled on his 2 subsequent appearances. MELON I feel will struggle in the heavy going and was also behind Faugheen last time out.
Incredibly I think the main danger may come from an 11y old horse! MY TENT OR YOURS Cheltenham form reads 222221. Whilst he may not have the speed to beat the favourite he is better value at 12/1 EW than the 4/7 available on the FAV win for the punters I feel.
Cheltenham Festival Day 1 2018 Part III
The 4.10 is the Mares Hurdle. Without much ado this is APPLE’S JADE race to lose.
BENIE DES DIEUX is most likely to follow up for forecast backers.
4.50 brings us to the National Hunt Challenge Cup for Amateurs. Gordon Elliot has won this twice in the last three years. This year he has the crack amateur Jamie Codd riding for him on board JURY DUTY. I think this will take all the beating. Other to take note of are MS PARFOIS who has won 3 of her last 4 races and gets a handy Mares weight allowance. Also RATHVINDEN for Willie Mullins who won this race in 2013.
5.30 sees Cheltenham Festival Day 1 2018 come to a close. 22 runners go to post in a H’cap Chase. I like the look of MISTER WHITAKER. He won very impressively last time out at Cheltenham. The going the was soft, heavy in heavy in places so hopefully he will get home.
Gordon Elliot will have the likely favourite in the DE PLOTTING SHED. My 2 major concerns regarding this horse are, he has not won since November 2016, and he not run in the UK since December 2015(his only run in the UK). However has he been laid out for this race?
Cheltenham Festival Day 1 2018 Tip of the Day
My tip of the Day for Day 1 of Cheltenham 2018 is MISTER WHITAKER E/W in the 5.30 race
Currently available at 12/1 1/4 odds first 4 places at most bookmakers