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Cheltenham day 1 tips: Picks from all seven races

| 13.03.2022

The Cheltenham Festival is here and we have taken a look through the Cheltenham betting and picked out a tip for every race on day one of the Prestbury Park showpiece.

The highlight of the opening day is the Champion Hurdle where Honeysuckle attempts to defend her crown in the hands of Rachael Blackmore, while the action gets under way with one of the best renewals of Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for some time.

Here we pick out some Cheltenham day 1 tips for the opening day’s racing in Gloucestershire, while we have also provided a further selection of options for all of the handicap action during the week.

1.30 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

When it comes to the opening race of the week, it is Willie Mullins who is the go-too man to get the Festival off to a winning start.

This year he has put his trust in 9/4 shot Dysart Dynamo, who has won the inter-stable scrap with Sir Gerhard to get the nod for this race, and the unbeaten six-year-old will be the mount of Ladbrokes ambassador Paul Townend.

Dysart Dynamo, Paul Townend

Mullins and Townend won this with Appreciate It 12 months ago and this year’s pick has looked just as impressive as his stablemate so far, romping to a 19-length victory in the Grade Two Moscow Flyer Novices Hurdle last time.

It is interesting that Mullins has used that race to prep some of his former stars before they went on to win this prize and hopes are high Dysart Dynamo can be the next turbo-charged cab off the Closutton rank.

2.10 – Arkle

Alan King hasn’t saddled a winner at the Cheltenham Festival since 2015, but that could all change if Edwardstone can storm up the famous Prestbury Park hill to oblige at 11/4 in our Cheltenham day 1 tips.

Only two eight-year-olds have won this in the last 20 years, which tells the tough task at hand for the son of Kayf Tara, but this likeable performer is a consummate professional who has done nothing wrong over fences this term.

He has won four-in-a-row over the larger obstacles since being brought down on his seasonal bow and the best of the British novices is backed to hold off an array of Irish challengers queuing up to take him down.

2.50 – Ultima Handicap Chase

The trends for this race suggest you want to side with an unexposed British-trained novice, who is wearing headgear for the first time.

One that hits all those markers is Tom Lacey’s Tea Clipper, who is a tasty each-way proposition at 14/1 for the opening handicap of the Cheltenham Festival.

The seven-year-old was a winner in Listed company on his chasing debut in October and has since been tried in a couple of Graded contests with minimal success. However, that leaves him ideally placed on a rating of 145 and he could take full advantage of that lenient figure in first-time cheekpieces following wind surgery.

He is only 4lb higher than when third in the Coral Cup at this meeting 12 months ago and also ran with credit in a competitive handicap at Aintree’s Grand National meeting. He will have no issue with the hustle and bustle of a big-field contest and could be a big-price winner in our Cheltenham day 1 tips.

3.30 Champion Hurdle

It is hard to turn your back on the defending champion and Honeysuckle appears set to join the list of two-time Champion Hurdle winners in the opening day feature at 8/13.

Honeysuckle, Cheltenham Festival, Rachael Blackmore

The unbeaten superstar has zero chinks in her armour and she can get Henry de Bromhead off the mark for the week in what could be another bumper four days for the Waterford handler, who enjoyed six winners at this meeting last year.

4.10 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle

Mullins has won this nine times in the past and saddles three as he looks to enhance his imperious record, but his wait for winner number 10 may be prolonged for another year.

That is because Telmesomethinggirl appears primed for back-to-back Cheltenham Festival victories at 11/4 having scooped the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago.

Victory would cap a fine 40 minutes for De Bromhead, Blackmore and owner Kenneth Alexander and the seven-year-old could swoop late off a hot pace to land the spoils close home.

4.50 – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

There is only one horse that everyone is talking about in this race and that is Gaelic Warrior, but there has been only one winning favourite of the race in the last 10 years, so it may be worth taking a chance on the second-favourite The Tide Turns, who looks to offer better value and could even be supported each-way at 7/1.

Having accounted for the useful HMS Seahorse on his hurdles bow, he has run with real credit in Grade One company the last twice, really catching the eye against his elders in the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran last time.

This looks to have been the plan for some time and he switches to handicap company off a mark of 137 for a yard that has won this twice in the last five years.

5.30 National Hunt Chase

Stattler is the potential class in the concluding race of the opening day, but everything is pointing towards Run Wild Fred at 2/1 as the last of our Cheltenham day 1 tips.

The Cullentra House inmate has the all-important experience that serves well in this 3m6f gruelling stamina test and he is proven over marathon distances having finished second in last season’s Irish Grand National.

His stable has a fine record in this race and this Troytown Handicap Chase winner will also have the assistance of crack amateur jockey Jamie Codd, who is arguably the best rider outside of the paid ranks.

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Warren Barner