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2021 Cheltenham Festival Day One Tips – Through the card tips on Tuesday

  • We provide our tips for every race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival
  • Four Grade One races will take place at Cheltenham on Tuesday 16th March
  • Ballyadam, Shishkin, Honeysuckle and Roksana are our best bets in the big races
  • Happygolucky, Saint Sam and Galvin also feature amongst our tips
  • Pym and Homme Public are outsiders we think could run well
honeysuckle cheltenham
Honeysuckle is the one to back in this year's Champion Hurdle. (Getty)

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. After days, weeks and months of anticipation, the 2021 Cheltenham Festival is about to begin. 

The fields for all seven races on Champions’ Day Tuesday have now been finalised. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into our best Cheltenham Day One betting tips on day one.

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day One Schedule


Time
Title
Status
Distance
1:30pmSupreme Novices' HurdleGrade One2m
2:10pmArkle Challenge Trophy Novice's ChaseGrade One2m
2:50pmUltima Handicap ChaseGrade Three Handicap3m
3:30pmChampion HurdleGrade One2m
4:10pmMares' HurdleGrade One2m 4f
4:50pmBoodles Juvenile Handicap HurdleGrade Three Handicap2m
5:30pmNational Hunt ChaseGrade Two3m 6f

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day One Tips – Tuesday 16th March


Race 1 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Tips


Ballyadam E/W1:20pm Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2mGET 11/2 HERE
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This clearly isn’t the best Supreme we’ve seen in recent years. I don’t think much of the British challenge. I’ve tipped and backed Metier on all three of his runs this season, but the form of his Tolworth victory isn’t strong, and he looks like a horse who would appreciate softer ground.

The obvious choice is Appreciate It, who’s won Grade Ones at Leopardstown on his last two starts. While Willie Mullins’ charge is a worthy favourite, I don’t think he’s a natural two miler. Had Ferny Hollow been fit, he would have been Mullins’ Supreme horse and Appreciate It would be running in the Ballymore. Ferny Hollow flew past Appreciate It on the run to the line in last year’s Champion Bumper, and I think the favourite could be picked off by a speedier sort.

There are several reasons why I think BALLYADAM – himself a Grade One winner over hurdles – will reverse the form with Appreciate It in the 2021 Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Gordon Elliott’s horses all ran under-par during the winter, and Ballyadam returned a dirt scope following that limp performance at Leopardstown. Jack Kennedy produced Ballyadam to challenge Appreciate It jumping the last in the Chanelle Pharma, but a messy  leap at the final flight allowed the winner to hold onto his advantage.

The move to Henry De Bromhead’s yard doesn’t really worry me. Both stables use the same feed and Jack Kennedy will keep his spot in the saddle. Gordon Elliott wouldn’t have had Ballyadam fully wound-up at the Dublin Racing Festival, and could still have beaten Appreciate It had he jumped the last better. I’ve backed Ballyadam at 10/1, and tipped him up at 8s. Even at 6/1, I think he’s a cracking each-way bet. 

Supreme Novices Hurdle Best Bet – BALLYADAM (Each-Way)

shishkin
Shishkin should claim his second Cheltenham Festival win. (Getty)

Race 2 – Arkle Tips


Allmankind is an admirable horse and I’d like to see him run well. However, 13 fences over two miles - in a race which is usually run at break-neck speed - makes the Arkle one of the sternest tests of jumping in National Hunt racing, and I don’t think Dan Skelton’s front-runner will stand up to the scrutiny.

Energumene’s late withdrawal makes SHISHKIN’S task in the 2021 Arkle Challenge Trophy that bit easier. Nicky Henderson’s star won the Supreme last season, despite everything seemingly going against him. Shishkin has been flawless on his first three starts over fences, and the time of his victory in the Desert Orchid at Kempton was very, very impressive.

If the early pace collapses, then the fast-finishing Franco De Port could be a player. Is he good enough to beat Shishkin? Not a chance.

Arkle Best Bet – SHISHKIN 

Race 3 – Ultima Handicap Chase Tips


Happygolucky2:30pm Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m1fGET 7/2 HERE
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I’m really keen on the chances of HAPPYGOLUCKY, who’s been backed in from 8s to 9/2 since I published my ante-post guide to the Ultima. Kim Bailey’s seven-year-old ran well in the Martin Pipe last season, and made all to win a good novices’ chase around the New Course earlier this season. 

Happygolucky has been kept fresh to protect his handicap mark since then, and novices with Cheltenham experience have an excellent record in this race. He’s a confident selection.

Read our full guide to the 2021 Ultima get the latest odds, key trends and full reasoning behind our selections.

Pym E/W2:30pm Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m1fGET 18/1 HERE
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I’ve also had a punt on PYM, who I backed to win last year’s Ultima, before connections decided to go for the Grade One Brown Advisory Chase instead. On his reappearance, Nicky Henderson’s chaser saw off If The Cap Fits when giving his rival weight at Sandown. Pym then finished fifth in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle, but the favourite was giving plenty of weight to the horses who finished ahead of him, and the long run to the line didn’t really suit.

The best performance of Pym’s career came over course-and-distance last season, where he beat Imperial Aura by eight lengths off level weights. His stablemate, Beware The Bear won the Ultima with one pound more on his back in 2019, and good ground really enhances Pym’s chances. 

Ultima Handicap Chase Best Bet – HAPPYGOLUCKY
Ultima Handicap Chase Next Best – PYM (Each-Way)

happygolucky
Happygolucky is a worthy favourite for the Ultima. (Getty)

Race 4 – Champion Hurdle Tips


Honeysuckle3:05pm Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2mGET 9/4 HERE
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I’m struggling to see past HONEYSUCKLE in the 2021 Champion Hurdle, who’s unbeaten during her career and looked better than ever at Leopardstown last time out. Henry De Bromhead’s mare took up the running before the third-last and absolutely bolted up. The time she set was quicker than any of the other two-mile races run at the Dublin Racing Festival, which is very impressive considering she was noticeably steadied down into the last hurdle.

Honeysuckle jumped poorly in the Mares’ Hurdle last year, and was still strong enough to hold off Benie Des Dieux. The seven-pound allowance that mares get in the Champion Hurdle is massive too. Any of the geldings will have to reach a level of around 168 to win, if Honeysuckle runs up to her rating of 161, and I’m not sure anyone in this field is capable of doing that.

Goshen, Aspire Tower and Not So Sleepy love to make the running, and Silver Streak won his Grade One when making the running the last day. A quickly-run race will bring Honeysuckle’s proven stamina to the fore. 

Sharjah E/W3:05pm Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2mGET 16/1 HERE
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It would also open the door for a fast-finisher like SHARJAH - who’s drifted out to 16/1 - to swoop into the places. Willie Mullins’ charge won his third-straight Matheson Hurdle on his reappearance at Leopardstown – the fourth Grade One of his career. Sharjah came from off the pace to finish second behind Epatante here 12 months ago, and there’s plenty of value to be found backing him each-way at his current price.

Champion Hurdle Best Bet – HONEYSUCKLE
Champion Hurdle Next Best – SHARJAH (Each-Way)

Race 5 – Mares’ Hurdle Tips


Roksana3:40pm Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m4fGET 3/1 HERE
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This looks a two-horse race to me. Concertista is still improving and, given Willie Mullins’ record with mares, you can see why she’s the favourite. To me, though, ROKSANA brings by far the best seasonal form to the table, and she can regain her Mares' Hurdle crown.

The best horses Concertista has beaten this term are Black Tears and Minella Melody, rated 147 and 142. Roksana thrashed four geldings rated higher than 149 in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, she brushed aside a 149-rated hurdler in Magic Of Light when cruising to victory at Ascot, and was only beaten two lengths behind Paisley Park and Thyme Hill in the Long Walk Hurdle.

Dan Skelton’s mare is in the form of her life. She’s the best mare in Britain and has proven winning form at Grade One level. 

Mares’ Hurdle Best Bet – ROKSANA 

roksana
Roksana powers to victory at Ascot. (Getty)

Race 6 – Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tips


Saint Sam E/W4:15pm Boodles Juveniles Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2mGET 11/2 HERE
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Since arriving in Ireland, SAINT SAM has been beaten twice by Zanahiyr and once by Quilixios, with all three outings coming in Graded company. Although he didn’t get within the five lengths of the winner on any of those three starts, Saint Sam has place second twice and finished ahead of Busselton, Druid’s Altar and Youmdor.

The British Handicapper could have rated Mullins’ juvenile higher than the 139 he’s been given, and he should be considered the leading contender in the 2021 Boodles Juvenile Hurdle.

Homme Public E/W4:15pm Boodles Juveniles Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2mGET 33/1 HERE
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Given how strong Houx Gris is in the market, I also think it’s worth having a punt on HOMME PUBLIC, who finished four lengths ahead of Houx Gris when they met in France, and was only beaten a short-head when his rival reversed the form next time out.

Homme Public was outjumped by Tinnahalla down the home straight and when beaten two lengths on his British debut. Oliver Greenall’s juvenile made no mistake second time out, powering to victory over a rival rated 112, who was getting over a stone from the winner at the weights. If he improves again, then Homme Public could run well beyond his current price.

Boodles Handicap Hurdle Best Bet – SAINT SAM
Boodles Handicap Hurdle Next Best – HOMME PUBLIC (Each-Way)

Race 7 – National Hunt Chase Tips


Galvin4:50pm Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices' Chase (Grade 2) 3m6fGET 2/1 HERE
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Having finished a close second behind Imperial Aura in a handicap at last year’s Festival, Gordon Elliott got the good-ground loving GALVIN out nice and early this term. Elliott’s seven-year-old broke his won his first chase in July at Killarney, a modest Grade Three at Tipperary in October, and scored in a three-mile novices’ chase at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting.

Galvin has been preparing for the 2021 National Hunt Chase ever since. Moving yard isn’t ideal, but Ian Ferguson knows Galvin very well, having taken care of him in his younger years, and he's been in-charge of the horse’s prep for Cheltenham over the last couple of months. Galvin’s one of my best day one bets.

National Hunt Chase Best Bet - GALVIN
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