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Cheltenham Day 1 Tips - Every race covered on Champions' Day

Last updated: 15 Mar 2022
Jon Vine 15 Mar 2022
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  • Through the card tips on day one of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival
  • The Champion Hurdle headlines the card on Champions Day
  • Run Wild Fred is our best bet on day one in the National Hunt Chase
  • Coeur Sublime, Epatante and The Tide Turns also feature in our day one tips
Supreme Novices' hurdle cheltenham
Runners and riders go past packed grandstands during the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) at Cheltenham Racecourse. (Getty)

The moment all horse racing fans and punters all over the world have been waiting for has finally arrived. The 2022 Cheltenham Festival is about to begin.

I hurdled my Sunday morning bacon sandwich across the living room when the day one fields were finalised, and eagerly scrolled through each race to see if my ante-post fancies on Champions' Day had been confirmed. By the looks of it, we're in for a magnificent opening day of racing!

Without further ado, here are my selections through the card on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.
    Day One Tips
  • Cheltenham Festival Day One Card
  • Race 1 - Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips
  • Race 2 - Arkle Novices' Chase Tips
  • Race 3 - Ultima Handicap Chase Tips
  • Race 4 - Champion Hurdle Tips
  • Race 5 - Mares' Hurdle Tips
  • Race 6 - Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tips
  • Race 7 - National Hunt Chase Tips

Cheltenham Festival Day One Card

1:30pm Supreme Novices' Hurdle Grade 1 2m½f
2:10pm Arkle Novices' Chase Grade 1 2m
2:50pm Ultima Handicap Chase Grade 3 3m1f
3:30pm Champion Hurdle Grade 1 2m½f
4:10pm Mares' Hurdle Grade 1 2m4f
4:50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 2m½f
5:30pm National Hunt Chase Grade 2 3m6f

Cheltenham Festival Day One Tips - Tuesday 15th March

Race 1 - Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips

As expected, Sir Gerhard heads to the Ballymore, leaving nine talented novices to battle it out in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Dysart Dynamo may be the least experienced of the leading contenders, but I've been so impressed with the sheer power and pace he's shown during his four wins thus far. I fear he'll be very hard to peg back, especially if Paul Townend is allowed to dominate from the front.

However, at the prices, I'd rather back MIGHTY POTTER each way, than place a straight win bet on any of the horses ahead of him in the market.

Gordon Elliott's five-year-old has been underestimated throughout the build-up to the Supreme. Mighty Potter bolted up in a bumper last season and on his novice hurdle debut at Down Royal. After a luckless run when third in the Royal Bond, Mighty Potter scored in the Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas, comfortably holding Three Stripe Life at arm's length.

Elliott has had the Supreme in mind for Mighty Potter since the start of the season. A very strong stayer over two miles, Jack Kennedy's mount will relish the red-hot pace that's likely to come from Dysart Dynamo and Kilcruit, and I can't see him wilting when the leaders meet the rising ground.

On all known form, Mighty Potter has got as good a chance as anyone in this fantastic race. At 8/1, he offers tremendous each way value.

Supreme Tips Best Bet - MIGHTY POTTER E/W
Supreme Tips Next Best - Dysart Dynamo

Race 2 - Arkle Novices' Chase Tips

Coeur Sublime E/W2:10pm Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2mGET 16/1 HERE
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Edwardstone brings the best form to the table. Yet, he doesn't strike me as a particularly solid favourite, so I don't mind taking the favourite on in the Arkle Challenge Trophy.

Neither Blue Lord, Riviere D'etel nor Saint Sam managed to bolster their claims in the Irish Arkle and I'd be hesitant to back Haut En Couleurs on the back of a fall. Given the negatives against the market leaders, I tipped up COEUR SUBLIME at 25/1 ante-post and I'm going to stick with Rachael Blackmore's mount.

Coeur Sublime will be having his third run at the Cheltenham Festival. De Bromhead's charge finished a close second to Pentland Hills in the 2019 Triumph Hurdle, before finishing well down the field in the 2022 Champion Hurdle on his final start for Gordon Elliott.

De Bromhead's seven-year-old overtook Ferny Hollow jumping the second last as the two made their chase debuts at Punchestown in the autumn, only to be reeled in by the former Arkle favourite. Blackmore's mount then bounced back from a limp run in the Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas - a venue he clearly doesn't like - with an easy beginners' chase triumph last time out.

I'm delighted to see connections take their chance in this Grade One instead of going down the handicap route. This is far from a vintage Arkle and Coeur Sublime certainly has the ability to make a big impact.

Arkle Tips Best Bet - COUER SUBLIME E/W 

full back cheltenham
Jamie Moore riding Full Back clear the last to win The New Four Eighty Restaurant At Cheltenham Festival Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. (Getty)

Race 3 - Ultima Handicap Chase Tips

I'll be backing at least two runners in most of the handicaps this week. If you can't hedge your bets during the Cheltenham Festival, when can you?!

Frodon's presence in the final field is a huge boost for Does He Know, who would have carried 11-9 had the former Ryanair winner not been declared. Ireland has a terrible record in the Ultima Handicap Chase, but they're well-represented in this year's renewal and I wouldn't be surprised if Death Duty, Noble Yeats or Floueur got up to win.

Course form around Cheltenham stands out when you look through the trends for the Ultima. FULL BACK kept on well to win a competitive handicap over a furlong further than this on New Year's Day and followed that victory up with a fine effort behind course specialist, Yala Enki in the Portman Cup at Taunton.

Gary Moore's seven-year-old was only upped a pound following that excellent effort and sneaks into the Ultima near the bottom of the weights. If Full Back has progressed again, he could be a big player.
I've also backed RAPPER, for in-form trainer Henry Daly. Rapper ran in the Pertemps Final as a six-year-old in 2020 and was leading travelling well turning for home, before the fancied Irish runners came through to relegate him back to seventh.

After spending a year off the track, Daly's charge has enjoyed an excellent season, winning his last two starts at Catterick and Wincanton with a little left up his sleeve. Rapper has risen up the weights by nine pounds for those victories, but I think there’s more progression still to come.

Ultima Tip 1 - FULL BACK E/W
Ultima Tip 2 - RAPPER E/W

Race 4 - Champion Hurdle Tips

Epatante E/W3:30pm Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 2m½fGET 16/1 HERE
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Honeysuckle is still, clearly, the most likely winner and I'd love to hear the crowds' reaction if Rachael Blackmore' mount was able to retain her crown.

If anyone can get Appreciate It ready for a Champion Hurdle after a year off the track, it's Willie Mullins, so last year's Supreme winner is greatly respected. Along with Appreciate It, Teahupoo was a common selection with experts willing to take Honeysuckle on during the preview evening circuit, so Gordon Elliott's five-year-old could get backed during the build-up.

In contrast, EPATANTE'S name has barely been mentioned in the build-up, and I'm struggling to see why. Despite something clearly being amiss last season, Nicky Henderson's mare finished third behind Honeysuckle and Sharjah in the Champion Hurdle and again on her first trip to Punchestown.

Following spinal surgery during the summer, Epatante has returned to top form with a pair of Grade One wins. Yes, Aidan Coleman's mount could only dead-heat with Not So Sleepy in the Fighting Fifth, but the storm that hit Newcastle that day turned the ground against her and she thrashed Not So Sleepy when beating future Betfair Hurdle winner, Glory And Fortune in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Epatante is a former winner of the Champion Hurdle. She's shown a high level for form this term and has been laid out for the Cheltenham Festival. She's far too big at 16/1.

Champion Hurdle Tips Best Bet - EPATANTE E/W

Race 5 - Mares' Hurdle Tips

This is the most open renewal of the Mares' Hurdle that we've ever seen. A decent case can be made for at least 10 of the 12 runners. 

At the ante-post stage, I backed last year's fourth, Indefatigable each way. Paul Webber's mare has drifted all the way out to 33/1 following defeat to Marie's Rock at Warwick. Rex Dingle's mount was carrying a penalty that day and she boasts plenty of strong form around Cheltenham, so I'm not ripping up my slip just yet.

The most solid option to me is TELMESOMETHINGGIRL, who ran out an easy winner of last year's Mares' Novices' Hurdle. Henry De Bromhead has been working backwards from the Mares' Hurdle the entire season and Telmesomethinggirl's narrow defeat to Royal Kahala and Heaven Help Us over Christmas - when giving her rivals five and eight-pounds at the weights - reads very well.

If Willie Mullins has enjoyed success earlier on day one, Stormy Ireland, Burning Victory and Echoes In Rain will be all the rage in the betting. If Honeysuckle wins the Champion Hurdle, then we could see a plunge on Telmesomethinggirl. I'm going to wait until after the Arkle before I place my bets on De Bromhead's mare, as I think there's a chance you could get bigger than 3/1.

Mares' Hurdle Tips Best Bet - TELMESOMETHINGGIRL
Mares' Hurdle Tips Value Bet - Indefatigable E/W

Telmesomethinggirl ridden by Rachael Blackmore goes on to win The Parnell Properties Mares' Novices' Hurdle during day three of the Cheltenham Festival. (Getty)

Race 6 - Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tips

Gaelic Warrior is the 9/4 favourite for this 22-horse juvenile handicap and his price is only going to get shorter. Willie Mullins' charge is favourite due to reputation, hearsay and whispers. It has nothing to do with what he's achieved on the track. I'm happy to side against him at that price.

In contrast, THE TIDE TURNS travels to Cheltenham with stacks of substantial form to his name. Gordon Elliott's juvenile beat HMS Seahorse, Brazil and Champion Green in a red hot maiden on his first start over hurdles, before getting a little outpaced around the tight track at Leopardstown when fourth in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle.

Elliott then had to run The Tide Turns against his elders in the Red Mills Hurdle to qualify for the Boodles Handicap Hurdle. Jack Kennedy's mount ran on well to finish fourth behind Teahupoo that day, crossing the line just a length behind former Triumph winner, Quilixios.

If Elliott didn't already train two of the top three in the market, I'm sure The Tide Turns would be running in the Triumph Hurdle. He certainly has the class to carry top-weight to victory.

Too Friendly E/W4:50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered as The Fred Winter) (Grade 3) 2m½fGET 20/1 HERE
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I've also had a saver on Dan Skelton's TOO FRIENDLY, who ran out a comfortable winner on his first two starts over hurdles. Harry Skelton's mount wasn't beaten far behind Britain's best two juveniles, Knight Salute and Porticello in the Summit at Doncaster before Christmas and remains open to plenty of improvement. He's overpriced at 20/1.

Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tips Best Bet - THE TIDE TURNS
Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tips Value Bet - Too Friendly E/W

Race 7 - National Hunt Chase Tips

Just seven runners will take their chance in this Grade Two, but the runners we're left with should ensure that day one ends with an almighty bang. 

Gordon Elliott, who's record in the National Hunt Chase is excellent, earmarked this race for RUN WILD FRED (NAP) right at the start of the season. 

After a novice campaign filled with near misses, Elliott's eight-year-old finally broke his duck over fences with a runaway success in the Troytown Handicap. Fred then ran a blinder to finish second in the Neville Hotels, considering he landed on top of a fence down the back straight and was almost brought to a standstill.

I was slightly worried when Jamie Codd said during a preview evening that he could get put up on Elliott's second-string, Braeside. So, I was understandably delighted when I saw the best amateur jockey in the business had been jocked up on the market leader when the decs were revealed on Sunday. Run Wild Fred will be my NAP of the day on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.

National Hunt Chase Tips Best Bet - RUN WILD FRED

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