Welcome to Cheltenham 2022 – here’s hoping for a great week and plenty of winners to roar home. Day 1: Champion Day – Tuesday, March 15
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 1.30pm
Even in the absence of Sir Gerhard and a relatively small field this is a cracking race to start the festival. A lot of bubbles will be burst by 2:40 but these are likely to dominate the jumps scene for the next few years. Constitution Hill has been mightily impressive and to date is the slight preference. With a view to a bit of value the each-way selection is Mighty Potter at 7/1. He is not flash but if he’s there at the second last, he will stay on strongly up the hill.
Arkle Novices’ Chase – 2.10pm
Riviere D’Etel has to have a great chance with her 7lb allowance if putting in a good round of jumping and will be suited by the uphill finish – anything above 4/1 makes her an each-way punt. Another with a good chance at a bigger price each-way is Coeur Sublime at 14/1 who was twice placed behind Ferny Hollow and warmed up for this with a win in Gowran Park.
Ultima Handicap Chase – 2.50pm
As usual a very competitive handicap chase which the Irish haven’t won since 2006. Almost all of them have some sort of chance in this open race. The preference is for Our Power each-way at around 12/1. Gordon Elliot has said that Death Duty is the best handicapped of his horses this week so might be worth a saver each-way at around 12/1. Minimum stakes.
Champion Hurdle – 3.30pm
We cannot look past Honeysuckle here to continue her winning run but she’s not a betting proposition at 4/6. Willie Mullins is very sweet on Appreciate It which is notable coming from those quarters. Teahupoo however continues to improve and may be the one for the forecast. The brave might even consider the combination tricast with Honeysuckle in front.
Mares’ Hurdle – 4.10pm
The one that appeals here is Queens Brook who looked like her second to Burning Victory last time out in Punchestown was a pipe opener for this race. Her 2020 third in the Champion bumber here to Ferny Hollow and Appreciate It looks plenty good in the context of this race and shows she possesses the necessary class to feature strongly.
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – 4.50pm
Gaelic Warrior has the right connections with positive soundings coming from Closutton and could be well in here but there’s no value at 9/4. One that could go well at an each-way price is HMS Seahorse while there both The Tide Turns and Too Friendly will have their supporters. It is interesting that ross O’Sullivan runs Sea Sessions here and she could go well each-way at a massive price. Both Champion Green and Prairie Dancer for Joseph are expected to run well also.
National Hunt Novices’ Chase – 5.30pm
Only seven runners in the National Hunt Chase and Gordon Elliot has been talking about this race for Run Wild Fred from a long way out. Though favourite, he’s taken to do the business for Gordon over Stattler for Willie.