Cheltenham Festival LIVE: Constitution Hill is looking to win the Champion Hurdle after his victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdles last year… while Honeysuckle will be pushing to win the Mares’ Hurdle for a second time on DAY ONE of the festival
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Follow Sportsmail’s live blog as the Cheltenham Festival gets underway on Day One, with full coverage of today’s races – including the Champion Hurdle – to come.
Girlfriend: I've booked a lovely holiday as a surprise for us on the 13th of March to the 19th.
Me: #CheltenhamFestival 😍pic.twitter.com/FpqxeXYk6j
Every Paddy Power punter has been given a free bet in their online account on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to use on any race – and two horses are catching the eye.
Fastorslow, running in the Ultima, and Willie Mullins’s Brandy Love in the Mares’ Hurdle at 4.10pm are the two best-backed horses among customers.
Both have costly liabilities on them which have left traders fearful.
Not ideal preparations for the Irish press jetting in to watch the nation’s horses compete for the Prestbury Cup at Cheltenham.
Their passes were sent out weeks ago but, due to strikes, none of the travelling party had received them.
Therefore, some had to had to shoot to the course earlier than planned on Monday, while others are having to make an earlier start today to ensure they get in. No such problems for the British journalists.
With the strength of the Irish contingent on the track, the Brits will take any small win.
Choosing which tipster to follow for Cheltenham week is always a tough ask but, if the history books are anything to go by, you’d do far worse than keeping an eye on ITV pundit Mick Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald writes for Paddy Power News and he ended up taking the betting company to the cleaners last year when he tipped up three winners and two tasty each-way finishers for readers.
The biggest price of his fancies for day one is Fanion D’estruval in the Ultima at 2.50pm, which is shortening by the minute. If he strides home for Venetia Williams on Tuesday, Fitzgerald will be costing the company a fortune.
Stay tuned and we will be bringing you all of his latest tips right here!
Rachael Blackmore may not be part of the headline race with her treasured Honeysuckle on Tuesday but she still feels they can end their Cheltenham story on a high.
The duo won the Mares’ Hurdle in 2020 before graduating to the Champion Hurdle which they have won for last two seasons. In the process, Blackmore made history by becoming the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle.
Honeysuckle lost her unbeaten record on her 17th career start at Fairyhouse in December. And after she was beaten by leading State Man — a leading contender for Tuesday’s feature race — in last month’s Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown retirement was considered.
But trainer Henry de Bromhead and owner Kenny Alexander have decided to give Honeysuckle a chance to go out on a high in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle before she is retired to stud.
Opposition is strong, headed by 2020 Champion Hurdle winner Epatante but Blackmore is confident her mount still has the ability and desire to make an impact.
Today, we say farewell to a legend🎈
Honeysuckle's Last Ride:
⏰ 4.10 PM
🏇 @CloseBrothers Mares' Hurdle pic.twitter.com/HfY8R7F3dK
There has been 7mm of rain in the last 24hrs. Light shower this morning (1mm). Remainder of the day will be dry. Meaning… the ground is now soft (which is ideal for National Hunt racing).
Guzzling pints of Guinness seems to go hand-in-hand with horse racing and Cheltenham is expected to be not different. According to The Sun, punters are expected to drink 220,000 pints across the course of the four days. That’s over 50,000 pints per day!
St Patrick’s Day also falls on the most popular day of the week – Gold Cup Friday. So the real question is… will there be a single drop of Guinness left in the place by the time the curtain falls on the 2023 edition?
Day one of the Cheltenham Festival will finish with the National Hunt Chase. Amateur riders were unable to compete in 2021 due to Coronavirus but returned in 2022 when Patrick Mullins secured his third win in the race when helping Stattler to success, surpassing his father Willie’s two wins as a rider in this contest.
The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is the penultimate race of the day. It’s a race for the four-year-old’s who don’t typically have what it takes to compete in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle. But, it’s always a good race that provides plenty of action.
Okay so next up is the Mares Hurdle. Another exciting race for day one of the festival. It’s regarded as a relatively new race and was established in 2008 to keep mares racing.
It’s a race that Willie Mullins has began to dominate – winnng none of the 15 runnings. He secured six of those with the remarkable Quevega.
But… there could be a new Queen Bee in town this year. Honeysuckle will be pushing to win the Mares’ Hurdle for a second time.
Morning all, it's here, it's finally here. pic.twitter.com/vPfUFQYLKz
Oft, I’ve got goosebumps just saying it. The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival and it’s set to be a cracker.
The Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious two-mile hurdle race in the British calendar and can’t be missed. Racing icons such as Night Nurse, Monksfield and Sea Pigeon won Champion Hurdle twice each in the golden era for hurdling over four decades agai.
Then you had the likes of Istabraq emulated See You Then take the race by storm – with JP McManus has become synonymous with the event.
But enough with the history – who is the favourite to win the feature race this year? Well, Constitution Hill is the heavily-backed favourite to win after his victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdles last year. So, keep your eyes peeled!
Okay so next up with have the Ultima Handicap Chase… but why should you be excited about this one? Well, it’s the first handicap of the festival and one of two staying handicap chases on offer over the four days.
This race is also notorious for producing British winners – which is needed given the Irish tend to dominate everything else!
As it stands, British-trained horses have won the last 16 runnings, with Jonjo O’Neill and David Pipe have been responsible for three of those victories apiece.
The Arkle Chase is the second race of the day and is regarded as the stepping stone to the Champion Chase. Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Voy Por Ustedes, Sizing Europe, Sprinter Sacre and Altior all won this race before stepping up and winning the Champions Chase 12 months later.
But, the reason I love this race so much is because it’s one for the punters. Seven favourites have won the Arkle Chase in the last decade… making it someone of a crowd pleaser!
Well, today is the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival and it’s always an exciting one. We have the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1.30. This will see the best two-mile novice hurdlers from Britain and Ireland go head-to-head at Prestbury Park. The winner will be greeted by the infamous Cheltenham roar as the festival gets underway.
But, who will win? That’s the question on everyone’s mind. Well, Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson have dominated the first Grade 1 of the festival in recent years. They have won eight of the last ten runnings with high-class performers.
Hello and welcome to Sportsmail’s live blog for the opening day of the Cheltenham festival. Things will kick off with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 1:30 and we couldn’t be more excited. Cheltenham is known for providing agony and ecstasy on the track, but also plenty of fun off it!
So, make sure you stay tuned as we bring you all of the build-up, news and live action from day one of the iconic festival. Plus, we’ll be sharing some hot tips on how to beat the bookies!
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