Cheltenham Festival 2024 - Day 1 Acca


Cheltenham Festival 2024 Day 1 Acca


Moving into the final countdown before the 2024 Cheltenham Festival, the excitement is really beginning to build. Like many racing fans, we have begun to dream of the enthralling action ahead and the potentially rewarding punting returns.

No doubt, there will be many excellent value singles and doubles to be found at the meeting, but each day, we also like to take a shot at the big money with a through-the-card each way acca. Optimistic? Maybe. But you have to be in it to win it, and we now present our seven prospective heroes for the opening day. All odds quoted are from Betfred, who offer Non-Runner No Bet across all 28 races!

1:30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Ballyburn is the obvious starting point in the opener following his impressive Grade 1 win at Leopardstown. However, he also tops the market for the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle on Day 2. That’s not too much of a problem with NRNB in play, but we prefer to include a runner who we are more certain will line up on the day.

The one to side with is Gordon Elliott's number one Firefox. But for a subpar effort over 2m4f last time out at Naas, this son of Walk In The Park would likely be a shorter price. However, issues came to light after that race, and his peak form at this trip reads very well – most notably an authoritative 2½l verdict over Ballyburn back in December.

  • Selection - Firefox @ 7/1

2:10 My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy

If you are willing to forgive one poor performance, Marine Nationale would appear to be a generous price at 9/4, having previously been odds on in places. However, that really was a woeful display in the Irish Arkle. It wouldn’t be the greatest surprise to see him bounce back but he can do so without our money.

Il Etait Temps and Found A Fifty are solid, having finished first and second in that Irish Arkle event, but Facile Vega appears below his best this season. Found A Fifty would be our pick of that trio, but the horse we keep returning to is Quilixios from the yard of Henry De Bromhead. A scintillating winner of the 2021 Triumph Hurdle, he has had his issues since but is two from three over fences and that proven festival form counts for plenty.

  • Selection - Quilixios @ 10/1

2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase

The first of the meetings big-field handicaps up next. Betfred helps out by offering each-way terms on the first five, but this still looks like a tricky puzzle to unravel. Meetingofthewaters looks dangerous for Willie Mullins; The Goffer ran well to finish fourth last year, and Inothewayurthinkin is a potentially sneaky one from the Gavin Cromwell operation.

No shortage of contenders, but we will side with the 2023 third Monbeg Genius. This Jonjo O’Neill runner cruised through the race last year, only to be narrowly outstayed on the run-in by Corach Rambler and Fastorslow. Considering that talented duo subsequently recorded wins in the Grand National and Punchestown Gold Cup, there’s no shame in that, and he can at least hit the frame again.

  • Selection - Monbeg Genius @ 10/1

3:30 Unibet Champion Hurdle

No prizes for originality in the main event, as we can’t see past the defending champion, Constitution Hill. The fact he is so short a price does lend a nice each-way shape to the race, but third and fourth favourites Lossiemouth and Irish Point hold alternative engagements, and the next shortest price runner is the 12-year-old Not So Sleepy.

State Man will line up here and is a thoroughly likeable sort, but didn't get within 9l of the winner in 2024. He may finish closer, but it looks a tall order to master the Nicky Henderson-trained odds-on shot.

  • Selection - Constitution Hill @ 1/4

4:10 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle

The Mullins-trained Lossiemouth is odds on across the board in this Grade 1 affair for the Mares. Already a Festival winner, she is held in the highest regard by connections and will likely prove tough to beat. However, taking such a short price for a runner stepping up to this trip for the first time looks risky.

Ashroe Diamond (4/1) is the obvious alternative, as a Grade 1 winner over this trip, but - at three times her price - we prefer to take a chance on Harry Fry’s Love Envoi. This one has work to do with Lossiemouth on their clash in the Unibet Hurdle but boasts excellent Cheltenham Festival form, having won the 2022 Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and found only Honeysuckle too good in this race last year.

  • Selection - Love Envoi @ 12/1

4:50 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Next up, we have what is always one of the trickiest contests of the meeting – the past ten years alone featuring winners at 18/1, 25/1, 33/1 (three times) and 80/1. If there is a race to speculate at a big price - this may be it.

Batman Girac is the one we like best at the head of the market, but at much more generous odds, we will take a chance on his stablemate Karia Des Blaises. By promising sire Jeu St Eloi, this one won in France before switching to the Mullins yard over the winter. Losing all chance when clipping heels on stable debut, she took a big step forward when a staying on second at Fairyhouse last time. Given her connections, it would be no surprise to see her improve again on the day, in which case she may at least hit the frame.

  • Selection - Karia Des Blaises @ 20/1

5:30 National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase

Another Mullins runner heads the betting in the finale, this time in the shape of Embassy Gardens. Two from two this season, he boasts obvious claims, but, like many, is moving way up in trip and was pulled up in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle here last season.

Three Card Brag and Broadway Boy have solid form at the track, but the one we like best is Corbetts Cross. This Emmett Mullins runner may have won the 2023 Albert Bartlett, but for inexplicably running through the wings of the last, and has hit the frame in three of four starts this season. Like many, a trip of 3m6f takes him into unknown territory, but the fact he is viewed as a potential Grand National horse suggests that stamina may be his strong suit.

  • Selection -Corbetts Cross @ 3/1

A £1 each way acca returns £622.24 if all seven runners place, with betfred. If they all win, we will see you in the Bahamas!


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