Cheltenham Festival Day One Best Bets: Irish Eyes Smiling?


Cheltenham Festival Day One Preview


This coming Tuesday is just about the most anticipated day of the year for National Hunt racing fans as the biggest event in the sport goes under starters orders. We are of course speaking of the magnificent Cheltenham Festival which is set to light up Prestbury Park once more.

A golden meeting for the Irish twelve months ago, the raiders from the Emerald Isle kicked things off in style with five wins on the opening day. And hopefully, we may be in for more of the same this time around, as it is a quartet of Irish based runners who catch our eye on Day One.

Champion Hurdle: Honey in the Money

Turning first to the feature, and it’s hard to argue with the market in making defending champion Honeysuckle the clear favourite to defend her crown. The most popular mare in training, she was 6½l too good for the field 12 months ago and warmed up for this with a 6½l romp in the Irish version of this race at Leopardstown. Looking as well as ever that day, and now unbeaten in 14 career starts, the Henry de Bromhead star looks tough to beat.

Having won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in such spectacular style in 2021, the Willie Mullins trained Appreciate It looks the most obvious danger to the favourite. However, a better value each way bet may be to take a punt on the rapidly improving, Teahupoo, from the yard of Gordon Elliott. One of the young guns in the field at just five years of age, the son of Masked Marvel is a perfect three from three this term and has already accounted for last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner, Quilixios, on three separate occasions. This demands more but he looks up to hitting the frame.

Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle: Telme Another One?

Returning to the yard of Henry de Bromhead, our next bet comes in the opening mares only contest of the meeting, and we will once again be siding with a mare who had her name up in lights here in 2021. Storming up the hill to slam the Mare’s Novice Hurdle field by 5½l last year, Telmesomethinggirl has failed to win in two starts this term, but took a big step back in the right direction when staying on third at Leopardstown back in December. Kept off the track since, she can be expected to arrive in peak condition for what is undoubtedly her major target of the season, and is fancied to prove tough to repel in the closing stages.

  • Telmesomethinggirl to Win at 11/4 with William Hill

Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Challenge Cup: Stat Attack

Multiple Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins has taken this staying chase twice in the past nine years and looks to have a prime candidate once again in the shape of Stattler. Only once finishing outside the first three over hurdles, on the early evidence this seven-year-old already looks a significantly better chaser. A perfect two from two over the larger obstacles, he showed stamina to be his strong suit when seeing off the highly regarded Farouk D’alene at Leopardstown last time out and looks the sort to be well suited by this test. Owner Ronnie Bartlett landed this twelve months ago with Galvin, and we like his chances of getting his hands on the prize once more with this tough son of Stowaway.

  • Stattler to win at 11/4 with Betfred

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