Matchbook’s Daniel Hussey will be here each day of the Cheltenham Festival with his final tips and selections.
Almost two years to the day since crowds were last at the Cheltenham Festival, they are finally allowed back to roar on their equine heroes before the Supreme.
28 races over four days. Let’s see can we get a few winners…
13:30 Supreme Novices Hurdle
Willie Mullins has become synonymous with the Supreme in recent times, winning five of the last nine runnings.
He comes here with a strong hand once again as Dysart Dynamo battles favouritism with Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill.
Both are unbeaten over hurdles – and look very hard to separate – but preference is for the Willie Mullins-trained horse particularly as his front-running nature will suit this race.
You can make a case for a number of the others, given the strength in depth to the race, but one I can’t let go at the prices is Bring On The Night.
He was a very impressive winner on debut at Naas and given the fact Willie Mullins has pitched him up here speaks volumes of his potential.
Expect him to outrun his odds at a massive price.
14:10 Arkle Chase
Blue Lord is a horse that has not done much wrong over fences to date. He was going to finish a well-beaten 2nd in last year’s Supreme but for falling in the last and brings an exciting profile to this race.
Admittedly, he was disappointing at Leopardstown and would have probably lost the race if Paul Townend didn’t decide to cut Rivier D’etel’s path after her mistake at the last.
However, he did seem to be distracted by the mare jumping to her right during the race and with a quieter ride, he can cruise into the race off an end-to-end gallop. Expect him to go very close.
If this race is to be won from the front then Magic Daze could be the mare to side with. She hasn’t run since December when beaten into 3rd by Concertista and Jeremys Flame at Cork.
Henry De Bromhead’s stable were out-of-form at the time so that run can be upgraded.
With the trainer winning the Arkle in 2020 with a mare off a similar break, she could definitely outrun her odds in a weak-enough looking renewal.
14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase
The Ultima is a race that the Irish have a dreadful record in recent years and despite their stronger challenge this year (seven runners declared), I’m siding with a couple from the home team here.
Trainer Kim Bailey had last year’s second in favourite Happygolucky and I’m hoping he can go one better this time around with Does He Know.
He brings the all-important Cheltenham form to the table and if his Ascot win last time out hasn’t left its mark, expect him to go very close.
Vintage Clouds defied all the stats to win this race 12 months ago as an 11-year-old and he comes here off a mark of 144 which is just 1lb higher than his win.
His performance at Doncaster last month showed there are still signs of life in the old boy.
With cheekpieces back on, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run a big race.
15:30 Champion Hurdle
This year’s Champion Hurdle is a race I’m happy to leave alone at the current prices. Honeysuckle should win and it would be incredible to see her and Rachael Blackmore go back-to-back, especially as they will now have 70,000 fans to cheer them back into the winner’s enclosure.
16:10 Mares Hurdle
The Mares Hurdle is a race I struggled to have a strong opinion ante-post on given the lack of a superstar in the race.
Telmesomethinggirl has been favourite for the majority of the season and is worthy of her place at the top of the market but Queens Brook is a mare that could go well here.
Given an easy time of it last time out against market rival Burning Victory, the Gordon Elliott camp are very sweet on her for this race and that has to be respected.
16:50 Boodles Juvenile Hurdle
The Boodles is a race dominated by one horse in the Willie Mullins-trained Gaelic Warrior. He comes here off a mark of 129 (despite being rated 139 in France) and could be very hard to beat if he takes to the track well. I’m happy to leave him alone at the prices and take him on with a couple of plays.
At the top of the market, I do like The Tide Turns for Gordon Elliott who was an impressive 4th in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival.
He ran in the Red Mills Trial Hurdle to get his third run over hurdles and qualify for this race and should go very well here.
7 of the last 10 winners have gone off between 26.0 and 81.0 (thank you Matt Tombs!) so I’ve also gone for Prairie Dancer of Joseph O’Brien.
If you watch back his last run at Fairyhouse, he stayed on very strongly after losing his place mid-race and this stiffer 2 miles should bring out more improvement in him.
— Daniel Hussey (@DanielHussey2) March 14, 2022
17:30 National Hunt Chase
Gordon Elliott has had this race in mind for Run Wild Fred for a while and I think he will take all the beating here.
You need plenty of experience over fences in this race and he ticks a lot more boxes than his favourite rival Stattler.
RWF could go off very short, particularly if Gordon can get a couple of winners on the card earlier in the day.
Daniel Hussey’s Cheltenham Day 1 Tips:
- 13:30 Dysart Dynamo & Bring On The Night
- 14:10 Blue Lord & Magic Daze
- 14:50 Does He Know & Vintage Clouds
- 15:30 No bet
- 16:10 Queens Brook
- 16:50 The Tide Turns & Prairie Dancer
- 17:30 Run Wild Fred
Double: Dysart Dynamo (NB) & Run Wild Fred (NAP)
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