In our Saturday Preview (which headlined the 7-1 winner of the Imperial Cup) we promised an in-depth analysis of the Selling Hurdle at Sedgefield, but, unfortunately, that race has been removed from the card, so we’d better have a look at the other jumps meeting at Cheltenham.
Centrepiece of Day 1 is the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy at 3.30, made even more interesting this year by the presence of two Irish-trained mares, namely Apple’s Jade and Laurina.
Good (or very good) as these two ladies may be, our view is that they are making the price for the winner of the last two runnings, Buveur D’Air.
Described as ‘below par’ last year, but still successful, this 8-y-o is fully on song today and, with the rain falling, surely the hat-trick is on the cards. We recommend a bit of a lash at 11-4.
As per, the meeting kicks off with the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 1.30, with a field of 17 due to go to post.
There are co-favourites in this at around the 5-1 mark and we have no hesitation in nominating Angels Breath as the one to be with.
A breathtaking stable debut has been followed by a narrow defeat in the ‘prep’ race, which has provided the winner of this race 5 times in the past decade. We think the trainer knows what he has with this 5-y-o, and recommend an each way bet at 5-1.
One of the co-favourites is the Willie Mullins‘ trained Klassical Dream, for which there has been a cascade of money in the past few days, but, if you like that one, you should also consider its stable mate Aramon, which is available at almost three times the odds. Just a head behind Klassical Dream last time out and now a pound better off, at 14-1 we’ll have an each way ‘saver’ on it.
At 2.10 the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase takes place and we start with a win bet on the 9-2 favourite Glen Forsa.
Mick Channon‘s charge is unbeaten in three tries over fences, all over different distances, with the latest 2 mile run the best of the lot, given that it thrashed Kalashnikov by 19 lengths – some performance. Doesn’t have to lead, like it did that day and the tactical versatility is ideal for this race. Leave it to Jonathan Burke to belie his surname.
One horse that probably will lead is the Henry de Bromhead trained Ornua, which gave the mighty Dynamite Dollars an almighty fright at Sandown last December, only being overhauled in the last 100 yds. Another performance like that will put pressure on the jumping of the chasing pack and, at 14-1, an each way bet is in order.
At 2.50, the Ultima Handicap Chase is run over 3m1f, with a maximum field of 24 and, unsurprisingly, it’s 8-1bar none.
We go two against the field, starting with Beware The Bear at 14-1. 4th in this last year, after a nightmare run, BTB has since had a wind op and acquired cheekpieces and it was a different animal last time out, when breezing home on the New Course here in January. Arrives here fresh as a daisy and must go well.
Our other selection will inspire plenty of groans and a few laughs, but we are fearless, dear readers.
Have an each way bet on dear old Singlefarmpayment at a working man’s 16-1. One day, just maybe, its head will be in front when it matters and we have it on good authority that both Noel Fehily and SFP have made regular visits to the psychiatrist in preparation for today.
The last televised race is the OLBG Mares’Hurdle at 4.10, in which Benie Des Dieux reappears for the first time since taking this event in 2018. Where she has been for the past year we know not, but at 11-10 we have to take her on.
We suggest each way bets on Jester Jet (33-1) and our old friend Lady Buttons (14-1) to give us a run for our hard-earned.
Back tomorrow with more whimsy.
Buveur D’Air 3.30 Cheltenham 4pts win @ 11-4
Angels Breath 1.30 Cheltenham 2pts e/w @ 5-1 (4 places)
Aramon 1.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (4 places)
Glen Forsa 2.10 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 9-2
Ornua 2.10 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 14-1
Beware The Bear 2.50 Cheltenham 2pts e/w @ 14-1 (5 places)
Singlefarmpayment 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (5 places)
Jester Jet 4.10 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 33-1
Lady Buttons 4.10 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 14-1