Every year come mid-March, the eyes of the racing world point towards what is the biggest National Hunt festival of the year, an exciting and nervous occasion for all involved. The Cheltenham roar has become a symbol of the atmosphere and excitement that the week of racing represents. Come the raising of the tape on day 1 that atmosphere and anticipation will come to a climax for punters and connections alike.
The action begins today at 1.30pm, with some very interesting puzzles for punters to indulge over. We will take a look at each race for day one and what we can expect to come from the line ups and good value betting propositions:
1.30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
The Walsh/Mullins combination will be looking to strike early on Day 1 again, but we are more happy to take the prices available. Proved to be a smart hurdler over the autumn and having won over C&D in November looks to be a solid proposition to get people off to a good priced winning start to the festival.
2.10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Novices' Grade 1)
DOUVAN 2/5 No Bet
Will be almost impossible to beat you have to feel here, and can prove superstar status with a win here. No bet for us at the prices but one for bumping up any accas you are having a dabble with.
2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
UN TEMPS POUR TOUT 16/1 ew
BEG TO DIFFER 12/1 ew (5 places with Paddy Power)
A real Cheltenham puzzle here and the two that we think are worth having a go at are both tempting prices. Pipe yard have a classy hurdler who hasn't shaped too badly over fences but still has a bit to prove in this sphere. Looks capable of much better and we can see a big performance here.
On the other hand, Beg To Differ has made an excellent start to the larger obstacles and with Visor on again should be able to get involved.
3.30 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)
THE NEW ONE 6/1 ew
Unlucky not to win this 2 years ago and struggled to really show full potential over the years. Can get involved today, and we are quite happy to oppose Annie Power over this trip.
4.10 OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1)
VROUM VROUM MAG Evens
Has everything going for her here and hard to back against even at the short prices.Unbeaten in 8 starts and this yard have exceptional record in this.
4.50 The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup
SOUTHFIELD ROYALE 15/2 ew (4 places with Paddy Power)
Impressive since going chasing and progressing nicely, staying on strongly in penultimate start at Doncaster in the mud. Needs to make further steps here and prove gets the trip, but indications are that should handle this and potentially thrive.
5.30 Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed)
WILLOWS SAVIOUR 10/1 ew (5 places with some bookamkers)
Good return to action having been off the track for sometime over the winter and good run last time up in trip should set him up nicely for this challenge. Sitting on a good mark now and worth a chance at the prices.
Paddy Power are offering refunds on all horses that finish second throughout the festival, worth having a look at especially in your big bets.