Cheltenham Festival 2020: Day 1 betting tips
Our tipster Tom Sutton is here with his best horse racing tips for every race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival, including two each-ways in the Ultima.
13:30 Supreme Novices' Hurdle
Willie Mullins is looking for his seventh winner in the Supreme and I think he’ll pull it off with ASTERION FORLONGE .
The six-year-old is three from three and was so impressive in claiming the Grade 1 at Leopardstown last month – almost 10 lengths ahead of Easywork.
There are minor concerns about how much he leans to the right when jumping but he finishes so well and should be first up that hill.
One to keep your eye on at a bigger price is Alan King’s EDWARDSTONE .
He boasts some very consistent form on his CV (22-211-2), including a victory over Fiddlerontheroof in November and a runner-up spot to Chantry House and Stolen Silver in the Supreme Trial.
14:10 Arkle Chase
The Arkle is up next and, for me, NOTEBOOK has done absolutely nothing wrong this season.
He’s won back-to-back Grade 1s at Leopardstown and finished 1½ lengths ahead of Fakir D’Oudairies, despite carrying more weight.
The seven-year-old travels really nicely and could get Rachael Blackmore off to the perfect start as an outside shot for top jockey.
14:50 Ultima Handicap
We’re paying six places on the Ultima, where I have two each-way fancies.
The first of those is KILDISART , who has struggled to find some of his best form this season after underwhelming runs at Kempton and Ascot.
However, he has won on this course and put up a decent effort when fourth in last year’s JLT. He also won the Betway Handicap at Aintree when carrying top weight.
Conditions should suit and I’m hopeful he can reproduce some of his best form.
The other one I like is Venetia Williams’ CEPAGE .
His runner-up behind Betfair Chase winner Riders Onthe Storm at Aintree last November is solid form, while he also won nicely here in Grade 3 company in January.
He does have a lot of weight but I’m optimistic he can at least place.
15:30 Champion Hurdle
This is a pretty poor Champion Hurdle, but the one who is really sticking out to me is SUPASUNDAE .
He’s a two-time Grade 1 winner over 2m – beating the likes of Faugheen and Wicklow Brave – and also has some impressive Festival form, winning the 2017 Coral Cup and finishing second in the 2018 Stayers’ Hurdle to Penhill.
The drop back in distance is definitely the right decision and I think he’ll be right up there.
I wouldn’t ignore BALLYANDY as an each-way chance, though.
He’s rediscovered form this season with big efforts behind Call Me Lord here in the International Hurdle and a third behind Epatante and Silver Streak in the Christmas Hurdle.
A hard-fought victory in the Champion Hurdle Trial over Pentland Hills last time only strengthens his form and I can definitely see him finishing in the top four.
16:10 Mares' Hurdle
Not much to say here as, should BENIE DES DIEUX finish, then she will win.
Her only blip under Willie Mullins was when she fell at the last here 12 months ago when she definitely had the race won.
She’s produced superb performances over 3m since then at Auteuil and Gowran Park and I just think she’s so versatile that she’ll win here.
Honeysuckle has really impressed me but she would have had a better chance in the Champion Hurdle.
If you want a more adventurous punt, I’d go for a straight-tricast on BENIE DES DIEUX – HONEYSUCKLE – LADY BUTTONS .
16:50 Novices' Handicap Chase
I’m not a massive fan of backing short-priced favourites for handicaps like these but I really do think IMPERIAL AURA wins this.
The seven-year-old has such a consistent CV with four wins, two seconds and two thirds from eight runs – including two seconds on this course to Pym and Simply The Betts.
I think that’s huge form and he should have too much for the rest of the field.
If you fancy an each-way shout, then I’d take a punt on CHAMPAGNE MYSTERY , who has been so consistent for Nicky Henderson (222-122) since unseating his rider on debut.
Proven over this distance, I think he has a good chance of placing at a nice price.
17:30 National Hunt Chase
We’ll finish off with the National Hunt Chase, where I was all over Champagne Classic before his setback.
However, I’m going to take a chance on another of Gordon Elliott’s in RAVENHILL .
A narrow defeat to Poker Party in the Kerry National this year is his strongest form and he also put in a good effort in the Galway Plate last summer.
He’ll have no issues with stamina here and, given Jamie Codd won this race last year, that only enhances his chances.
NOTEBOOK | BENIE DES DIEUX
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