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Katie Walsh Betway blog: Cheltenham day one Tuesday 14 March 2023

13 Mar | BY Katie Walsh | MIN READ TIME |
Katie Walsh Betway blog: Cheltenham day one Tuesday 14 March 2023

The Betway ambassador previews the first day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival and picks out her fancies for each race on the card.

13:30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

I’ve said it a few times of late, but I’m against Facile Vega in the opener. I wasn’t mad keen after his run at Christmas and then he was disappointing at Leopardstown, so I think he has to be taken on. The vibes are strong from the yard, though.

I do think his stablemate IL ETAIT TEMPS {ODDS:1100675822:9/2} is the one to beat. He was very good at the Dublin Racing Festival and I think he’ll be given a similar sort of ride by Danny [Mullins] again. 

14:10 Arkle Chase

It looks a great Arkle this year with plenty of horses with chances, but I can’t come away from JONBON {ODDS:1100675843:7/4}.

He was a very good hurdler and has improved again for fences. He’s been trained for this day by Nicky Henderson and I think he’ll take all of the beating.

14:50 Ultima Handicap

The Ultima is a race us Irish haven’t had a great hand in over the years, but I do think that Martin Brassil’s FASTORSLOW {ODDS:1100675921:9/1} could run well. He caught my eye behind Gentleman Du Mee last time and this is much easier now.

I’ll also mention Cloudy Glen {ODDS:1100675926:16/1} for Venetia Williams. He needed the run on his comeback at Haydock last month but that would have brought him on plenty.

15:30 Champion Hurdle

I don’t think there’ll be anyone at Cheltenham who isn’t excited to see CONSTITUTION HILL {ODDS:1100676225:4/11} in the Champion Hurdle. This is a real test for him with State Man and Vauban in the race, but he’s looked outstanding to date and I can’t his unbeaten record being tarnished just yet.

He’s got everything – he travels well, jumps well and has plenty of gears. State Man will give him a race but I’m not sure he’ll see much other than the backside of the favourite as they come up the hill.

16:10 Mares’ Hurdle

The Mares’ Hurdle is a quality race – this is a great crop of mares who should all be hugely appreciated.

There are six horses all with proper chances, but this could well be the last dance for HONEYSUCKLE {ODDS:1100676239:7/2}. She’s been some servant to her connections and there will be a huge roar if she wins this.

16:50 Boodles Handicap Hurdle

The Boodles is wide open. There are so many with chances but, on form, I like the look of Willie’s [Mullins] two for JP McManus. TEKAO {ODDS:1100676498:4/1} was bang there until two out behind the stablemates who will run in the Triumph.

RISK BELLE {ODDS:1100676502:11/1} was smashed in the betting in a handicap hurdle but fell early on.

They must think of lot of them, and this race could be a sign of what’s to come this week from these connections.

17:30 National Hunt Chase

GAILLARD DU MESNIL {ODDS:1100676570:10/11} is the one to beat in the National Hunt Chase. Patrick Mullins has been wanting this ride all season and he’s got his way.

He finished third in the Brown Advisory last year and has been running in Grade 1 races, so he’s expected to win. Patrick has a fair book of rides this week and I think he’ll have more than one winner by the end of it.

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Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh

Successful former jump jockey who, until 2021, boasted the best ever Grand National finishing position by a female jockey.

Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh

Successful former jump jockey who, until 2021, boasted the best ever Grand National finishing position by a female jockey.