Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival is thought by many to be the best of the four days of racing at Prestbury Park and the 2018 renewal is set to be as thrilling. As ever, the Cheltenham Festival day 1 races kick off with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Preview
The Cheltenham action gets underway at 1.30pm with the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as the most exciting young hurdlers charge to the first fence. Race 2 is the Arkle Chase and the betting currently looks wide open with no obvious superstar in the line-up. The Ultima Festival Handicap Chase is notoriously difficult to tip the winner in, but it is also one of the races where each-way betting can prove profitable. Run over 19 fences there are normally fallers and the three-mile trip creates a thrilling finish up the hill.
Race 4 is the first of the Cheltenham Festival Championship races – the Champion Hurdle. Buveur D’Air won the 2017 Champion Hurdle and is currently ante-post favourite for the 2018 renewal. Race 5 is the Mares Hurdle and last year we saw Limini and Vroom Vroom Mag beaten by Apple’s Jade. This is always one of the best Cheltenham Festival races because of the quality of Mares that take their chance. Willie Mullins tends to dominate. The penultimate race on the Cheltenham Festival Day 1 card is the National Hunt Chase over the extended distance. 16/1 shot Tiger Roll won it last year and it is another chance for each-way punters to get some reward. 2nd and 3rd place last year were 50/1 and 33/1 respectively. Day 1 concludes with the Novices’ Handicap Chase at 5.30pm. Be sure to keep up to date with all our Cheltenham Festival day 1 tips as the Festival draws ever closer.
2018 Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Date
The 2018 Cheltenham Festival starts with day 1 on Tuesday 13th March. The first race is 1.30pm and the last race is due off at 5.30pm.
Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Racecard
- 1.30pm – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
- 2.10pm – The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy
- 2.50pm – The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
- 3.30pm – The Stan James Champion Hurdle
- 4.10pm – The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle Race
- 4.50pm – The Toby Balding Brothers National Hunt Chase
- 5.30pm – The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase
2018 Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle
The first race of the Cheltenham Festival and traditional curtain raiser is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Get a winner here and our Cheltenham Festival day 1 tips are off to a flyer! Here we see the best young hurdles over 2 miles. The race is always dominated by a fierce betting heat in the build-up as people try and get the best value for their bets, however last year we saw a shock when 25/1 outsider Labaik beat the well fancied and heavily punted Melon, trained by Willie Muillins, into second. The pace is always a fierce one and it is one of the most thrilling races on the whole Cheltenham Festival card. Will it be advantageous bookies or punters after race 1?
2018 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy
This race normally throws up a superstar with the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Un de Sceaux, Douvan and Altior winning in recent years. There is no obvious superstar in the line-up this year as of yet. This race pits together the best 2m novice chasers and the gallop is always fast and furious. It is one of the better races for betting on favourites during Cheltenham week.
Ultima Handicap Chase
The first handicap of Cheltenham Festival week is the first real time to have a strong each-way punt. The race is ran on the old course and normally throws up some Grand National prospects. The 3 mile trip takes some getting and it is normally the strong stayers that come out on top.
2018 Stan James Champion Hurdle
The first Championship race of the week is the Champion Hurdle and there have been countless memorable renewals. 2017 saw Buveur D’air see off what said was a below par Champion Hurdle field. Yanworth went off favourite but didn’t fire. The race is another fiercely run affair over 2 miles. The hill is normally where the race changes as horses who come off the pace come into their own.
The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle
This is one of those races where it is a nightmare for punters to bet ante-post. Hopefully the new declaration rules will help but none the less, it is a tough betting heat. Last year we had the debarcle surrounding Limini and Vroom Vroom Mag with Rich Ricci not deciding which race they would run in. Willie Mullins has dominated this race with superstar Quevega, Glen’s Melody in that infamous Annie Power fall race and then Vroom Vroom Mag in 2016. Apple’s Jade won it last year – beating the Willie Mullins pair into the places.
National Hunt Chase
This race is run over 3m 7f and is the most gruelling of tests for the horses. It is a race that looks suited to stayers, but any sort of pace can take the finish out of them. When betting on the National Hunt Chase, look for jockeys with experience as it is confined to amateur jockeys. It is one of the hardest betting heats on day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival so it’s also worth delving into the each way markets.
Novices Handicap Chase
The concluding race on Cheltenham Festival day 1 is the Novices Handicap Chase and we normally get a very open betting heat here. It isn’t uncommon for the favourite to be a double figure price so it’s another good chance to get a winning each-way bet. It is run over 2 and half miles.Only two favourites have ever won this race.
When will I get your 2018 Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Tips?
We will have our ante-post betting tips for Cheltenham 2018 imminently. There is always the chance that some of these horses will not run at the Cheltenham Festival so beware of that and bet cautiously. The Cheltenham day 1 tips for the handicap races will be with you nearer the start of the Festival when we have a better idea of the runners. The best races to bet on ante-post are the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle because you can be more confident of the runners lining up.