Cheltenham Festival 2023 Review & 2024 Pointers and 77/1 Ante-post Betting Tips
Performance of the week – Galopin Des Champs The Cheltenham Festival never fails to deliver…
The first day of the Cheltenham Festival is always special, and this year will be no different as jockeys, trainers and owners look to get their festival off the mark and hope for a successful week.
There are seven races across the day, with the Champion Hurdle the big one, and here at That’s A Goal we have all the best odds, predictions, offers and more.
Get all our day 1 betting tips from OB (follow him on Twitter) below with a preview for each race and the best bookies offers to use to make sure you are making the most of all the promotions available.
You can read my extended thoughts on the Supreme Novices Hurdle here where I have gone through a few of the key players in more detail. I tipped Marine Nationale for the race then (2 weeks ago) and even though I think he still has a great chance, I would have liked the rain to have stayed away for me to be really strong on him. The rain is a good thing for the fav Facile Vega and I would have been more bullish about taking him on on better ground.
I think the winner comes from the top 3 though and the confidence behind Facile Vega from the stable, given how bad he was the last day, is quite staggering. That being said I think the bet of the race now is his stablemate IL ETAIT TEMPS. There’s still 6/1 out there (paying 4 places) and I think that’s a fair EW price. A second-season novice who has seemed to improve with every run, he comes here after a career-best win at the DRF last time out. I can’t find 3 horses who finish in front of him and with further improvement not out of the question there’s no reason why he cannot uphold that form and get the better of Facile Vega again.
Back Il Etait Temps each-way (Coral paying 4 places): 6/1
9 runners go to post here but it’s hard to look past the theory that it’s a 2 horse race. JONBON and El Fabiolo are both favourites depending where you shop and bookies cannot split the pair. Only separated by a neck at Aintree last season over hurdles, the top 2 will now fight it out over the bigger obstacles where the jumping will play a huge part in the outcome. Jonbon was coming off a hard race at Cheltenham but still managed to outbattle El Fabiolo who was only having his second start for Willie Mullins. A case could be made for both horses based on hurdle’s form and the improvement they were likely to get this season but I’m just about in the Jonbon camp here.
With very little between them I’m siding with the more experienced horse who is a year older and has far greater race course experience both over hurdles and fences. Jonbon’s 3 wins over fences will have question marks over what he has beat and how unimpressive he was the last day when beating Calico at Warwick but I think he gets the better of El Fabiolo again.
El Fabiolo might turn out to be the better horse but his jumping hasn’t been great and with no festival experience to his name, I have my doubts. You can’t argue that he has the best form going into the race and that his win in the Irish Arkle was as impressive as we’ve seen. However, he is prone to a mistake or 2 (over fences and hurdles before) and with 2 more fences in the English Arkle over the Irish Arkle, I think that will disadvantage El Fabiolo.
Winning at Cheltenham can often come down to fine margins and I’m happy to go with the better jumper with previous Cheltenham experience to his name.
Back Jonbon to win the Arkle at 7/4 with bet365.
A competitive handicap where the UK always do well in (and win) and I’m putting up last year’s winner to follow up that success again this year. CORACH RAMBLER somehow won last year’s renewal after Derek Fox came from the clouds and stormed up the Cheltenham hill to break the heart of Gericault Roque. Returning horses have a great record in this race and Un Temps Pour Tout won back-to-back Ultima’s in 2016/2017. I see no reason why Luccinda Russell’s charge can’t follow that path and take this year’s race too.
Up 6lb from last year, I don’t believe that is enough to stop this horse from winning. Being aimed at this year’s Grand National may make some punters think this is only a prep run for Aintree but there are 32 days between those races this year so I think he will be tuned up for this just as much as last season.
Happy Go Lucky (2nd in 2021) and Oscar Elite (3rd in 2022) are 2 more returning horses who have a great EW chances ad I wouldn’t put anyone off those 2 horses.
Corach Rambler each-way with bet365 paying 6 places: 7/1
Sometimes you just have to sit back, soak up the atmosphere and just watch a superstar at work. Constitution Hill is that superstar and I cannot wait to see him win the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday. No bet or recommendations here as a result.
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A fantastic renewal of the Mares hurdle awaits us this year with the last 3 Champion Hurdle winners turning up here. Honeysuckle and Epatante have been scared away from the Champion Hurdle by Constitution Hill but that race’s loss is this race’s gain. Add them 2 to last year’s winner, last year’s Mares Novice winner and many other horses who have graded form and we have ourselves the highest quality Mares Hurdle to date.
You can make a case for many here but just like in the Ultima, I’m siding with last year’s winner, MARIES ROCK. Talked of in the last couple of weeks, as a horse who could step up to 3m to take on the boys in the Stayers Hurdle, she has another serious chance of winning this again. Only seen once this season when a very impressive winner on NYD in the Relkeel, last year’s winner is the one to beat. She stayed on strongly in that Relkeel just as she did in last year’s race and I cannot see how she doesn’t eat that hill again and win. The softer ground has probably improved her chances as stamina will play a big factor in this. The soft ground will also ask questions of her 2 market rivals in Epatante and Honeysuckle. I’ve been impressed with Maries Rock’s last 4 outings and she has all the form in the book over this trip/course to defend her crown.
Back Marie’s Rock to win the Mare’s Hurdle at 3/1 with Betfred & get £40 in free bets.
I tipped RISK BELLE in week 12 of my Ante Post picks and I haven’t seen enough to suggest that I should jump ship now. She was backed off the boards for the Mares Handicap Hurdle at the DRF and was prominent in running when coming down too early to know how she would have fared. The market would tell me she was fancied then and they must think highly of her as Willie rarely puts 4 YO’s against their elders. I hope she’s got a few pounds in hand and can give JP his 3rd win in 4 years.
You can make a case for quite a few in here and as 4 YO’s, several may have significant improvement in them or many lbs in hand. Tekao has graded form having ran behind Lossiemouth and Gala Marceau at the DRF last time and Byker is one for Charles Byrnes who could be very well treated.
I’m happy to stick with Risk Belle and although money hasn’t come for her yet (4th fav at time of writing) I will be delighted if does and there’s big market support behind her.
Bet on Risk Belle each-way with William Hill paying 5 places: 10/1
I backed Gaillard Du Mesnil nearly 11 months ago for this just after he crossed the line to finish 3rd in the Irish National at Fairyhouse. That run (him not winning) meant he was a maiden and still a novice for this season and I’ve been adamant he was always coming here and this was the plan all season.
Now you won’t get rich backing it now (Evens across the board) but he’s probably the right price and is the most likely winner. I have no reason to get off the hype now and it would surprise me if he wasn’t to win.
There are lots of question marks over the rest of the field and even though GDM has only won once over fences (a G1 that all but fell apart) he is streets ahead of these on ability. He had good hurdles form (2nd in a Ballymore) and is a brilliant jumper of a fence. He has the experience needed to win this race and in Patrick Mullins, he has a jockey on board who has won the race 3 times before.
He’s banker material.
Bet on Gaillard Du Mesnil at Evens with Betfred.
|1.30pm||Il Etait Temps (ew)||6/1|
|2.50pm||Corach Rambler (ew)||7/1|
|5.30pm||Gaillard Du Mensil||Evens|
That’s right, in the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival, we’ll have a wealth of betting tips and pundit predictions and more, as well as our daily NAP, hand-picked by some of the best in the business.
You’ll find all the latest Cheltenham Day 1 betting tips below, as well as plenty more across this page…
Performance of the week – Galopin Des Champs The Cheltenham Festival never fails to deliver…
The blue riband/ribboned (🤷🏼♂️) race of the week (and the year) the 2023 Cheltenham Festival…
Our Cheltenham Festival tipping competition returns for day 4 of the 2023 Festival and the…
There’s plenty to back across day one of the Cheltenham Festival, and you’ll find tons of great offers too from all the top brands like SBK, Betfred and beyond. The racing gets underway at 1.30pm on March 14, running through until the early evening.
You can find the full day’s schedule for day one below:
In the lead-up to the Cheltenham we have all the best ante-post bets, and always keep an eye out for the bookmakers that are providing non runner no bet offers (NRNB). We’re continually keeping our eye on the markets, as well as all the goings on in the lead up to Cheltenham, and below you’ll find all our latest horse racing tips for day one in the ante-post market.
|1.30pm||Il Etait Temps (ew)||6/1|
|2.50pm||Corach Rambler (ew)||7/1|
|5.30pm||Gaillard Du Mensil||Evens|
I believe the Supreme market is one to watch closely in the next 7-10 days as it still evolves around the form/fitness of Facile Vega and at what state he will return to following the Dublin Racing Festival. I still believe he goes off shorter and will get continued support form followers but this means others are likely to be a bigger price than they are now.
My selection for this race is going to be Marine Nationale. I think he has the perfect combination of speed/stamina for the Supreme and even though he’s won on heavy, trainer Barry Connell has mentioned that he will be better on better ground.
With limited rain now due before the festival I think he will love the ground (water good to soft) and everything about the Supreme just screams this horse. He’s best-priced 7/2 now and that’s fair for what he’s achieved and what else is in the race but it wouldn’t surprise me if he drifted in the build-up or on the day. Either way, I think he wins!!
Current Odds – 7/1 with bet365
Given Constitution Hill’s demolition of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle field last year, it may be forgotten that he wasn’t even clear favourite going into the race. In fact, Willie Mullins had such confidence in this week’s selection that he was happy to push the previous year’s bumper winner, Sir Gerhard, up to the Ballymore. Now, there is no doubt that DYSART DYNAMO was beaten when falling 3 out in that Supreme, and he may not even have come second. My reading of that race is that he was far too keen and set an unsustainable gallop, which in turn set the race up for the subsequent winner. A line can also be put through his run at Punchestown, as he was found to have a small heart defibrillation (this may have even been an issue at the festival).
His run in the Moscow Flyer was to me, one of the most visually impressive performances of the year, and while there were no superstars in that race, the way he went through it blew me away.
It is not hard to make the comparison to another Willie 2 miler, Un De Sceaux, and while it is a cliche that fences can calm tearaways like this down, if that old adage applies here, then 16/1 is a huge price. My read of the Arkle ante-post market is Jonbon’s price is artificially short because of his full brother, Douvan’s success in the race and that El Fabiolos is also priced incorrectly due to his short head defeat by that horse at Aintree. I expect Mighty Potter and Appreciate it to step up in trip and Sir Gerhard might even stay over hurdles.
It would not surprise me at all to see Dysart Dynamo tear off in front and if he has recovered from his health issues, it will take a fair one to pass him and at the prices, I think he is the standout price in the Arkle.
Threeunderthrufive (12/1) for champion trainer Paul Nichols is the horse im confident will have a say in the 3m Ultima handicap chase on Day 1 of the festival. I’ve toyed with this horse for a couple of weeks as he was as big as 25/1 a couple of weeks ago and its hard knowing you’ve missed a big price. However, I still think 12/1 is a fair enough price and I believe he will be shorter than this come the day. Below are some of the key trends associated with this race:
Now it’s quite the thing just how many boxes this horse ticks on the trends for this race. ALL OF THEM. Albeit he UR at the first in the Hennessy and didn’t really have a race, it’s still a race that winners target on the way to the festival.
My horse was last seen finishing 6th, beaten 17 lengths in the Classic Chase 2 weeks ago. He ran well for the majority of that race but tired 2 out and faded away. That was over 3m5f on heavy ground whilst carrying top weight of 12st. He clearly doesn’t stay the marathon trip so dropping in distance to just over 3m (and hopefully on the better ground) will see him in a better light.
2 of the last 3 winners were comprehensively beaten in the Classic Chase so I have no worries about the performance he put up at Warwick last time. His owners (The McNeil family) sponsor the race and I believe they will aim him at this and the man in Ditcheat will have him primed and ready to give the owners their first success in this race.
Current Odds – 5/1 with bet365
BRANDY LOVE is the horse I’m backing for the messiah that is Willie Mullins. Now, we won’t be getting the 25/1 I had her at for last year’s Mares Novice hurdle (which still haunts me) but I think she is the most likely winner of the race.
This is definitely her target (how often can we say that about a Willie Mullins horse?) and if she can get to the start unscathed (no stone bruise the morning of please) then she will go off a lot shorter than she is now.
Her form of winning the Grade 1 EBF Mares Novice Hurdle Championship final at Fairyhouse and in doing so giving an 8-length beating to Cheltenham Mares Novice winner Love Envoi is as strong as she could have shown. That performance was even more impressive when you take into account her tendency to jump left and take a disliking to right-handed tracks. I expect her to be 5-10lb better on a left-handed track.
Epatante is the current (4/1) fav and you can argue whether she’s the right favourite or not. Impressive over 2m4f at Aintree the trip looks fine for her & with her stable mate Constitution Hill favourite for the Champion Hurdle it looks like she will be campaigned with this race in mind.
Last year’s winner Marie’s Rock is very good though and would be a huge danger if lining up here again. The form of her 2022 win is strong and she only strengthens that form with her win at Punchestown when brushing a side Epatante and Stormy Ireland. Nicky Henderson has hinted a couple of times though that she could be stepping up in trip to 3m which could potentially aim her at the Stayers Hurdle (maybe to split her & Epatante).
Telmesomethinggirl has been confirmed to go novice chasing by trainer Henry De Bromhead & with The Queens Brook disappointing first time out, the race all of a sudden lacks the depth of this year’s renewal.
Brandy Love will be aimed at the race and with her form from last season and the potential to be even better and progressive, I think shes a great bet for this.
I was in Navan when TEKAO ran in his Maiden hurdle and he travelled supremely before getting tired and not finishing his race. The betting on the day suggested that he would need the run and at that time Willie was open on the fact that most of his would improve for their first outing.
He followed this up by winning a competitive Maiden hurdle at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting. While initially I thought he had been extended to do so, I rewatched that race and I think Mark Walsh has done brilliantly to hide just how snuggly this horse has won. And it seems to have done the trick….he is entered in a Handicap hurdle in Thurles on Sunday off a mark of just 121.
He has to have one more run to qualify for the Boodles and it will either come here or at the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle at the DRF. The fact that he was given an entry for the latter shows me that he is held in high regard at Closutton. Either way, with English Handicapper Tax, he should get into the race with a mark in the mid to high 120s and this would fit the trends (14 of the 17 winners of the race were officially rated between 124 and 134). Add to this that Jp has had 2 of the last 3 winners and that he is French bred, Tekao ticks a lot of boxes.
In recent years, the horses placed in this race have often been ones just short of Triumph class (Saint Sam, Aramax, Brazil, Gaelic Warrior) and I get the impression that Tekao wouldn’t look out of place in a Grade 1 contest. But with Willie already training the first 3 in the betting for the Triumph, I would be confident that he runs here. But as a bonus, the 8/1 NRNB price is just one point short of best available odds and is a nice bit of insurance. If he turns up on the day with Mark Walsh on his back, you can half those odds at least.
The worse kept secret during the spring/summer was that Gaillard Du Mesnil is the National Hunt Chase winner. All the ‘shrewd’ folk were on after he finished 3rd in the Irish National which kept his novice status for another year, making him a perfect candidate for the NHC. He ticks a lot of the boxes you look out for, for the race and will almost certainly be ridden by Patrick if he turns up.
Last year’s contest only brought 6 horses to post (4 Irish & 2 Rebecca Curtis runners) and I envisage another small field again come March. He seems a short price now but will definitely be shorter on the day. I think the NHC is a good betting race as not every trainer/owner likes or targets the race so it is one of the easier races to spot who might be aimed at it a long way out.
The bookies will be out in full force on Cheltenham Day 1 and there will be tons of offers to choose from too (many mentioned below). The likes of Paddy Power, Betfred and even brands such as LiveScoreBet have some fantastic odds and offers for day one of the festival.
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