Meetings:

THE wait is over, Cheltenham Festival 2019 is here and Alan Thomson is on the case with a race-by-race guide to the day one action.

1.30pm Supreme Novices Hurdle

FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES (1.30) can kick-start a vintage Cheltenham for the Irish by landing the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle curtain-raiser.

With the Festival clearly in mind several months ago, Joseph O’Brien sent Fakir D’Oudairies to Prestbury Park on January 26 for the Triumph Hurdle Trial on the back of a smart Cork success. He duly bolted up by 13 lengths from Fine Brunello and Adjali.

The gelding had scored on soft/heavy at Cork, so testing conditions shouldn’t present a difficulty. O’Brien has heavily-supported Triumph Hurdle favourite Sir Erec in the yard, also owned by JP McManus, hence the reason for Fakir D’oudairies being switched to the Supreme. As the only four-year-old in the field, he receives a generous 8lb allowance from all his rivals.

Dangers abound and there was a plunge on Klassical Dream earlier this week. He holds Vision D’honneur (ran too free, now tried in a tongue-tie) on Leopardstown form but there shouldn’t be much between that duo. With William Hill going a ridiculously-generous seven places, there is huge scope for each-way punting. Get your betting boots on.

2.10pm Arkle Chase

The Arkle Trophy can occasionally cut up quite badly but a healthy 12 runners line up for a very open encounter. Having backed Lalor ante-post I’m looking for another string to my bow with the ground turning testing and HARDLINE (2.10) fits the bill for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell.

The seven-year-old was handed a stiff task in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last month when asked to concede 7lb to talented British raider La Bague Au Roi. Hardline ran a perfectly respectable third on ground a bit on the fast side and the Gigginstown entry has plenty of winning form on soft/heavy. He looks a decent each-way price if not taken off his feet by the anticipated fast pace.

Favourite Glen Forsa spiked Kalashnikov’s guns at Sandown and must go well seeking a four-timer for his popular trainer Mick Channon.

2.50pm Ultima Handicap Chase

Give Me A Copper has been the talking horse for Paul Nicholls and Sir Alex Ferguson In the 3m 1f Ultima Handicap Chase, but with 26 runners declared I’ll swerve the favourite in favour of MISTER WHITAKER (2.50).

The Channon-trained gelding edged out Rather Be as a novice chaser at last year’s Festival and is now 15lb higher. Normally that would be enough to put me off but his tremendous track record, plus this step up in distance, offers plenty of each-way encouragement.

Unsurprisingly, Mister Whitaker could never lay a glove on Cyrname at Ascot last time but a repeat of his running-on fourth to Baron Alco and Frodon in the BetVictor Chase here in November puts him in the mix under Brian Hughes.

3.30pm Champion Hurdle

As mentioned in an earlier column, APPLES JADE (3.30) gets the vote in a fascinating Unibet Champion Hurdle. In my book there are only three runners – defending champ Buveur D’air, Laurina and Apple’s.

Buveur D’air was more impressive in beating My Tent Or Yours in 2017 than last year when mastering Melon by a neck. He looked good when whipping a below-par Samcro in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle but Buveur D’air was surprisingly upended by stablemate Verdana Blue at Kempton before seeing off Vision Des Flos at Sandown in workmanlike style. He has to give 7lb to the mares Apple’s Jade and Laurina, so he’ll be a very worthy triple champion if successful.

Apple’s Jade was visually much more convincing with her emphatic Irish Champion Hurdle victory at Leopardstown. Taken straight to the front, she was slick over her obstacles and had no trouble putting clear daylight between herself and the pursuing pack led by Supasundae.

Laurina has bossed some inferior mares but remains unexposed at this level. She is a grand, imposing horse and makes plenty of each-way appeal if you’re not in the camp of either of the big two.

4.10pm Mares Hurdle

According to the market, Benie Des Dieux is already passed the post for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh in the Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle. She had half a length to spare over Midnight Tour last year and hasn’t been seen for 318 days.

At each-way odds stablemate LIMINI (4.10) makes some appeal. She won here over two miles in 2016 and has been keeping top company, most lately running a creditable fourth to Presenting Percy at Gowran Park. It was three miles that day and this intermediate 2m 4f trip on deep ground would be ideal.

4.50pm Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase

There has been a persistent whisper for Riders On The Storm in the Close Brothers Novices’ Chase, with Tom Taaffe booking Brian Hughes for his lightly-raced six-year-old. He likes to bowl along and front-runners have a good record in this event. HIGHWAY ONE O ONE (4.50) is another potential pacemaker and should put up a good show, despite top weight.

Chris Gordon sent him to Carlisle in November where he took the notable scalp of Dolos on soft ground. Highway One O One gained valuable Cheltenham experience in late January when chasing home Kildisart and it may pay to race near the front, and out of trouble, in a field of 22 runners.

5.30pm National Hunt Chase

OK CORRAL (5.30) was selected in an earlier column for the four-mile National Hunt Chase and the favourite can provide JP McManus with another winner in one of his favourite races. His colours should also be carried prominently by Jerrysback at a bigger price.

Philip Hobbs has campaigned him at around 2m 4f and Jerrysback may well improve for this greater stamina test. He had the speed to chase home Vinndication at Ascot before Christmas and is a tasty ew price.

New to horse racing? Check out our horse racing abbreviations guide as well as racebets for a fantastic welcome offer.

83 Comments
  1. double carpet 4 months ago

    1.30 Klassical Dream
    We may not see the next Altior or Douvan amongst this field but it’s a real headscratcher of a race to find the winner.
    I’ve gone for Klassical Dream as I was really impressed with his battling win lto over Aramon. That was only his 2nd run for Mullins and I’m sure there’s more to come and Willie will have him ready for this.
    The rain that’s expected won’t be a problem either.
    I don’t have a WH account but with 7 places on offer Itchy Feet @33/1 Looks huge. Was only beaten 1 1/4L by Elixir de Nutz over c&d when conceding 5lbs and has been rested so will arrive fresh.
    4yr olds have a dreadful record in this race so can’t have Fackir D’Oudairies and Al Dancers Betfair win didn’t impress me and Getaway Trump didn’t exactly frank the form next time out.

    2.10 Hardline (12/1 ap ew)
    Delighted to get in early on this one. I think his form is rock solid and will take all the beating. Forgiving Kalashnikov’s last run which was too bad to be true I think he’s the biggest danger.

    2.50 Mr Whitaker
    Although he’s a stone heavier than last year’s win at the festival, his course form is 2nd to none and the step up in trip could be what is needed

    3.30 Laurina
    Could be the race of the week. Apple’s Jade has easily produced the best form so far this season but there are doubts about her course form. However it would be no suprise to see her romp home if she can run up to form
    I think BVD has it all to do giving 7lbs to the 2 mares and this is his toughest test in 3 years.
    Laurina has a good bit to find on the form book but she’s unbeaten, done what she’s had to do easily and is very highly thought of by Willie Mullins and when you consider his recent form in this race that’s good enough for me.
    I’ve only had a modest bet on her.

    4.10 BDD should win but either Limini or Roksana look decent ew bets

    4.50 Riders on the Storm
    I’ve had this one backed for a few weeks as he’s been layed out for it. Slightly concerned by ground changing as this distance will test his stamina to the fullest.

    5.30 Discorama
    This horse will stay longer than the mother in law and was unlucky lto when falling at the last when in contention against Ballyward
    Compensation awaits

    BOL

    • ray_ez 4 months ago

      Terrific shout bud. Thank you. Out to 6’s to

    • getinthere 4 months ago

      Well done DC 👍

    • jimba 4 months ago

      Well done DC 👍

    • double carpet 4 months ago

      Cheers guys. Always nice to get the first one in.
      Impressive win 👍👍

    • buzzer 4 months ago

      Well in The old Walsh and Mullins duo strike again

    • getinthere 4 months ago

      And well done on itchy feet 👍

    • double carpet 4 months ago

      Cheers guys 👍

  2. elvis parsley 4 months ago

    Placepot
    Mister fisher 16-1 + aramon 16-1.

    Glen forsa 9-2 + ornua 16-1.

    Mister Whittaker 8-1 + calipto 20-1 + vintage clouds 25-1.

    Buveur dair 11-4.
    Benie des dieux evens.

    Tower bridge 8-1 + a plus tard 13-2 + cubomania 14-1.

    36 lines

  3. elvis parsley 4 months ago

    Lucky 15
    2-10 Glen forsa 9-2
    3-30 Buveur dair 11-4
    4-10 Benie des dieux evens
    5-30 Ok corral 4-1

  4. elvis parsley 4 months ago

    Bonkers bet
    Champion hurdle
    Silver Streak 100-1 each way
    16-1 top 3
    6-1 top 4
    Won Welsh champion hurdle this season.
    Has beat verdana blue at Cheltenham this season and should turn over Cheltenham form with brain power this season on 4lb better terms.
    Just need the other 7 to have an off day 😁.
    Good luck and enjoy the spectacle 😎

    • double carpet 4 months ago

      Cracking shout Elvis

    • alanm 4 months ago

      Nice pick Elvis well done 100/1 3rd wow

    • chelseagirl 4 months ago

      MAGIC had a £1 e/w on it at 110/1 .PP. £5 e/w LADS at 80/1.

  5. sean ireland 4 months ago

    Going apple picking tomorrow

    Apples Jade 3.30 & Benie Des Dieux 4.10 @ 6/1 skybet price boost

  6. alanm 4 months ago

    Nap Buber D ‘Air 5/2
    Nb Al Dancer 9/2

    Good luck everyone and have a great Cheltenham

  7. maverick 4 months ago

    Apples Jade – NAP
    Glen Forsa – NB

    Woke this morning half an hour before my alarm and half day at work sorted 😁 let’s bring it on

    GL everyone let’s smash the bookies 👊

  8. maverick 4 months ago

    Quite like Vintage Clouds in the 2.50 this horse has had wind surgery since its last run and at 16/1 I’m putting this up as an E/W tip

    • double carpet 4 months ago

      Unlucky Mav with Vintage Clouds

    • maverick 4 months ago

      Had it ew mate so profit in that race at least it ran well but winner was too good today

  9. double carpet 4 months ago

    Anyone near Cheltenham that can give a weather update?
    We had some storm over here last night

  10. maverick 4 months ago

    DC the weather is “hold onto your hats”

    • double carpet 4 months ago

      Could be some fun and games Mav. I just hope it doesn’t spoil it

    • maverick 4 months ago

      Yeah I just said that to one of the lads I work with that the way the weather is going could ruin today’s racing and may leave certain races open to a big outsider causing an upset 🤦‍♂️ just hopefully not in my picks races lol

  11. hibee1 4 months ago

    Paloma blue 2.10 Cheltenham 12/1

    My one bet today. I know first hand his jumping has been worked on so fully expecting to see improvement, i am on at bigger prices ew but the 12/1 currently is still decent and worth taking.
    I am about an hour away from the course on the train now i will try to get back on to update you all with the weather.

    Next bet will be thursday. Good luck everyone.

    • maverick 4 months ago

      What happens to your Cheltenham preview you were going to put up Hibee1?

  12. neosam 4 months ago

    Morning lads
    On the way to Chelts for a cracking days racing. Lets hope we all get some winners!!!!

    Al dancer                1.30
    Mister fisher  ew    1.30
    Brandon castle ew 1.30
    Articulum ew 2.10
    Mister whitiker      2.50
    Coo star sivola ew 2.50
    Apples jade            3.30
    Benie des deux     4.10
    Walt          NAP      4.50
    Ok corral                5.30

  13. double carpet 4 months ago

    Meant to also say watch for Gavin Cromwells horses over the next few days at other courses. He’s landed a few gambles in the past during Cheltenham week.
    Runs 2 at Southwell today

  14. amateurhour 4 months ago

    Supreme Angels Breath 4/1 Vision D’Honneur 12/1 E/W
    Arkle- Duc De Generes 6/1 E/W
    Ultima SingleFarmPayment 16/1 E/W Vintage Clouds 25/1 E/W
    Champion H- Apples Jade 9/4
    Mares H- Benie Des Bieux 5/6
    Close Bros- A Plus Tard 6/1 E/W Cubomania 11/1 E/W
    National Hunt- Discorama 6/1 E/W Ok Corral 3/1

    • double carpet 4 months ago

      Well done with DDC

    • amateurhour 4 months ago

      Cheers I knew fin DDV won A plus tard would run a blinder also worked out!

  15. busstop.2018 4 months ago

    Morning All . Well done yesterdays winners. No bet myself stuck in car most of day.

    Great few days racing ahead at Cheltenham but a minefield for betting and just one bet there for me today.
    All eyes will be on Cheltenham but my main bets are at Sedgefield.

    CHELTENHAM

    15.30. .Apple Jade. .9/4

    SEDGEFIELD

    15.15.. .Lucarno Dancer. .100/30

    15.55. .Lady Kyria. .4/1

    16.35. .Imada. .7/4

    Have also done Theflickeringlight but will probably go off at slightly odds on.

    GL ALL

    • Mr Fixit 4 months ago

      Good luck – I reckon your tips are appreciated but remember 99.9 per cent of people who read them don’t comment.

    • Warrington wolf 4 months ago

      Exactly what mr fixit said. I will comment more often when i get the chance buss. Happy to see you back like everyone will be on here

  16. ew thief 4 months ago

    Morning all well done winners yesterday
    Fakir d oudaires 1.30 13/2
    Knocknanuss 2.10 22/1
    Royal vacation 2.50 33/1
    Sharjah 3.30 18/1
    Limini 4.10 9/1
    Springtown lake 11/1
    Impulsive star 5.30 14/1
    Ew singles & ew super hienz ☘️Be lucky all👍

  17. double carpet 4 months ago

    Going now officially soft

  18. Shayboy 4 months ago

    Changed my mind that many times lol

    However
    Hardline 210
    Apples jade 330
    Ok corral 530

    Today’s trixie

    Singlefarmpayment 250
    Good man pat
    Eachway singles and doubles

    Good luck all

  19. ew thief 4 months ago

    Away from cheltenham
    Fly true 1.45s 11/1
    Sonnetist 2.25s 20/1
    Bluella 4.25s 25/1
    Lean on Pete 5.00s 18/1
    Fire diamond 5.45w 20/1
    Beatbybeatbybeat 8.15w 18/1
    Ew singles & ew lucky 63 ☘️Gl all

  20. frankel 4 months ago

    1.30 Cheltenham Angel’s Breth@5/1, 2.25 Southwell Earl of Bunnacurry@7/2, 2.50 Cheltenham Beware the Bear@9/1, 4.50 Cheltenham A plus tard@5/1 e/w lucky 15,

    • frankel 4 months ago

      2 winners 10/1,5/1.

    • double carpet 4 months ago

      Nice going frankel

    • elvis parsley 4 months ago

      Excellent return mate 💰

    • jimba 4 months ago

      Well done bud👍

  21. uncle pom 4 months ago

    March -24

    Cheltenham
    13:30 al dancer 4/1 1pt win
    14:10 hardline 5/1 1pt win
    15:30 apples jade 2/1 2pt win
    17:30 ok coral 4/1 1pt win

    • maverick 4 months ago

      That’s the l15 I have on pom Haha put it on this morning and now I’ve seen you have just put up same 4 has increased my confidence 😁 gl m8

  22. Johnb 4 months ago

    The moment every Racing fan has been waiting for, no not Cheltenham but my day one selections,

    1:30
    9/2 ANGELS BREATH e/w

    2:10
    5/1 HARDLINE e/w
    20/1 KNOCKNANUSS e/w

    2:50
    8/1 MISTER WHITAKER e/w
    9/1 COO STAR SIVOLA e/w

    3:30
    3/1 LAURINA win
    9/4 APPLES JADE win
    Also reverse forecast

    4:10
    1/1 BENIE DES DIEUX win
    25/1 ELIMAY e/w

    4:50
    12/1 HIGHWAY ONE O ONE e/w
    11/1 SPRINGTOWN LAKE e/w

    5:30
    6/1 DISCORAMA e/w

    Placepot on first six races, 32 bets

    Race 1 (2)
    Race 2 (5-7)
    Race 3 (6-16)
    Race 4 (8-9)
    Race 5 (2-5)
    Race 6 (1-11)

  23. azzthewigan 4 months ago

    vision d honneur 1.30 Kalashnikov 2.10 magic of light 2.50 espoir d allan 3.30 bernie des dieux 4.10 highway one o one 4.50 jerrysback 5.30 well done all winners yesterday

    • elvis parsley 4 months ago

      Nice pick on espoir mate.
      How easy was that 😳

    • azzthewigan 4 months ago

      cheers elvis very easy nice ew from yourself to mate

  24. u2me413 4 months ago

    Thanks john have you 3 from across the meeting

  25. postman 4 months ago

    1:30 – Klassical Dream
    2:10 – Hardline
    2:50 – Up For Review
    3:30 – APPLES JADE (NAP)
    4:10 – Elimay (each way)
    4:50 – Good Man Pat
    5:30 – Atlanta Ablaze (each way)

    Good Luck Everyone, Enjoy.

    • Shayboy 4 months ago

      Good start Mr postman 👍

    • postman 4 months ago

      Thanks, Shayboy, a 6/1 winners means I won’t lose anything on day 1, whether I end up in front on the day remains to be seen.

  26. Macktheknife 4 months ago

    Hi Everyone

    My picks for today are Ew L15

    Hardline 2.10 Chel 5/1
    Laurina 3.30 Chel
    Roaring Bull 4.50 20/1
    Chef Des Obleaux 5.30 14/1

    Good luck to everyone

  27. jimba 4 months ago

    Good luck 🍀 everyone, main bet for me is apples jade and a couple of bob on Hibee1s tip👍

  28. double carpet 4 months ago

    A romp for Klassical Dream!!!!
    And itchy feet 3rd

    • dc john boy 4 months ago

      Cheers Double Carpet for Klassical Dream tip……don’t usually do horses but with skybet offer of money back in 1st race thought why not stick £20 on at 6/1

      Went for

      Apples Jade
      Mister Whittaker

      E/W Double for some afternoon interest

    • double carpet 4 months ago

      Nice one John boy 👍

  29. double carpet 4 months ago

    Just seeing KD win there Mullins has his pack in tip top shape at the right time.
    A bit more confident with Laurina now

  30. alanm 4 months ago

    Well doneD/C and postman great start.

  31. double carpet 4 months ago

    Tell ya what lads…..Just back Willie Mullins. Could have a 6 timer !!
    Hardline very disappointing 👎

  32. double carpet 4 months ago

    Starter doing my head in……full of his own importance

    • buzzer 4 months ago

      3 False starts in the 1st 3 races got to be some kind of record

  33. double carpet 4 months ago

    Ridiculous stuff from the starter

  34. double carpet 4 months ago

    I’d love to ram that yellow flag were the sun don’t shine

    • postman 4 months ago

      He will be watching the recording back this evening with his family saying ‘There I am did you see me’

      You would think we would have a better system in place in this day and age for getting races underway better than this.

  35. double carpet 4 months ago

    If he does it for the champion hurdle there will be uproar

  36. double carpet 4 months ago

    Unbelievable result. Thought it was a year too soon for him but he destroyed them

  37. maverick 4 months ago

    Terrible day so far probs my worst 1st day in years 🤦‍♂️

  38. buzzer 4 months ago

    Apart from the 1st I would say plenty of people are down is it too early to say Bookies 1 punters 0 ??

    • database 4 months ago

      in general, has to be a bookies day, Klassical Dream had lots of money on it this last week and many would’ve been on. I also have to believe anyone with half a brain would’ve been on A PLUS TARD, by market analysis, it was probably the hindsight banker of the day.

  39. double carpet 4 months ago

    FFS RUBY

  40. buzzer 4 months ago

    Ruby Walsh Smh Last fence Again!!

  41. maverick 4 months ago

    Ruby done it again FFS 🤦‍♂️

  42. Shayboy 4 months ago

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear feckin Walsh again

    • theplug 4 months ago

      its time mullins get rid of ruby ,not the jockey he use to be .backed benie in nearly all my bets ,all down the drain

  43. database 4 months ago

    looked a legit fall, how sickening though, was a banker for many.

    • theplug 4 months ago

      i agree with you 100% database it was a legit fall,but surely ruby had it in the back of his mind what had happened to anne power at the last fence ,and just let the horse pop over the hurdle and then just go all out .ruby walshis after falling off a lot of high profile horses the last couple of years.

  44. danger ranger 4 months ago

    Ruby the Muppet he done the exact same with Annie power he jumped way too early straight into the flight

  45. buzzer 4 months ago

    Poor day from Punters point of view But we can level it up tomorrow im fancying Gordon Elliott to have a good day:

    Battle over doyen

    Delta work

    Tiger roll

    Lethal steps

    Envoi Allen

  46. azzthewigan 4 months ago

    what horsemanship how did he even stop on jerysback

  47. chelseagirl 4 months ago

    Silver Streak is gonna be a great one. I know the owners daughter so she keeps me up to speed.Gonna ask her if they will ever run it in the GL.

  48. chelseagirl 4 months ago

    GN i mean.

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