Cheltenham day 1 tips: The best bets for Tuesday at the Festival
Cheltenham Day 1 tips
The 2023 Cheltenham Festival is here and we have taken a look through the Cheltenham betting to analyse every single race on day one of the Prestbury Park showpiece.
The highlight of the opening day is the Champion Hurdle where Constitution Hill is the shortest-ever favourite in the history of the race, while the action gets under way with two red-hot novice contests over both fences and hurdles.
Here we pick out some Cheltenham day 1 tips for the opening salvos of the Festival.
It looks an open edition of the Festival curtain raiser and despite Willie Mullins holding a typically strong hand with Facile Vega and his Leopardstown conqueror Il Etait Temps, a chance is worth taking on HIGH DEFINITION.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge was once the favourite for the Derby when trained on the Flat by Aidan O’Brien and could have too much class for the opposition here if putting it all together over obstacles.
👀 High Definition delivers over hurdles
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) December 26, 2022
Although lacking a touch of experience in this sphere, he was a regular at the highest level on the Flat and could gallop his rivals into submission if getting an easy time on the front end like he did in his hurdles bow at Leopardstown over Christmas.
The first novice chase of the week has produced a barnstormer of a clash as Jonbon and El Fabiolo renew their rivalry having already fought out a thriller over hurdles at Aintree last season.
However, DYSART DYNAMO led them along at a fare pace in the Irish Arkle last month, putting his rivals’ jumping under severe pressure throughout and forcing many mistakes from those in behind.
His stamina failed to last home over two miles and one furlong at Leopardstown when hunted down late on by his stablemate El Fabiolo, but this contest is a furlong shorter over a speedier circuit and there is every chance Danny Mullins conjures up one of his front-running specials to cause a slight upset.
This race has gone to the Brits every year since 2006 and it is INTO OVERDRIVE who could prove best placed to continue his brilliant season.
Mark Walford’s charge won his final three starts of last term and extended that winning run at Wetherby on his first outing of the current campaign.
Warp speed ahead! 🚀
Into Overdrive gets the better of Sounds Russian to win the William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase 🥇#ITVRacing | #ChristmasFestival | @WetherbyRaces | @HamiltonJamie1 | @mwalfordracing pic.twitter.com/Etiw64RbqC
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) December 26, 2022
Although he had to settle for second behind the high-class L’Homme Presse in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle in November, he quickly regained the winning thread when holding off the Gold Cup-bound Sounds Russian in the Rowland Meyrick on Boxing Day.
He has been off the track since and will arrive at Prestbury Park fresh as paint off a mark which may still underestimate his full potential.
The opening day feature could resemble a coronation procession as CONSTITUTION HILL is backed to follow up his imperious display in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago and add a second Festival victory.
Nicky Henderson has won the Champion Hurdle more than any other trainer, but there is a fair chance that his unbeaten six-year-old could be the best of the bunch to canter up the Seven Barrows gallops.
He has brushed top-class opposition aside with real authority in both the Fighting Fifth and Chrismas Hurdle this season – to such extent that stablemate and former Champion Hurdle winner Epatante isn’t bothering to challenge her esteemed colleague for a third time.
State Man could prove his sternest test to date, but it is fully expected that Constitution Hill is crowned Champion with the minimum of fuss and with a performance that transcends him from the racecourse to the back pages.
Quite possibly the race that steals the show on the opening day and there will not be a dry eye in the house if Honeysuckle heads off to retirement by winning at the Festival for the fourth time.
However, with connections resisting the temptation to move up to three miles, it is hard to go against the defending champion MARIE’S ROCK.
Henderson’s charge was a very good winner of this last year and proved that victory was no fluke by beating top-class opposition at the Punchestown Festival the following month and a field that included reopposing former Champion Hurdler Epatante.
The Middleham Park Racing-owned eight-year-old showed blistering speed when a commanding victor of the Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day and now returns to the Festival on a four-race winning run and still with a very upwardly mobile profile.
Marie's Rock steams to the win in the Careers At https://t.co/PZdmWEedus Relkeel Hurdle
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) January 1, 2023
Epatante and Theatre Glory are others representing Seven Barrows, while Mullins saddles three in what really is one of the hottest heats of the whole week.
A typically competitive renewal and it is almost impossible to decipher who has been keeping their cards to their chest all season ready to play their trump card on the big day.
However, a key reference point in recent years has been the juvenile hurdle run at Naas which has been won by Band Of Outlaws, Aramax and Brazil before following up at Prestbury Park.
Sir Allen was the winner of that contest this time around, with Thomas Mullins’ Morning Soldier and the well-fancied Byker finishing second and third respectively.
All three have solid claims once again, but a chance is taken on the fifth in that contest, Paul Nolan’s METAMORPHEUS.
This race has been on the four-year-old’s radar ever since making his hurdling bow for Tim Doyle in December and the plan hasn’t changed one bit since switching stables to Nolan.
A strong stayer and sound jumper, he won’t mind if conditions prove testing on the opening day and he is backed to be doing his best work late, staying on past beaten rivals.
The final race on day one went to Willie Mullins and son Patrick 12 months ago and it is difficult to bet against them once again in our Cheltenham day 1 tips.
Their GAILLARD DU MESNIL has placed at the last two festivals in Grade One contests and ticks all the right boxes for this stamina-testing assignment.
A classy operator, he is officially 8lb clear of his nearest rival on official figures, and can be expected to confirm that superiority on course where the seven-year-old will complete his preparation for a tilt at the Randox Grand National next month.
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