Best Bets for Day One of Cheltenham Festival

Best Bets for Day One of Cheltenham Festival

Day one of the Cheltenham Festival is many racing fans’ favourite racecard of the season in the sport. Not only does it include the Champion Hurdle, the premier hurdle contest of the year, but there are three other Grade One races in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, Arkle Trophy and Mares’ Hurdle.

Here is a look at the best bets for day one of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

Ballyburn – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Evens

Irish Champion Trainer Willie Mullins has an impressive string of novice hurdlers this season, and at the top of his pecking order appears to be Ballyburn. He looks set to feature in the opening race of the meeting where he is available at evens for those placing Cheltenham bets on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

The Cheltenham race results show Mullins has won the Festival curtain-raiser a record seven times. He often saddles his best hurdlers in this race, rather than over a further distance later in the week.

Ballyburn could not have been any more impressive when he won a Grade One contest over 2m at the Dublin Racing Festival. He can get Ireland off to an excellent start to the meeting on day one.

Il Etait Temps – Arkle Challenge Trophy – 7/2

Last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Marine Nationale heads the betting for the 2024 Arkle Challenge Trophy, but he was well beaten by Il Etait Temps when the pair met in the Irish Arkle at the Dublin Racing Festival. The latter finished the race strongly to land the Grade One contest.

Il Etait Temps was a Grade One winner last season over hurdles, but he appears to have taken a big step forward as a chaser. He made a winning start over fences at Thurles back in November, scoring by just over four lengths. Mullins’ runner then finished second behind his stablemate Gaelic Warrior in the Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick.

The six-year-old is likely to be the choice of jockey Paul Townend in the race. The pair can confirm the form with Marine Nationale and give Mullins a second consecutive triumph in this race.

Love Envoi – Mares’ Hurdle – 16/1

If Lossiemouth lines up in this year’s Mares’ Hurdle, she’ll be the horse to beat. However, after her impressive performance in the International Hurdle, she is much more likely to take her chance to take on the defending champion Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle.

Love Envoi chased Lossiemouth home in the International Hurdle earlier this year in what was a decent run. She was also runner-up behind Honeysuckle in the Mares’ Hurdle in 2023.

Harry Fry’s hurdler is a consistent horse who already has a Cheltenham Festival success, as she won the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle in 2022. Without Lossiemouth in this race, it is an open contest, and she would be a big player, despite her odds of 16/1 suggest.

The final declarations for the opening days of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival will be announced on Sunday, 10th of March, with the meeting beginning just two days later on Tuesday, 12th of March.

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