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The four biggest days racing in the National Hunt season, the Cheltenham Festival, will take place from the 12th to the 15th of March 2019, with runner by runner previews for all twenty-eight races featured in our comprehensive Cheltenham Festival tips.
The opening day is arguably the best card of the week. The Cheltenham Festival roar to kick off the Supreme Novices' Hurdle is always spine-tingling, with the 2019 edition of the race looking wide open at present, Nicky Henderson's Angels Breath on top of the market. The Arkle looks one of the most wide-open editions in years, with no stand out contender, though Lalor would be the storybook winner for Kayley Woollacott. Buveur D'Air will look to put his reverse in the Christmas Hurdle behind him as he bids for a hat-trick of wins in the Champion Hurdle, a feat that would put him amongst the greats.
Wednesday's feature is the Champion Chase, where Altior will be bidding to win at the Cheltenham Festival for the fourth year in a row. He is a superstar and no surprise to see him the shortest-priced favourite of the week. The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle starts the card with Champ and Battleoverdoyen - both shaping as potential future stars - clashing. Future Gold Cup winner credentials are on the line in the RSA, a race won by Denman, Bob's Worth and Lord Windermere before going on to land the Blue Riband, Santini heads the market despite his defeat in the Kauto Star Chase at Kempton over Christmas.
Day three holds a double feature with both the Stayers' Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase on the menu. The latter may be a new edition to the Cheltenham Festival agenda but it has quickly justified its place with winners of the quality of Vautour. Another open Grade 1, the potential clash of Min and Waiting Patiently would be one of the races of the week if both turn up. Penhill will bid to land back to back runnings of the Stayers' Hurdle and land a victory at this meeting for the third year in a row.
The Cheltenham Festival closes with Gold Cup day on the Friday. The 'Blue Riband' of the National Hunt season, no horse has won back to back editions since Best Mate landed his third in 2004, a task that lies ahead of Native River. Both Kemboy and Clan Des Obeaux announced themselves as contenders over Christmas and as another Grade 1 without a standout contender this year, it could be one of the most open Cheltenham Festivals on record.