Guide to The Cheltenham Festival Day 1 – Key Betting Angles

Cheltenham Champion Hurdle 2018

It’s finally here, the Cheltenham Festival 2019 kicks off with Champion Day. With seven top-class races, five of which on ITV Racing, it’s going to be a stellar days racing and that famous Cheltenham Roar will kick it all off as the tapes go back for the Supreme.

We have runner by runner previews for each race at the Festival with selections to go alongside them, so check back each afternoon to see our Cheltenham previews for the next day go on site.

Grade 1 Races

At Cheltenham, every race is key, but the biggest race of the day is the Champion Hurdle. Buvuer D’Air bids for a third win in the race, but there are a host of challengers including Apple’s Jade and Laurina, which make this year’s contest a fascinating affair.

The Festival kicks off with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and it looks the most competitive in years, with the market currently undecided between both Al Dancer and Angels Breath, who run in the colours of Walters Plant Hire.

The Arkle follows and it’s a very open looking contest. Hardline has been backed off the boards since the race came down, with Glen Forsa heading to the front of the market after jumping Kalashnikov silly at Sandown last time.

The final Grade 1 action comes in the form of the Mares’ Hurdle, with Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh looking to continue their domination in the race with the short-priced Benie Des Dieux, who won the contest twelve months ago.

NAP Of The Day

Our Nap Of The Day comes in the biggest race of them all, with Buvuer D’Air carrying the flag for us in the Champion Hurdle. The winner of this race for the past two years, plenty has been made about the form of those races, but that seems very harsh to me.

He simply loves it around here and barring a minor blip at Kempton in Christmas, he’s won nine out of his last ten races. He’s a fantastically genuine horse who won’t shy out of a battle and with conditions ideal for him, he can bring the house down with a third success in the race.

Outsider To Watch

Third in the Ultima Handicap Chase twelve months ago, Vintage Clouds returns to the contest looking to go two places better this year. A ground versatile sort whose strong suit is stamina, he’ll relish the test in this race once again.

He was last seen pulling up in the Welsh National, but it’s easy to forgive that effort and prior to it, he was a gutsy winner at Haydock when scoring off a big weight.

He’s had wind surgery since we last saw him, which is very interesting, and he looks overpriced to run a big race for Sue Smith and Danny Cook.

Longest Traveller

Nick Alexander has sent Lake View Lad the 358-mile trip down to Cheltenham to contest the Ultima Handicap. He arrives on a roll, but an eight-pound rise for his latest victory demands another big performance from him today.

Weather Outlook

With rain hitting the track in the days leading up to the first day, the ground was declared Good to Soft, Soft in Places earlier this morning. That, however, is unlikely to stay, with rain forecast throughout the morning at Prestbury Park.

That should tip the going over to Soft all over, which would make the first day’s racing more of a stamina test. Thankfully, with all the key protagonists in the Champion Hurdle proven on soft, it won’t detract from a cracking feature contest on the first day.

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