Champions Day Betting Odds & Racecards

Tuesday - 15 March 2023
1.30: Ballymore Novices Hrd
Facile Vega 7/2 Bet365All Odds
2.10: Festival Novices Chase
The Nice Guy 6/1 UnibetAll Odds
2.50: Coral Cup
Camprond 14/1 UnibetAll Odds
3.30: Queen Mother Chase
Energumene 5/2 Bet365All Odds
4.10: Cross Country Chase
Delta Work 5/2 Bet365All Odds
4.50: Grand Annual Chase
Andy Dufresne 12/1 UnibetAll Odds
5.30: Champion Bumper
Demandrivingdouvan 12/1 UnibetAll Odds
2023 Champions Day Racecards - Day One Races

RACE 1: Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

It’s hard to pick a fault with APPRECIATE IT who has passed all 2020/21 tests with flying colours and the seven-year-old will run for a trainer in Willie Mullins who has an excellent record when it comes to the Supreme.

The horse will be favourite if it lines up on the day, having won the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown and the horse has strong Cheltenham credentials after finishing second in last year’s Bumper.

Ballyadam finished second to Appreciate It last time out and perhaps the Gordon Elliott-trained charge will have the most opposition here, while Metier hasn’t put a foot wrong and there could be money for the Harry Fry challenger who is a backable each-way price.
PREDICTION: Appreciate It

RACE 2: Arkle Chase

On the basis that Envoi Allen won’t line up in this race, it appears as though Shishkin will be sent off as the short-priced favourite and we witnessed the Nicky Henderson-trained charge oblige with a victory in the 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

Since then, the seven-year-old has taken well to the bigger obstacles and there has been a facile double at Kempton Park before another win at Doncaster at the end of January, although this will be a far stiffer test of his credentials.

We’re prepared to take a chance on ENERGUMENE who actually boasts an unbeaten record in his career so far, with the horse recently winning the Irish Arkle Novice Chase which was a Grade 1 encounter and trainer Willie Mullins will have high hopes of a repeat win.

Allmankind has won his past three races and will take plenty of each-way money, while Klassical Dream is set to make his seasonal debut in the Arkle and has previously been a Festival winner.
PREDICTION: Energumene

RACE 3: Ultima Handicap Chase

The first handicap race of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival is typically wide open, with Escaria Ten potentially going off as favourite although one wonders if he would be such a short price if Gordon Elliott wasn’t the trainer.

The horse finished well down the pecking order in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle and preference is given to DICKIE DIVER who recently came back after a two-year absence to finish second in a handicap chase at Newbury.

Previous to his injury, the horse finished fourth in the 2019 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and there is every chance we could see a big showing on Day One of the Festival, while Jerrysback is the other horse that could run well depending on a recent showing at Kempton.
PREDICTION: Dickie Diver

RACE 4: Champion Hurdle

The 2023 Champion Hurdle promises to be an intriguing encounter and there are two mares who head the betting, with last year’s winner Epatante bidding to score a double, although the Nicky Henderson-trained horse had her colours lowered in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle.

It means that Honeysuckle is now the market leader and last year’s Mares Hurdle winner was a hugely impressive winner of the Irish Champion Hurdle, with a ten-length victory highlighting that the Henry de Bromhead horse might take all the beating.

Silver Streak is available at a much bigger price and the horse lowered the colours of Epatante in that Christmas Hurdle, having previously finished second in the Unibet International Hurdle.

However, we’re going for SONG FOR SOMEONE at a much bigger price and it’s a surprise that Tom Symonds-trained horse is available at such backable odds considering his achievements to date this season.
PREDICTION: Song For Someone

RACE 5: Mares Hurdle

With Honeysuckle virtually certain to compete in the Champion Hurdle, it leaves a big gap in the market and CONCERTISTA is going to be sent off as the short price favourite, with Willie Mullins looking to score in this race as the Irish handler normally does.

After winning the Mares’ Novices Hurdle last year, the horse returned to the track at Fairyhouse at the end of November to secure victory in a Grade 2 Mares Hurdle, while there was another victory at the end of the year to cement her claims for this race.

Even so, Benie Des Dieux could be relatively tough to beat and we shouldn’t forget that the horse was sent off as the 4/6 favourite for this race last year when being beaten by Honeysuckle.

Roksana also has a chance and will run for trainer Dan Skelton, with the horse running to within two lengths of Paisley Park in the Long Walk Hurdle and it will be interesting to see whether she can show a turn of foot up the Cheltenham hill.
PREDICTION: Concertista

RACE 6: Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

You can make a case for any number of runners in this race and that includes Saint Sam who has looked the part in all three of his outings this season, finishing second to Quilixios in a Spring Juvenile Hurdle recently.

We should expect Willie Mullins to have this horse firing on all cylinders and the same can be said of Adagio who runs for David Pipe and will be bidding to land a third consecutive win after previous triumphs at Cheltenham and Chepstow.

However, Adagio had his colours previously lowered by DUFFLE COAT in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle back in November and we’re keen on the chances of the Gordon Elliott-trained charge who could well fit the bill come the Festival.

RACE 7: National Hunt Chase

GALVIN was beaten into second at the Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap Chase at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, although the Gordon Elliott-trained charge has secured a string of victories this season and there was everything to like about a recent win in a Novices’ Chase over three miles.

The fact that the horse produced the goods at Cheltenham ticks another box, with Royale Pagaille potentially the biggest danger in the race and Venetia Williams has a big contender on her hands through the ownership of Rich Ricci.

In the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Handicap Chase, he made short work of the field to win by sixteen lengths and looks a genuinely good each-way bet, although slight preference is for Galvin based on overall form.

Cheltenham Day 1 Betting Trends

There’s nothing quite like picking a winner in at the Cheltenham Festival. The level of competition in each of the races means that doing so is no easy task but there are plenty of stats and trends to go on.

Here’s a look at the key information to consider for every race on Day 1 of the Festival to help point you in the direction of some value bets and some winners.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

The Cheltenham Festival kicks off with one of the big races for novice hurdlers. Many stars over both hurdles and fences have taken in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle during their careers and its nature means that it is very much a race for younger horses.

It’s extremely rare for the winner to be anything other than five or six. There is only ever a few horses aged seven and older entered into the Supreme and there hasn’t been a winner younger than five since 1999.

Current form has been more important than course form. Of the last 12 winners, 10 came into the race on the back of a win but only five had any previous experience of Cheltenham. Winning over the 2m½f trip before is a major plus as is at least one attempt at Grade 1 level.

This is a tough race for punters, with only two winning favourites in 10 years and five winners at 9/1 or longer in the same time.

Arkle Trophy

After a novice’s race for hurdlers comes a novice’s race for chasers in the shape of the Arkle Trophy. This 2m chase contains 13 fences and is a test of both speed and jumping as several recent winners have gone on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

As novices all of the runners have room for improvement but the bookies already know a lot about horses of this calibre. Winners over 9/1 are very rare and five of the last eight winners were the favourites and each of them went off at odds-on. The likelihood of winning favourites has no doubt increased since the introduction of the JLT Novices’ Chase in 2011 reduced the number of runners who go to post in the Arkle.

Six and seven-year-olds are bang in the sweet spot in terms of age but previous top class form is the most important element. 17 of the last 20 winners had won at Grade 2 level or above with the Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown providing three of the last four winners.

Ultima Handicap Chase

The first handicap of the Cheltenham Festival, the Ultima Handicap Chase is exactly the sort of highly competitive race that racing fans would hope for. Coo Star Sivola’s win as the favourite was the seventh time in the last 12 years that the winner came from inside the top three in the betting but in the same time winners have gone in at 50/1, 33/1 and 28/1.

The variety in prices of recent winners is matched by the range of weights carried by those winners. Generally though punters want to focus on horses carrying less than 11st 4lb, whilst seven and eight-year-olds have won seven of the last 10 renewals.

Champion Hurdle

The Champion Hurdle is the feature race of the first day. It’s a 2m chase which pits the fastest and most powerful hurdlers in racing against one another so it always takes a top class performance to win.

It’s not surprising then that favourites have a good record with five wins in the last eight years. It’s not unknown for horses outside of the top three in the betting to win but only if they have previously shown some really high class form.

All of the last 20 winners had at least raced in a Grade 1 with only three of that number failing to win at the top level. Winning five times or more is the bare minimum for a Champion Hurdler whilst winning form coming into Cheltenham is highly desirable.

The last 10 renewals have seen an equal split between British and Irish runners. In fact, Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson have a remarkable eight wins from 10 between them.

Mares Hurdle

The 2m4f Mares Hurdle is open to mares aged four and older. This Grade 1 has been on an upward trajectory since being introduced in 2008 and is now a top target for the leading mares in racing.

The organisers have Quevega to thank for much of the increase in stature of the Mares Hurdle as she won it an incredible six years on the trot. The Willie Mullins-trained mare’s dominance and the youth of the race does cloud the trends a little as she was the favourite for each of her wins.

Since Quevega’s last triumph, only one favourite, Vroum Vroum Mag, has obliged punters, with the other winners having come in at 9/2, 7/2 and 6/1 so it’s hardly a race for outsiders. Irish dominance goes beyond Quevega too, as well over 100 British runners have resulted in just one win and a handful of places.

Take Quevega’s later wins out and the age profile comes down considerably so five, six and seven-year-olds are favoured. In terms of previous form, look to the Mares’ Series Hurdles run at various courses, especially the Mares Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Doncaster Mares Hurdle.

Novices Handicap Chase

Trainers of impressive novice chasers get the chance to bag a healthy prize fund in the Novices Handicap Chase. It’s a demanding 4m contest with 24 fences in running and the picture is further complicated by the fact that it’s only open to amateur jockeys.

Not all amateur riders are equal though so the booking of an experienced jockey is a big plus for this historic Grade 2. Quality seems to tell more than a good handicap rating as the last 12 winners have all carried at least 11st 6lb and the last eight races have provided three winning favourites.

Younger horses struggle as all but two of the last 12 winners were aged between seven and 10, with the lower end of that scale proving most successful.

Centenary Novice Handicap

We end with a Listed handicap chase run over 2m4½f for five-year-olds and up. Four of the last seven winners came from the top three in the betting but Hunt Ball is the only winning favourite since 2007.

Make sure to back horses with an official rating of between 132-140 and who are carrying no more than 11st 7lb (Hunt Ball is the only winner in 12 outside those parameters). It’s necessary to have a minimum of three runs in the season and six and seven-year-olds have won nine of 12 renewals.

Day One Races Tips - Champions Day Predictions

The first day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival is Tuesday 12th March and after almost 12 months of waiting horse racing fans need wait no longer – Cheltenham is here!

Day One of the Festival is otherwise known as Champion Day and things truly start with a bang, with an impressive four Grade Ones, including the feature race of the opening day, the Champion Hurdle.

For those betting on the Cheltenham Festival, getting off to a good start and landing a winner or two on the first day is just as important as it is to the jockeys and trainers. A few winning bets on Tuesday can set you up nicely for the rest of the week and so we take a look at Day One’s races and offer up our predictions and Cheltenham betting tips to help you on your way.

There is no other place to start than the first Championship contest of Cheltenham 2023, the Champion Hurdle, which gets underway at 15.20. Hurricane Fly won this one in 2011 and 2013, whilst the mighty Istabraq was victorious in 1998, 1999 and 2000. This time around the betting is dominated by Faugheen, with best odds of 5/4 currently available, whilst The New One is offered at 3/1 ahead of last year’s winner Jezki at 6/1 and Hurricane Fly, the other main contender, at betting odds of 8/1. We predict Hurricane Fly can have one last Cheltenham hurrah and at odds of 8/1 we think the Willie Mullins-trained bay is a great each way bet.

Probably the second biggest race of the opening day of the Festival is the Arkle Challenge Trophy (to give it its full name). The class of contests and horses at Cheltenham is just remarkable and we predict this one will be a thrilling renewal, with Un De Sceaux going off at betting odds of just 4/7, but horses such as Vautour and Vibrato Valtat are both just about capable of upsetting those odds.

The very first race of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival – yet another Grade One – is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and when it sets off at 1.30 the Cheltenham Roar will mark the start of the Festival. That roar will get even louder if Douvan, the favourite, can win, but we predict L’ami Serge, the second favourite, will be the one to deliver the goods and the Irish five-year-old with the French name is one of our top betting tips of the day.

The final Grade One of the opening day of Cheltenham 2023 takes place at 16.00 and is the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, open to fillies and mares only. Willie Mullins’ remarkable Quevega won this one six years in a row but is now retired, with another Mullins animal, Annie Power, the clear favourite this time out. At odds of around evens the Irish mare is likely to prove unstoppable with Ruby Walsh on board and we predict it will be another simple success for Mullins in this one.

Providing betting tips for the remaining races on the first day of the Festival is somewhat more difficult as we move to bigger fields for three handicaps. The first of those is the Festival Handicap Steeple Chase and with 19 fences to clear over a distance in excess of three miles, stamina will be crucial here. Foxrock, Ned Stark and If In Doubt are the early leaders in the ante post betting but with all three close to double digit odds it may be advisable to watch the market on the day before opting for some each way bets.

The same can probably be said about the Toby Balding National Hunt Steeple Chase at 16.40 and the final race of Cheltenham’s first day, the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase. Both are hugely difficult to predict so our betting tips here are to exercise prudence and moderation, betting traits, rather than horses, with a few smaller each way bets being the best option to preserve your Day One Cheltenham profits ahead of Day Two of the Festival.

Day 1 - Cheltenham