Who Are The Cheltenham Festival Favourites on Day One? Which Horses Will Punters Be Backing?


The Cheltenham Festival favourites on day one will always be the focus for the bulk of punters. While, in contrast, these are the horses the bookmakers will want to see beaten. With that in mind – lets take a look at the likely favourites on the opening day at the Festival.

Who Are The Cheltenham Festival Favourites on Day One? Best Backed Horses

Tuesday 14th March, 2023

In 2022 we saw three Cheltenham Festival favourites win in the opening day, but how many will there be this year? There are several big Cheltenham bankers in action on Tuesday – including Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle.

Let’s take a look at which horses are likely to be the Cheltenham Festival favourites on day one.

1.30: Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle ITV1

FACILE VEGA @ 5/2 with BetUK

Flopped at the Dublin Racing Festival last time out but is still expected to be well supported for the curtain-raiser race. However, with 23 of the last 26 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle successful horses winning their last race, this would be a negative for Facile Vega. Last year’s Champion Bumper winner has also only raced three times over the sticks, which is another minus. As 14 of the last 19 winners had run at least 4 times over hurdles.

2.10: Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase ITV1

JONBON @ 6/4 with BetUK
@ 13/8 with BetUK

We could easily have joint favourites here. The bookies are finding it hard to split these Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson runners – who both bring perfect chase records to the table. Jonbon is 3-from-3 over the sticks, while El Fabiolo is unbeaten in two.

We last saw Jonbon making hard work of winning at Warwick – hitting a flat spot but stayed on well in the end to remain unbeaten. The stiff Cheltenham hill will suit and Jonbon beat El Fabiolo at Aintree last season which a lot of people will cling to.

El Fabiolo was impressive in winning the Irish Arkle last time out and has done nothing wrong in winning both starts over fences. Mullins also loves to win the Arkle – taking four since 2015.

It’s all set up to be a ‘must-see’ clash and might just come down fine lines. It’s anyone’s guess which one will go off as the actual favourite – maybe if the betting is to be believed it’ll be a dead-heat!

2.50: Ultima Handicap Chase ITV1


This race is one of the most competitive of the Festival so the Ultima Chase favourite might change a lot in the build-up. At this stages horses called Into Overdrive, Nassalam and last year’s winner – Corach Rambler – are popular in the betting. The last-named will be looking to do what Un Temps Pour Tout did in 2016 and 2017 when winning the race in back-to-back years.

3.30: Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy ITV1


Constitution Hill is likely to be the biggest Cheltenham banker of the meeting. This Nicky Henderson runner is bidding to make it 6-from-6 over hurdles and has been the warm order in the betting. He won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season at the Festival and if winning at 4/11 of shorter will become the shortest-priced Champion Hurdle winner in history.

4.10: Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle ITV1

MARIE’S ROCK @ 11/4 with BetUK

Honeysuckle,who won this race in 2020, had been favourite for the race, but has been overtaken in recent days by Marie’s Rock. This Nicky Henderson runner took this prize last year and after some talk of the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday connections have opted for this. As a result Marie’s Rock has shot into the favourites berth and it’s easy to see why. She’ll head to the race having won her last four now and at just 8 years-old looks to be at the peak of her powers.

4.50: Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle RTV

TEKAO @ 9/2 with BetUK

The Willie Mullins Cheltenham runner Tekao – is expected to be the favourite here. This 4 year-old will be trying to give popular owner JP McManus another win in the race after winning it last year. The horse was a fine third at Leopardstown last time out in a better race and with just 4 career runs should have more to come. He’s expected to go off at the Boodles favourite here, but the negative is that Willie Mullins runners are 0-17 currently.

5.30: NH Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase RTV


Gaillard Du Mesnil will be the market leader for the final race on day one. This Willie Mullins-trained 7 year-old isn’t the quickest, but that’s why he’s running over 3m6f here. His consistent profile has seen him finish in the top three in all 8 chase races – including a bronze in the 2022 Irish National. Those looking to take him on might lean towards the fact he’s actually only won once over fences though.

Note: Odds are subject to change

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The post Who Are The Cheltenham Festival Favourites on Day One? Which Horses Will Punters Be Backing? appeared first on Sportslens UK.

Source – sportlens.com

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