Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips – Day one through the card

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips. Through the card selections for day one.Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips. Through the card selections for day one.

Brian Healy gives his Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips as he assesses the day one racecard for the ‘greatest show on turf’.

The day is finally here as the Cheltenham Festival kicks off on Tuesday with a top-class seven-race card featuring the Champion Hurdle. Months of preparation and anticipation ahead of ‘tapes up’ on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle comes to a head as the annual war between punters and bookies over four unmissable days gets underway.

1:30 – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f
2:10 – Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m
2:50 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m1f
3:30 – Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f
4:10 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f
4:50 – Northern Trust Company Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 (5yo+ 0-145) 2m4f
5:30 – National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m6f

In addition to the feature Champion Hurdle and the curtain-raising Supreme Novices’ Hurdle there is also further Grade One action with the Arkle Challenge Trophy and the Mares’ Hurdle both also featuring on an excellent first day racecard.

The ITV Racing cameras will be in attendance for all four days of the Festival and will cover the first five races of the day one racecard; while Brian Healy assesses the first day of top-class horse racing action and gives his Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips for all seven races.

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TUESDAY TIPS AT A GLANCE

1.30 – FIDDLERONTHEROOF (6/1, Bet365)
2.10 – NOTEBOOK (11/4, Paddy Power)
2.50 – DISCORAMA (8/1, Ladbrokes)
3.30 – CILAOS EMERY (7/1, Unibet)
4.10 – BENIE DES DIEUX (4/5, William Hill)
4.50 – BEAKSTOWN (14/1, William Hill)
5.30 – CAREFULLY SELECTED (13/8, Unibet)

1:30 – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f


With the going likely to be soft it might be worth chancing on FIDDLERONTHEROOF to upstage more fancied rivals and get the Cheltenham Festival Tuesday off to a perfect start for trainer Colin Tizzard.

The Stowaway gelding showed progressive form in bumpers when trained in Ireland prior to joining this yard, finishing third or better in his three starts which include a defeat of The Big Getaway at Navan last March.

Colin Tizzard’s charge has continued his progress since switching to hurdles, twice finishing runner-up on ground that possibly didn’t suit in starts at Chepstow and Wincanton; but faced with more testing conditions he has won both starts since which includes an impressive Tolworth Hurdle win. His Irish bumper win also came in soft ground so he’s clearly relishes the mud.

The bare form of his Tolworth Hurdle win perhaps isn’t the strongest, but he’s certainly one open to improvement and he’ll relish these conditions. The way he stormed up the hill at Sandown for his Grade One success last time was impressive and every chance he can make his presence felt here.

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips. Fiddlerontheroof can win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips. Fiddlerontheroof can win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

2:10 – Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m


NOTEBOOK has already won two Grade One races this term and Henry de Bromhead’s charge can continue his rapid ascent to the top of the tree with another win here.

The Samum gelding is unbeaten over fences in four starts, stepping up on his Punchestown chase debut win to beat Moon Over Germany in a Grade Two contest at the same venue. He has since beaten both Fakir D’oudairies and Cash Back – who both reoppose – in successive Leopardstown Grade One outings.

The latest of those was all the more creditable given he bolted before the start and ran keen early; but he had enough in reserve to hold off the runner-up and still with the potential for better he should be firmly in the mix.

2:50 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m1f


DISCORAMA finished runner-up in an attritional National Hunt Chase on this day twelve months ago and Paul Nolan’s charge can go one better in this competitive handicap contest.

The Saddler Maker gelding has now finished runner-up at successive Festivals, also claiming the silver medal in the 2018 Martin Pipe Hurdle. Having won his chase debut at Naas last season, he was only beaten a half-length by Le Breuil here in the National Hunt Chase. He then bagged another runner-up effort behind Delta Work when tried in Grade One company.

He’s run well this term, twice finishing in the frame and he ran better than the bare result when eighth in the Troytown Chase won by Chris’s Dream. His last outing saw him finish third to Easywork in a Limerick Hurdle on Boxing Day, but back over fences here he could make his presence felt.

Having had wind surgery and returning from a break he’ll be a fresh horse come Cheltenham Festival Tuesday and a mark of 148 certainly looks workable on the balance of his form to date. Effective in the ground and sure to see out the trip it wouldn’t shock to see him involved at the business end.

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips. Discorama can win the Ultima Handicap Chase.

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips. Discorama can win the Ultima Handicap Chase.

3:30 – Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m½f


This looks a wide open renewal with no stand out stars and it might be worth chancing CILAOS EMERY to come out on top and give trainer Willie Mullins another Champion Hurdle victory.

The Califet gelding comes into this contest still relatively lightly raced following her Punchestown bumper win back in April 2016,and he is 3-4 over obstacles this term where his sole defeat came when falling over fences behind Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown in the Dublin Chase.

He showed no ill effects of that mishap when hacking up in a Grade Three contest at Gowran Park two weeks later, scoring by an easy nine lengths over Darasso to win the Red Mills Trial Hurdle where he wasn’t extended and connections wasted no time in supplementing him for the race.

Fifth in the 2017 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the Festival opener has a history of throwing up future Champion Hurdle winners from horses beaten in that contest. Buveur D’air and Jezki were both beaten in the curtain raiser before winning their Champion Hurdles in future years and there’s still time for Willie Mullins’ charge to follow suit.

Conditions will be ideal for the son of Califet and still unexposed as a hurdler he can post a big effort in the first of the Championship races taking place over the course of the Festival.

4:10 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f


A mouth-watering clash between the unbeaten Honeysuckle and defending champion BENIE DES DIEUX could turn out to be the race of the Festival. Narrow preference is for Willie Mullins’ star who can successfully thwart the challenge of Henry de Bromhead’s charge.

The Great Pretender mare suffered her only defeat to date when falling at the last in this race twelve months ago when clear and looking set to collect; clipping the top of the hurdle and crumpling on landing in shades of Annie Power’s similar defeat in the 2015 renewal of the same race.

Willie Mullins’ charge had won this race in 2018, following up with a Grade One success at Punchestown the following month. Her run here last year had been her first of the campaign, but she quickly struck further wins at Punchestown and Auteuil over the summer. She returned to blitz Penhill and others when making a successful return in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park back in January.

Hugely versatile over trip and ground, she has won at distances between two and three miles and on good and heavy ground so she won’t be inconvenienced by the demands of the race having down the road before.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge is sure to provide stiff opposition and is sure to improve to throw down a huge challenge if handling this track; but with proven form here already in the book it is Willie Mullins’ charge who gets the vote to come out on top.

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips. Benie Des Dieux can win a second Mares' Hurdle.

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday tips. Benie Des Dieux can win a second Mares’ Hurdle.

4:50 – Northern Trust Company Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 (5yo+ 0-145) 2m4f


BEAKSTOWN bumped into a couple of classy sorts in Mister Fisher and Good Boy Bobby here in the Ryman Novices’ Chase where he eventually finished third although he was beaten around 16 lengths.

The Stowaway gelding was a Grade Two winner over hurdles last term, winning the Leamington Hurdle prior to pulling up here in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle where he was possibly amiss.

He’s shaped well over fences to date, chasing home Sam Spinner on his chase debut at Wetherby before finishing ten lengths’ fourth to Champ at Newbury where he wasn’t helped by a bad mistake four out.

No match for his classy conquerers last time, he’s now tried in cheekpieces for this test and a mark of 139 looks workable with the potential to improve further. There is a suspicion he might want better ground than the surface he’ll get here; but he handles softer ground and has placed three times in the ground although his winning form has come on good ground.

Nevertheless, he could be worth chancing to find another chunk of improvement equipped with headgear and he can go well in a competitive contest for a yard which often targets the handicaps at the Festival.

5:30 – National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m6f

CAREFULLY SELECTED is unbeaten over fences and the Well Chosen gelding can extend his sequence to four straight wins in this contest.

Willie Mullins’ eight-year old was also a classy hurdler, winning at Limerick last March before finishing three lengths’ third behind Minella Indo in a Grade One at Punchestown on his final outing of the campaign.

He looked a chaser though, and his form has cranked up a notch; he’s scored a trio of wins which include a four lengths’ defeat of Forza Milan when last seen winning at Naas in Grade Three company. He had beaten City Island the time before at Punchestown and there’s surely more to come from him over the larger obstacles.

Despite making a bad mistake three fences out, he was back on terms and looking set to score in any case last time out before being left clear by the fall of Spyglass Hill two out and he finished off well for the win. He had jumped well the time before though and a clear round here would make him tough to beat given he has the potential for better still to come.