Cheltenham Festival 2022 Tips: Ed Quigley’s Best Bets for the Week
Our regular columnist Ed Quigley provides a whole host of Cheltenham Festival tips in his preview of the entire four-day extravaganza at the home of National Hunt racing.
Supreme Novices' Hurdle
What a renewal. Constitution Hill has looked the part and has oozed class in the Tolworth, but will have to prove he can do it on a much quicker surface. Jonbon is hard to weigh up and can get quite fizzy, but drying ground will be in his favour and it is probably a case of how well he handles the preliminaries in regards to deciding his fate. The unbeaten Dysart Dynamo has swaggered to victory twice over hurdles, but this free-going sort may not have everything his own way. MIGHTY POTTER would be my each-way selection. He is a Grade 1 winner and I think he will devour Cheltenham hill - staying and stamina won't be a problem for him.
Arkle Challenge Trophy
RIVIERE D'ETEL would be my selection. I think she would have beaten Blue Lord last time out if not for making a mess of the last. Blue Lord naturally has to come into the conversation, as does the long time antepost market leader Edwardstone who has bordering on flawless over fences so far this season, however his form figures at Prestbury Park read 556, so there have to be question marks about him. War Lord looks a strong stayer at the trip and is a smart jumper, so he could make the places at a bigger price.
Ultima Handicap Chase
CORACH RAMBLER is the one I have been keen on for a long time. Novices have an excellent record in this, with Coo Star Sivola, Un Temps Pour Tout, Holywell, and Wichita Lineman being novices in recent years to have got the job done. Off 140, he looks the each-way play for the Lucinda Russell team.
Honeysuckle should get the job done. Appreciate hasn't been seen since winning the Supreme 12 months ago by 24 lengths but if spot on then clearly has to be respected. For a betting angle, I would side with the David Pipe trained ADAGIO. A strong traveller, I imagine he will be in there pitching coming until two out and I think he will be in the mix. He would be my play in the 'without' markets.
TELMESOMETHINGGIRL won the Mares' Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival 12 months ago in emphatic fashion and she will be trained to the minute for this - I think she will take all the beating.
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Gaelic Warrior is all the rage, but I think drying ground could really suit the Joseph O'Brien-trained CHAMPION GREEN. His sire loved fast ground and he scooted clear at Naas last time out. I think a mark of 125 could underestimate him.
National Hunt Chase
I am two versus the field here; I am not totally convinced by Run Wild Fred or Stattler and think VANILLIER and PATS FANCY will both improve for extreme distances and look serious candidates.
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
This looks all about SIR GERHARD who I expect to be too good for his rivals here, upped in trip. I think the biggest threat could come from the horse who followed home Sir Gerhard at Leopardstown last time out, Three Stripe Life. I think he can show even more upped in distance but Sir Gerhard still edges it. Journey With Me could come into this if the forecast rain arrives, and at bigger prices I Am Maximus is no back number.
Brown Advisory Novices' Chase
BRAVEMANSGAME has been absolutely electric over fences and I think the Paul Nicholls representative can jump his rivals into submission here. Ahoy Senor and Capadanno look the biggest dangers, but Bravemansgame has the X-Factor and I expect him to have too much for his rivals.
CAMPROND would be one of my strongest fancies of the week as far as the handicaps go, and everything looks set-up perfectly for the Philip Hobbs runner. Cheltenham, drying ground, a step back up in trip look a lethal combination where I think he can offer more off a mark of 140.He hasn't been seen since finishing fourth in the Greatwood Hurdle - the form of which has worked out spectacularly well, and so I would disappointed if he wasn't at least involved in the each-way money at least.
Shishkin is one of the superstars of the jumping game and he will take all the beating. His battle against Energumene in the Clarence House Chase was one of the best races in years, and the rematch is eagerly anticipated. Chacun Pour Soi is the enigma who is yet to produce his best form on English soil, so connections will be hoping that a change in training routine may get him to bring his best form. The biggest danger may come from the Dan Skelton trained NUBE NEGRA who has a cracking record when fresh, and spring ground will really suit. He wasn't beaten all that far in this contest 12 months ago and he is my each-way angle. This could be the race of the week.
The Cross Country and The Champion Bumper I am happy to sit out, but will have a two-pronged attack in the Grand Annual. BUDDY RICH has been laid out for this all season and should be right in the thick of this with Davy Russell likely to be on board. ELIXIR DE NUTZ represents the Colin Tizzard team and looks a rejuvenated character - he also still looks well treated on the pick of his hurdles form, which included a Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle.
Nube Negra (EW)
Turners Novices' Chase
I would imagine you will be able to count the runners in this on one hand, but the mega-clash between BOB OLINGER and Galopin Des Champs could well be happening, and this could be absolute fireworks. My slight preference will be for the Henry De Bromhead trained star, but not with any great confidence in a race to just to sit back and enjoy.
DAME DE COMPAGNIE would be my selection if she lines up here. She hasn't shown much of her old spark lately, but goes well fresh, will enjoy the ground and is a previous Cheltenham Festival winner of the Coral Cup arriving off a 1lb lower mark. She is one of those lurking at a big price that could easily outrun her odds for the Nicky Henderson team.
It looks a fairly straightforward assignment on paper for Allaho, who should just have too much for his rivals. Last year's winner has maintained an unblemished record this season, and arrives here on the back of a destructive 12 length victory over Fakir D'Oudairies in a Grade 2. ELDORADO ALLEN jumped beautifully at Newbury last time out and I think he can make the frame for the Colin Tizzard team.
This is a race where I am not blown away by anything, and for one reason or another you can find faults with most of them. Things might just be falling in place for THYME HILL for the Philip Hobbs team. He missed the Cheltenham Festival 12 months ago through injury, and this could be the ideal time for him to strike.
Plate Handicap Chase
STOLEN SILVER ran a cracker here at the back end of last year when narrowly beaten by Editor Du Gite. The soft ground was all wrong for him at Wincanton last time out, but if conditions are drying out by Thursday he can run well - I think he is well handicapped off 144.
Mares' Novices' Hurdle
STATUAIRE would be a tentative each-way pick providing the ground has more "Good" in it than anything else.
Kim Muir Handicap Chase
JANIKA could be a bit of a forgotten horse; Rated 166 at his peak, he has been out of sorts, but has now dropped to a mark of 143 - he looks too well treated to ignore for the Nicky Henderson team
Dame De Compagnie
Eldorado Allen (EW)
Vauban, Pied Piper and Fil Dor all looking to play starring roles and the general consensus is that one of them will get the job done. I wouldn't be surprised if the Dan Skelton trained DOCTOR PARNASSUS served it up to the protagonists though. He absolutely dotted up in a minor event at Taunton in the manner of a very smart horse. The way in which he galloped clear from the back of the last flight made you sit up and take note. I don't think coming up the hill will be any issue for him.
WEST CORK has been deliberately kept fresh for this after suffering a minor setback at Ascot in December. That is a positive, and off 141 he has a terrific chance. The yard have a fantastic strike-rate in this race, and returning to the scene of his finest hour, he gets the nod from me.
Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
CLASSIC GETAWAY improved for his debut run and the application of a hood when winning a maiden hurdle at Punchestown last time out, he should have a lot more to offer over staying trips. I think this proper test of stamina could suit this unexposed sort.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
A Plus Tard has been beaten at the last two Cheltenham Festivals, but undoubtedly is a class act on his day - will the petrol light come on over this extended 3m2f? Nine out of ten times, stamina is the name of the game, and the Gordon Elliott trained Galvin looks primed for the occasion. He loves Cheltenham, devours the hill, and drying ground conditions should be perfect for him. Of the others, Protektorat is the unknown quantity in the line-up, and has been the subject of very bullish comments from connections in recent times.
For the remainder of the card, I think I will be leaving it closer to the time to be getting involved, but GIN ON LIME in the Mares' Chase is in the antepost column and shouldn't be overlooked.