Tuesday Horse Racing Tips: Four bets for day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival

Racing TV Tipstar winner Dan Overall gives us his best bets on day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival
Racing TV Tipstar winner Dan Overall gives us his best bets on day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival

Recently crowned Racing TV Tipstar champion Dan Overall will be providing his valuable insight this week at the Cheltenham Festival, and he tackles day one of the National Hunt extravaganza with a quartet of tips...

14:10 - Arkle Challenge Trophy

Willie Mullins has won four of the past seven renewals of this race; three of those were odds-on, but Footpad & Duc Des Genievres’s victory prove it isn’t always a top-notcher that wins this for him.

Having looked booked for second in the Supreme when coming down at the last, BLUE LORD wasn’t a standout hurdler, but he made a seamless transition to fences, comfortably winning his first two starts and impressing with his accurate jumping.

His Irish Arkle success wasn’t visually spectacular, but that was a strongly run race and he proved himself under very different conditions to what he’d previously experienced over fences. That run will have taught him a lot and Riviere D’etel, who finished 2nd, is the benchmark for this division, although I believe that Blue Lord has more scope for improvement than the mare while he is also 2lbs better off with her.

With a strong-pace looking likely thanks to the likes of Magic Daze, Saint Sam, Riviere D’etel & Gabynako, Blue Lord will get a strong pace to aim at and I can see the race unfolding perfectly for him.

Arkle Challenge Trophy
Blue Lord silk

Blue Lord

Cheltenham Tips

14:50 - Ultima Handicap Chase

I’ve had FANTASTIKAS in mind for this race since his very creditable third in the Dipper; I hold a very strong view of that race and Fantastikas did superbly to go with L’Homme Presse over an inadequate trip, something few have managed to do.

That run in the Dipper backed up a respectable effort behind Threeunderthrufive in a Grade 2 having previously bolted up on his chase debut off a mark of 128, with the runner up franking that form.

His recent Lingfield victory was far more comfortable than the winning margin and it confirmed that his future certainly lies over staying trips. 

His mark of 144 is certainly workable, and as a progressive novice that races prominently, he has a very likeable profile for this race. Fantastikas was the first horse Nigel Twiston-Davies mentioned when asked “what’s your likeliest Cheltenham winner?” at the handicap weights reveal, and he certainly knows what is required to win a big Cheltenham handicap.

Ultima Handicap Chase
Fantastikas silk

Fantastikas (EW)


16:50 - Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

On his French form, Gaelic Warrior is extremely well treated, but I simply cannot back him at his current price given he’s coming up against twenty-one unexposed juveniles that could have plenty of improvement left in them.

One of those is HMS SEAHORSE, who has been progressing steadily over hurdles having debuted behind Pied Piper and Vauban. He backed that up by finishing three lengths behind The Tide Turns, who he reopposes on 9lbs better terms here, while Brazil was four lengths further back. He went one better on his third and final start over hurdles, beating a subsequent winner in the process.

Paul Nolan won this race back in 2005 and, interestingly, he hasn’t had a runner since; but he’s proven in recent years that he can certainly prime a horse for Cheltenham. Given the places on offer, I think he’s a good each way bet.

At a wild price, I will have a small bet on Swinging London for Olly Murphy. Having run two very eye-catching races in Ireland for Ellmarie Holden, he was purchased for £60,000 and I believe they always had the Boodles in mind. He won a weak race on his sole start for the yard, and while the form of that isn’t anything to shout about, he’s a strong traveller that should take well to this kind of race. At 40/1, I wouldn’t put you off.

Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
HMS Seahorse silk

HMS Seahorse (EW)


17:30 - National Hunt Chase

Since becoming a level-weights race back in 2010, the mean number of chase starts the winners of this race have had is 7.1; this is no ordinary novice chase – experience is crucial.

No winner has had less than three starts over fences, which would be a concern for Stattler. We have seen the likes of Ballyward and Carefully Selected fail to fire for Willie Mullins in recent years and having looked outstayed in last season’s Albert Bartlett (a poor renewal), looking quick over an intermediate trip on chase debut before winning in the style of a grinder next time, Stattler is a horse that perplexes me and one I am happy to oppose.

RUN WILD FRED is your archetypal winner of this; a second season novice with a high rating, achieved through a dominant win in the Troytown from a mark of 145. While that is his standout performance, he ran with plenty of credit behind Fury Road in Grade 1 company last time out and this thorough test of stamins looks sure to suit.

The booking of Jamie Codd must be considered a real sign of intent given his rather frosty relationship with Gigginstown in recent years.

National Hunt Chase
Run Wild Fred silk

Run Wild Fred

Cheltenham Free Bets
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