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2024 Cheltenham Day 1 Tips - Best bets on Champions Day

jon-vine
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Last updated: 14 Mar 2024
Jon Vine 14 Mar 2024
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  • Final tips on day one of the Cheltenham Festival
  • This Champion Hurdle headlines the card at Cheltenham on Tuesday 12th March
  • Il Etait Temps, Irish Point and Embassy Gardens feature in our Cheltenham day one selections
cheltenham day one
Day one of the Cheltenham Festival. (Getty)
    Cheltenham Day 1 Tips
  • 1:30pm Cheltenham - Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips
  • 2:10pm Cheltenham - Arkle Challenge Trophy Tips
  • 2:50pm Cheltenham - Ultima Handicap Chase Tips
  • 3:30pm Cheltenham - Champion Hurdle Tips
  • 4:10pm Cheltenham - Mares' Hurdle Tips
  • 4:50pm Cheltenham - Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tips
  • 5:30pm Cheltenham - National Hunt Chase Tips

The 2024 Cheltenham Festival gets off to a flying start on Tuesday. Four Grade Ones will take place on Champions' Day, including the Champion Hurdle. Punters have got the Ultima and Boodles Handicaps to enjoy before the action ends with the National Hunt Chase.

Here's our best betting tips on day one of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Day 1 Tips - Tuesday 12th March


1:30pm Cheltenham - Supreme Novices' Hurdle Tips


With Ballyburn now running in the Gallagher Novices' Hurdle on day two, this year's Supreme is looking incredibly open. A genuine case can be made for seven or eight of the leading contenders.

FIREFOX (4/1) was my first Cheltenham Festival ante-post bet and I still think Gordon Elliott's star is in with an excellent chance. Jack Kennedy's mount has plenty of experience and a win over Ballyburn on his CV. Firefox didn't finish out his race in the Lawlor's Of Naas Novices' Hurdle, but that run came at a time when Gordon Elliott's horses were wrong and he's been trained for the Supreme ever since.

When I first published my guide to the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, I took 20/1 about MISTERGIF (12/1). The form of his maiden hurdle victory at Limerick isn't strong on paper, but he won with his head in his chest and Willie Mullins couldn't have been more complimentary about this five-year-old during his latest stable tour. 

I like Mystical Power and Jeriko Du Reponet. Tullyhill looks likely to get the soft ground he craves and Slade Steel offers decent value at 7/1. This really is an incredibly open contest, so I'm more than happy to stick with my ante-post selections and hope for the best.

2024 Supreme Best Bet - Firefox
2024 Supreme Value Bet - Mistergif E/W

2:10pm Cheltenham - Arkle Challenge Trophy Tips


Like with the Supreme, a strong case can be made for a handful of runners in this open-looking Arkle. Gaelic Warrior is the most talented horse in this race. Paul Townend's mount does have a terrible effort at the Dublin Racing Festival to overcome and a record of one win from seven starts around left-handed tracks hardly bolsters his chances.

Before the Irish Arkle, I backed IL ETAIT TEMPS (5/1) to win at the Cheltenham Festival. For the second year in a row, Willie Mullins' six-year-old claimed Grade One glory at Leopardstown, coming through with a late run to beat Found A Fifty by a neck.

Il Etait Temps was well beaten in the 2022 Triumph Hurdle and jumped poorly when fifth in last year's Supreme. However, Danny Mullins' mount has clearly improved for going over fences, his form this season looks extremely strong and this plucky grey has an excellent attitude. He remains my number one selection.

2024 Arkle Best Bet - Il Etait Temps

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Danny Mullins riding Il Etait Temps (yellow/purple) clear the last to win The Goffs Irish Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown. (Getty)

2:50pm Cheltenham - Ultima Handicap Chase Tips


I like both of Kim Bailey's runners. Chianti Classico has never run at Cheltenham before. TRELAWNE (10/1), on the other hand, ran a cracker here earlier in the season, finishing third behind two of the fancied runners for the Turners in Ginny's Destiny and Grey Dawning, while also holding the well-backed favourite for the Plate, Crebilly in fourth place.

Trelawne might have won the Towton Novices' Chase at Wetherby had he jumped a little better, and Bailey's eight-year-old returns to Cheltenham on the back of a narrow defeat to Crebilly and Tahmuras over 19 furlongs at Exeter. Bailey has been waiting for the right opportunity to step Trelawne back up to three miles, a trip he seemed to relish as a hurdler. Off a mark of 144, he could mount a winning challenge.

Nine of the last ten winners of the Ultima have gone off at 10/1 or shorter, so those sitting at the head of the betting have to be greatly respected. Meetingofthewaters and The Goffer are fancied to end Ireland's long wait for an Ultima winner. As is STUMPTOWN (8/1) who, unlike his counterparts, boasts winning form around Cheltenham.

Gavin Cromwell's star was beaten a neck by Angels Dawn in the Kim Muir 12 months ago and went one better on his last visit to Prestbury Park on New Year's Day, carrying 11-11 to victory over some decent rivals. Keith Donoghue's mount is only six pounds higher in the handicap for that five-length victory and course form is always vital in the Ultima.

2024 Ultima Tip 1 - Trelawne E/W
2024 Ultima Tip 2 - Stumptown

3:30pm Cheltenham - Champion Hurdle Tips


I published my guide to the 2024 Champion Hurdle a couple of days after Constitution Hill's dirty scope at Kempton. With the defending champion and State Man sitting at odds-on prices, I backed IRISH POINT (9/2) each-way at 6/1.

Now that Constitution Hill is out of the race, State Man is long odds-on and this eight-time Grade One winner is going to take the world of beating. Nemean Lion holds some appeal at 25/1, but he doesn't have the proven class of the two market leaders. Even at 9/2, Irish Point each-way has to be the value bet.

Gordon Elliott's star blew an inferior field away when winning the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown in December. While that victory came over three miles, Irish Point won't be inconvenienced by this drop in trip and proven stamina is always useful on the uphill climb to the line at Cheltenham.

2024 Champion Hurdle Value Bet - Irish Point E/W

Live Stream

If you plan on watching any of Tuesday's races at Cheltenham via a mobile or tablet, then check out this Champion Hurdle Live Stream guide.

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Jack Kennedy riding Irish Point clear the last to win The Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse. (Getty)

4:10pm Cheltenham - Mares' Hurdle Tips


Lossiemouth is fully deserving of her current odds-on price and she's undoubtedly the most likely winner of the Mares' Hurdle. This contest looks like a two-mare race to me, and I'd fancy ASHROE DIAMOND (9/2) to give her stablemate a good run for her money.

Ashroe Diamond progressed nicely as a novice last season, rounding off her campaign with a Grade One win at Fairyhouse. Following a third-place finish on her reappearance in the Hatton's Grace, Mullins' seven-year-old proved her versatility with a Grade Two win back over two miles at Doncaster, comfortably beating Under Control and Gala Marceau.

As with Irish Point, backing Ashroe Diamond each-way at 9/2 wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. Cover bets and "betting without the favourite" special markets are also available with the top Cheltenham Festival bookmakers. A reverse forecast involving Ashroe Diamond and Lossiemouth could also prove profitable.

2024 Mares' Hurdle Value Bet - Ashroe Diamond

4:50pm Cheltenham - Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tips


There has been a lot of talk recently about streamlining the Cheltenham Festival. I like that idea a lot and the Boodles is the first race I'd get rid of. This juvenile handicap has been won by a bunch of nobodys and adds nothing to the meeting - apart from maybe a reprieve for bookmakers, as we've seen plenty of long-odds winners down the years.

With that in mind, I'll be having a couple of small each-way bets on outsiders, starting with KARIA DES BLAISES (25/1) for Willie Mullins. Sean O'Keeffe's mount hacked up on her first start over hurdles in a 17-and-a-half furlong contest in France. After a poor stable debut over Christmas, Karia Des Blaises ran a cracker to finish a close second behind stablemate Miss Manzor at Fairyhouse, staying on past Ndaawi in the closing stages.

At an even longer price, LATIN VERSE (33/1) could go well. Formerly trained on the flat by Ralph Beckett, Syd Hosie's juvenile won nicely at Catterick earlier in the season and was last seen bolting up at Ludlow last month. Harry Reed's mount also ran well behind Kabral Du Mathan in January and could be one to watch at the bottom of the weights.

2024 Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tip 1 - Karia Des Blaises E/W
2024 Boodles Handicap Hurdle Tip 2 - Latin Verse E/W

5:30pm Cheltenham - National Hunt Chase Tips


A pathetic field of just seven runners has been declared for Tuesday's card closer. Corbetts Cross has been heavily backed in recent weeks and Derek O'Connor's mount will wear a hood for the first time at Cheltenham.

Fellow favourite EMBASSY GARDENS (9/4) will also don a hood for the first time. Of the market leaders, Embassy Gardens' jumping has been the most convincing since switching to fences and his victory at Naas last time out was extremely impressive.

Some will highlight his pulled-up effort in last year's Albert Bartlett as a reason to side against Embassy Gardens. Willie's eight-year-old got worked up in the parade ring that day and ran free throughout the contest. Half of the field failed to finish that Albert Bartlett too - including Monty's Star, Chianti Classico and Corbetts Cross - so Embassy Gardens wasn't the only talented runner to underperform on Gold Cup day.

This strapping eight-year-old is at his best around a galloping track on soft ground. Conditions should be ideal for Embassy Gardens on day one of the Cheltenham Festival. I really fancy his chances.

2024 National Hunt Chase Tip - Embassy Gardens

Verdict

Cheltenham Festival 2024 Day 1 Tips:

Best Bet1: Embassy Gardens 5:30pm National Hunt Chase @9/4 at Unibet - 15 Units
Best Bet2: Il Etait Temps 2:10pm Arkle @5/1 at bet365 - 10 Units
Best Bet3: Irish Point 3:30pm Champion Hurdle @9/2 at BoyleSports - 10 Units
Best Bet4: Trelawne E/W 2:50pm Ultima @10/1 at bet365 - 10 Units
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Il Etait Temps
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3:30pm Champion Hurdle
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Trelawne E/W
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