In the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival the so-called ‘Cheltenham Bankers’ always get a lot of airtime as horse racing punters will have an opinion on either backing or laying the fancies runners.
Tuesday 15th March 2022 – Cheltenham Bankers or Blowouts?
With that in mind – let’s take a look at the first day’s Cheltenham Festival Bankers and their chances.
Did you know? On the opening day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, we saw three winning favourites
CONSTITUTION HILL @ 5/2 with Fitzdares
Race: 1:30 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
This 5 year-old has been at the head of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle market @ 5/2 with Fitzdares since bursting onto the hurdling scene with two facile wins at Sandown. The last of those successes was an easy 12 length win in the Tolworth Hurdle back in early January, but he’s not been seen since.
Connections has resisted getting another run into him, preferring to instead head straight to the Festival with around a 9 week break.
Yes, he was very impressive when winning the Tolworth Hurdle last time and prior to that showed a really good turn of foot to win on debut at Sandown.
However, those against him will have a few things to cling to.
Strong Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Opposition
If you are prepared to take on Constitution Hill then the good news is that you are likely to have several decent horses in your corner.
There is every chance the Willie Mullins-trained Sir Gerhard could head here and after smooth wins at Leopardstown there is every chance the Irish cold get stuck into him before the off and it would be no shock to see him go off favourite.
Jonbon, who is related to Douvan, is another leading light that has this race as a target. Also from the Henderson yard, this 6 year-old JP McManus runner has done little wrong in winning all three hurdles starts.
Mullins could also run Kilcruit, who was a close second in the Champion Bumper at the 2021 Festival. He’s taken a bit of time to get going over hurdles, but broke his duck at the end of January in decent fashion and has to be considered coming from a yard that have won 5 of the last 9 renewals of this race.
Henderson’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Record
The trainer of Constitution Hill – Nicky Henderson – has won this Festival curtain-raiser in 2016 and 2020 with Altior and Shishkin, but his overall record in the race isn’t that great – he’s currently just 2-from-39 since 1993.
Other Notable Negative Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Trends
21 of the last 27 winners had raced in the last 45 days, which is a key trend Constitution Hill falls down on His last run came on 8th Jan 22.
Also, the previous 11 winners of the Supreme had raced at least four times over hurdles – Constitution Hill has only had two hurdles runs.
EDWARDSTONE @ 5/2 with Fitzdares
Race: 2:10 – Arkle Chase
Trainer: Alan King
This 8 year-old has done little wrong in winning his last four starts over fences and it’s now all systems to towards the Arkle Chase on the opening day.
We last saw him winning the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick in the middle of February – jumping well again to see off Third Time Lucki by 4 ¼ lengths.
Edwardstone has tasted the hustle and bustle of the Festival before – he was fifth in the County Hurdle 12 months ago. 13 of the last 18 Arkle winners had run at the Festival the previous year.
Age Concern for Edwardstone
At 8 years-old, Edwardstone’s age would be the small concern – 14 of the last 15 Arkle winners have been aged 6 or 7.
Recent Form Is Key
With the last 12 winners of the Arkle having all won their previous race, this is another plus for Edwardstone, while this isn’t a race you tend to get too many shock results in – 20 of the last 22 Arkle winners returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting.
Back EDWARDSTONE @ 5/2 with Fitzdares
HONEYSUCKLE @ 8/13 with Fitzdares
Race: 3.30 Champion Hurdle
Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
The current Champion Hurdle heroine – Honeysuckle – is back for more this year to defend her crown and it will be a brave punter that takes here on.
This year she heads into the race 14-from-14 over hurdles and was last seen winning her third Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in February.
7lbs Mares’ Allowance Key
Being a mare, then Honeysuckle will again get a handy 7lbs allowance in this race and to be honest she probably doesn’t even need it. She’s rated 165 anyway – the top in the race, but all the boys in the race still have to give her 7lbs.
This is a huge advantage and with track winning form and a formidable partnership with jockey Rachael Blackmore, then it’s hard to find any faults in her chance.
Honeysuckle’s Jumping Last Time Out Wasn’t Great
Those looking to take her on, might cling to the fact she didn’t jump great the last day at Leopardstown, but she still beat Zanahiyr by 6 ½ lengths. That also came off a 70 day break and was only her second run since last April, so there is every chance she was just a bit ring-rusty.
Champion Hurdle Opposition Thin On The Ground
When looking to take on any horse, one of the main things to look for is the opposition – is there enough horses you’ll have on your side with proper winning chances?
In the case of the Champion Hurdle, the answer is probably – NO.
Yes, last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner – Appreciate It – could be anything, but this Willie Mullins horse hasn’t been out since winning that race. There are good reports coming out of the Mullins yard, but it won’t be easy having to give 7lbs away to a mare that is yet to lose a race over hurdles (14 runs) and is the current champ of this race.
The like of Teahupoo, Zanahiyr and Adagio are all useful horses – however, they are also all 5 years-old and this age doesn’t have the best of records in this race.
Past winner – Epatante – who is also a mare so will get the 7lbs allowance could have a say, but she’s also got just over 9 lengths to find on Honeysuckle after coming third in this last season.
Back HONEYSUCKLE @ 8/13 with Fitzdares
More Cheltenham Festival Betting Tips
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Free Tips
Arkle Chase Free Tips
Ultima Handicap Chase Free Tips
Champion Hurdle Free Tips
Mares’ Hurdle Free Tips
Boodles Juvenile Hurdle Free Tips
National Hunt Chase Free Tips
Champion Hurdle Trends
Cheltenham NAP of the Day
Cheltenham Day One Tips
Cheltenham Placepot Tips
Cheltenham Lucky 15 Tips
Cheltenham Banker or Blowouts Day One Tips
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