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April 10, 2020

Cheltenham festival 2014 day one preview

Tuesday the 11th of March will mark day one of the 2014 Cheltenham festival, held at that Gloucestershire town’s famous racecourse. Last year proved as compelling as ever – from both a sporting and betting perspective – culminating in the final day Gold Cup triumph for Barry Geraghty, riding the bookies favourite – Bobs Worth. He proved to be worth a fair few bob for anyone who put their money on him, but calling some of the big first day races correctly can sometimes be the key to a great week of betting.

Supreme Novices Hurdle

This is the opening race on the first day, and seems sure to provide the perfect appetiser for the rest of the week. Irving has now slipped ahead of Vautour as the bookmakers favourite to win this two-mile race, at 5/2. His chances of winning increased when one of the major rivals – The Tullow Tank – unexpectedly dropped out of the festival a couple of weeks ago, and this looks to leave 3/1-priced Vautour as the main competition. However it should be noted that the favourites tend to come a cropper here – with hotly tipped horses like Cue Card and Cousin Vinny being amongst those to fall short in previous years.

Arkle Challenge Trophy

This race, otherwise known as the Arkle Chase, has to be included in any preview – because it is a confirmed favourite amongst Cheltenham festival regulars. It is regarded as a race for those horses that possess both speed and hurdling ability, and the current favourite is Champagne Fever at 3/1 odds-on. Rock on Ruby and Trifolium lie just behind on 5/1 each, but once again, this has proved a race to confound the bookies in the past. The last 22 Arkle Chases have seen the favourite win just four times, and only a single win by an early race front runner.

Stan James Champion Hurdle

This is the most famous first day race, lasting more than two miles and ½ furlong. There are currently two horses tied as the odds-on favourite, with Hurricane Fly and The New One both on 11/4, but there is no question which of them most of the neutrals will want to win. Two-time Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly is much loved, but a bet on him would be more than just a sentimental pick. He has a real shot at winning for the second year in a row – although some punters might fancy a wager on Our Conor (4/1), My Tent Or Yours (5/1) or Annie Power 8/1, to leave the two favourites in the dust.

Novices Handicap Chase

The last race on the first day of the festival is this 2-mile, 4 and a ½ furlong one – which is a relatively new addition to day one. The betting favourite right now is Pendra, on 8/1 – with Cause Of Causes, Ericht and Manyriverstocross all on 10/1 just behind. This race has been switched around the festival calendar a lot, despite only being part of it for the last nine years, having started out being run on the last day (Friday), before being switched to the third day (Thursday) and finally to its current position. It’s worth noting that six of the previous winning horses had prior wins over this sort of distance, and but seven of them had no more than a single previous win over fences.






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