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Cheltenham Festival 2023 - Day 1 Preview

Brian Hayes for Bookies.com

Brian Hayes  | 6 mins

Cheltenham Festival 2023 - Day 1 Preview

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

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Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day 1 Tips

HorseRaceOdds (click to bet)Bet With
Facile Vega Supreme Novices' Hurdle
Bet UK
El Fabiolo Arkle Novices' Chase
Fastorslow Ultima Handicap Chase
William Hill
Constitution Hill Champion Hurdle
Honeysuckle Mares' Hurdle
Byker Noodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Gaillard Du Mesnil National Hunt Chase

*Odds correct as of March 13, 2023

Champion Hurdle Day Cheltenham Festival 2023

It’s finally here, all the work is done and now the horses and jockeys will line up and get the show on the road at Cheltenham 2023. The rain has gotten into the ground, and that will surely make a difference but things can change quickly at Cheltenham, and it will be an interesting week for all.

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Facile Vega - 1:30 Supreme Novices' Hurdle

With the ground now changed to soft, I think everything has come right for Facile Vega.

Obviously things didn’t go to plan last time out at Leopardstown as he ran far too keen and burned himself up early. With a more restrained ride, he should go much better here. The fact we know he handles soft ground from his win in the Champion Bumper last year, where it was very testing conditions, is a major positive. I think he will redeem himself here and take the 2023 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

El Fabiolo - 2:10 Arkle Novices' Chase

The Arkle promises to be the race of the whole week!

Dysart Dynamo will make the running here, and I think he is going to give them all a good fright from the front as the old course that they use for the first two days of the festival will suit him as it is a tighter track, with plenty of jumping. He will also love the soft ground and has plenty of form on it. Saying this, though, I think he will set it up for El Fabiolo who is a very good horse. I fancy him to see off Jonbon. At the bigger prices on horse racing betting sites, if they all go too hard, Saint Roi could pick up the pieces.

Fastorslow - 2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase

As always, this is a very competitive handicap, but Fastorslow definitely catches the eye for Martin Brassil and JJ Slevin.

He was just denied last year when second in the Coral Cup on testing ground, so we know he will definitely handle the going. This has more than likely been his plan all season, and he is an interesting runner!

Constitution Hill - 3:30 Champion Hurdle

Obviously, this would be classed a “no-bet race” – but the 2023 Champion Hurdle completely revolves around Constitution Hill.

I think everyone in racing wants this horse to confirm once again that he is indeed a superstar and put on a show for everyone. This is just a race to watch and enjoy. I know Paul Townend really does think State Man will give him a proper scare here, and he is a particularly good horse in his own right.

Honeysuckle - 4:10 Mares' Hurdle

This is a cracking race this year with the likes of Epatante, Marie’s Rock and Honeysuckle involved, but I do think Honeysuckle will see this through.

Like the majority of Irish racing fans, I would love to see her do it, and I think she will. Of course, the worry is that two-and-a-half miles on soft ground might not be exactly what she wants, but her performances this year have still been that of a very high-class mare. This isn’t the level of a Champion Hurdle obviously, and I think Honeysuckle has enough in the locker to take this. On handicap ratings alone Honeysuckle is rated six pounds higher than both Epatante and Marie’s Rock.

Byker - 4:50 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

I am going to side with Charles Byrnes’ horse Byker here.

I thought he had an eye-catching effort at Naas last time, and it might be possible that he has a bit more up his sleeve. He is trained by a very shrewd trainer, obviously, and he could go very well. He is ridden by Charles’ son, Philip, who seems to be a very good jockey who rides a very patient race. His five pounds claim will be very beneficial.

Gaillard Du Mesnil - 5:30 National Hunt Chase

This race does really revolve around the very classy Gaillard Du Mesnil, but I think Mahler Mission could run a big one.

Gaillard Du Mesnil is going to take a lot of beating obviously, but Mahler Mission will give him plenty going from the front. He jumps well and will stay every inch of this three miles and six furlongs test. At the odds on horse racing betting apps, he looks a nice each-way bet.

About the Author

Brian Hayes for Bookies.com
Brian Hayes
Brian Hayes is a leading Irish jockey based with the Willie Mullins yard and regular rider at all the big national hunt racing festivals including Galway, Punchestown Aintree and Cheltenham. The Cork native has ridden high in the riding ranks despite not hailing from a racing background and quickly becoming a relied on partner for some of the best horses in top training yards.