Frank Hickey: My race-by-race guide to Tuesday’s Cheltenham action

Our trading master runs through the card and gives his tips from each race on Day One of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival...


Race 1: Supreme Novices Hurdle – 13:30

I thought that Kalashnikov really enhanced his claims for this race with his romp in the Betfair Hurdle. Amy Murphy has said all along that he wants better ground and if he improves for it, he will surely hit the frame at the very least, and the hill looks tailor made for him. To me, he looks a solid each-way alternative to the favourite – but I think he will win!

Race 2: Arkle Chase – 14:10

Initially, I thought that Petit Mouchoir was the value in the race, but in the past few days his price has shortened dramatically. As a result Footpad now appears to be the one who is value, considering he has the least to prove out of the four at the head of the market. He has been extremely impressive over fences to date and merits being clear favourite in my opinion.

Race 3: Ultima Handicap Chase – 14:50

Alan King has a decent record in this with novices, and Dingo Dollar would have been many people’s pick until he withdrew. Now, I’ve turned my attention elsewhere: Vintage Clouds, trained by Sue Smith, loves soft ground and is a dour stayer.

He’ll be in with a shout.

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Race 4: Champion Hurdle – 15:30

It looks like Buveur D’air just has to avoid trouble in running to win this. A peak Faugheen would make this a brilliant race to watch but alas it appears Faugheen’s best days are behind him and Buveur D’air should prove too good for the rest of the field.

Race 5: Mare’s Hurdle – 16:10

Apple’s Jade is almost impossible to oppose in her pursuit of back to back wins in this race and she looks a different level to these here, though I wouldn’t be shocked to see Benie Des Dieux run into a place.

Race 6: National Hunt Chase – 16:50

Ms Parfois loves testing ground and connections can hardly believe their luck getting their ground this week. She is a dour stayer, who has course form and looks sure to go well in this one.

Race 7: Close Brothers Novice Handicap – 17:30

De Plotting Shed has been well punted in the past week but he wouldn’t excite me at the prices. Any Second Now has been behind Monalee, Invitation Only and Footpad in his four chase starts and a mark of 145 probably underestimates him. He is likely to prove to be graded class and looks to be with here. Testify is one at an each way price that I will back each way. He is 3-3 over fences and being a brother to 3 mile chaser Wymott, he did extremely well to win twice over 2 miles before winning a Grade 2 last time. He can run well at a price.

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What do you think?