Cheltenham tips: Matt Chapman’s best bets for Day 1 of the Festival

Matt has got your back for the first day of Cheltenham Festival.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

LOOKING FOR MATT’S DAY 2 TIPS?

13:20 Supreme Novices Hurdle – Appreciate It

Cheltenham 2021 kicks off on ITV with the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle over an extended 2m. These are the fastest ground conditions that APPRECIATE IT has encountered, but he’s going to take all the beating for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend and there should be a huge virtual roar as he powers up the hill. The Festival bumper runner up has shown plenty of speed since going hurdling and while he will stay, he should be quick enough for this test. I suspect he will just have too much ability for this rivals.

13:55 Arkle Chase – Shishkin

Now it’s the Grade 1 Arkle Challenge Trophy over 2m. SHISHKIN was my banker for Cheltenham 2021 long before Energumene was ruled out through injury and I expect the hot favourite to hack up here for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville. The Supreme victor has looked a natural over fences in three spins so far over the larger obstacles and he’s super classy.

14:30 Ultima Handicap Chase – One For The Team

We go over 3m1f here with the Ultima Handicap Chase. A big field and strong gallop might be what brings out the best in the Nick Williams-trained ONE FOR THE TEAM. He didn’t get home at Doncaster last time, but in a strongly run race he can be buried in the pack and he might just have a turn of pace against some of these. Tom Scudamore is a good booking and he rode the winner when my selection was second in a big field handicap hurdle at Newbury a couple of years ago. This could be payback!

15:05 Champion Hurdle – Goshen

Back to Grade 1 company here with the feature Champion Hurdle over an extended 2m. For me the two who could be outstanding hurdlers are Honeysuckle and GOSHEN, and I will pray the latter scores for Jamie and Gary Moore. As everyone knows, Goshen would have hacked up in the Triumph this time last year but for unseating Jamie and he looked an absolute monster. Since then he’s been beaten on the flat and had his jumps return delayed until returning to Cheltenham and running a shocker with a dodgy heart. However, he was back to his best at Wincanton on his latest start when hacking up. The opposition did not run up to form on that occasion, but he still looked really good and could be anything. For the Moore family I hope he bolts in.

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15:40 Mares Hurdle – Roksana

Another Grade 1, this time the Mares’ Hurdle over 2m4f. I’m all over ROKSANA here, who has tackled some of the best staying hurdlers this term. She was a fine winner at Wetherby first time before finding Paisley Park and Thyme Hill too strong in the Long Walk at Ascot. However, she was back to winning ways when last seen. Obviously she stays further than this, but she does not lack speed and has a huge chance for Dan and Harry Skelton.

16:15 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Coltor

Now we have to sought out a Grade 3 handicap hurdle for juveniles. Dermot Weld does not have the greatest of records at Cheltenham, but the master of Rosewell has a useful challenger here in COLTOR. He had three runs on the flat before going over jumps, and he looked useful in a big field at Punchestown before scoring at Naas. Conditions should be no issue and Jonjo O’Neill Jr looks a decent booking.

16:50 National Hunt Chase – Next Destination

Finally a Grade 2 in the National Hunt Chase for novices over 3m6f. NEXT DESTINATION was a decent hurdler who promises to stay this track over fences. The Paul Nicholls challenge did well to defeat Fiddlerontheroof at Warwick last time and his jumping should stand this test. With a rating of 153 he should have every chance. I’ll have a few quid on eachway. So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?

Matt Chapman’s best bets for day one of Cheltenham Festival:

13:20 Supreme Novices Hurdle – Appreciate It
13:55 Arkle Chase – Shishkin
14:30 Ultima Handicap Chase – One For The Team
15:05 Champion Hurdle – Goshen
15:40 Mares Hurdle – Roksana
16:15 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Coltor
16:50 National Hunt Chase – Next Destination

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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