Champion Hurdle tips and best bets for today’s 3.30 at the Cheltenham Festival

Paddy's pundits mark your card for the big one on day one.


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Honeysuckle bids to take her unbeaten career record to 15 as she puts her Champion Hurdle crown on the line in the big race on the opening day of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.

Henry de Bromhead’s superstar mare scored a sweet win in last year’s renewal with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle and the dream team continue their partnership in today’s 3.30 at Cheltenham.


Can any horse stop Honeysuckle? That’s the big question but she faces some fresh rivals including last year’s runaway Supreme winner Appreciate It, Teahupoo and Tommy’s Oscar.

Paddy’s giving away a FREE £/€5 bet to every customer to spend on one of today’s seven races so if you’re wanting to place your freebie on the Champion Hurdle then you’re in luck as we’ve gathered Paddy’s pundits’ best bets in one handy place below.

Champion Hurdle tips

Gina Bryce: Defending Champion hurdler Honeysuckle notched up her tenth success at the highest level last time with a third Irish Champion Hurdle victory and has done little to suggest her utter dominance of this division is going to end any time soon. However, this will be the first time she’s faced an unknown quantity like last year’s Supreme winner APPRECIATE IT. The lack of a run this year means we have to trust he can return to those same dizzying heights in open company after a year on the sidelines but I think this strong staying hurdler with an excellent run in the 2020 Champion bumper also to his name, may just set a searching test up front and prove tough to catch.

Matt Chapman: Honeysuckle is long odds-on and will probably win for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. That said I wasn’t impressed with her last time and I’m not sure she’s beaten much despite an amazing career of fourteen straight wins. She’s the pinup girl but APPRECIATE IT might just be the bruiser. I can’t argue his form is better than Honeysuckle because it’s not; it’s more a gut feeling with Appreciate IT that he might just be super special. He looked a monster when second in the bumper and even more so when landing a fairly weak Supreme. He will have to be to land this on seasonal debut. Fingers crossed he runs well. Tommy’s Oscar could easily slip into the frame as he will be ridden from off the pace for a place.

Mick Fitzgerald: It’s hard to get away from the reigning champion and unbeaten over hurdles mare, Honeysuckle. Appreciate It has not run since last year’s Supreme Novices Hurdle win but the noises are good coming from the Mullins’ camp. EPATANTE is the each-way play in the race. She was third last year and is in better form coming into this year’s contest.

Frank Hickey: ADAGIO without Honeysuckle is the way I’d play this race. His 2nd off top weight in the Greatwood is form that has worked out really well.

Timeform: HONEYSUCKLE is a mare out of the very top drawer and is strongly fancied to remain unbeaten and land a third successive win at this meeting. It’s tough to see any of those she’s accounted for previously troubling her so what threat there is may come from unexposed pair Teahupoo, who was very good at Gowran last time, and Appreciate It, so impressive in the Supreme last year but not seen since.

Ruby Walsh: HONEYSUCKLE is an incredible mare but the only danger to her is Appreciate It. He was a brilliant novice last year, he’s in good form and he travelled over nicely. Even though I’m in the Willie Mullins camp, if you offered me a ride tomorrow, I’m on Honeysuckle.

Champion Hurdle tips summary:

Gina Bryce – Appreciate It
Matt Chapman – Appreciate It
Mick Fitzgerald – Epatante (E/W)
Frank Hickey – Adagio (Without Honeysuckle)
Timeform – Honeysuckle
Ruby Walsh – Honeysuckle


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