Cheltenham Tips: Mick Fitzgerald’s Day 1 top picks at Cheltenham on Tuesday

Mick Fitzgerald's got you covered for a bumper Day One at the Cheltenham Festival.

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WHAT A DAY – AND THERE’S PLENTY MORE TO COME!

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HERE’S THE REST OF YOUR TOP TIPS FOR WEDNESDAY

Supreme Novices Hurdle (13:30) – Constitution Hill

So much has been made of the Willie Mullins switcheroo with Sir Gerhard now going to the opening race on the Wednesday, but he still has three runners in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, with Kilcruit the most interesting with Patrick Mullins on board. He was second in the bumper last year to Sir Gerhard and then won at Punchestown.

Nicky Henderson runs two in Constitution Hill and Jonbon. The latter is the one whose form has been franked numerous times all season but my only concern is he is a highly-strung individual. He is getting better all the time, but this is a different test. The buzz from the crowd will be massive and how will he cope with that?

Constitution Hill has no concerns on that score and is a thorough professional. I was a little worried about how he would cope with quicker ground and watching him schooling last week, that is not going to be a problem. He may get a little outpaced early, but he will come home strong. I take him to get the UK-trained horses off to a flyer.

Arkle Chase (14:10) – Edwardstone

Edwardstone is my best bet of the meeting. Alan King’s runner’s form is rock solid and he is a very sound jumper, a very strong traveler and both things are exactly what is required for a race like this.

Blue Lord would have been second in last year’s Supreme Novices Hurdle but for falling at the last. He was a shade lucky to beat Riviere D’etel at Leopardstown as she made a mess of the last. Haut En Couleurs could be the value play to hit the places as will be ridden to stay in touch and then come flying home.

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Ultima Handicap Chase (14:50) – Frodon (each-way)

The former King George VI Chase and Ryanair winner Frodon will enjoy the Old Course at Cheltenham as he drops into handicap company. Remember last year’s winner was an exposed horse who raced prominently too. I was at Chepstow when Tea Clipper won and he was very impressive. He was placed at Cheltenham and Aintree last season and is a good jumper who is now fitted with cheekpieces and has had a wind operation. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ran a big race at a nice price.

Champion Hurdle (15:30) – Epatante

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.

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Mares Hurdle (16:10) – Telmesomethinggirl

I love horses with previous form at the Festival and Henry de Bromhead, Telmesomethinggirl, is talented. Things have not panned out for her this season after she won the mares’ novice hurdle last year and things didn’t fall right for her at Leopardstown last time. It’s hard to erase the memories of her waltzing up the hill last year. The vibes from the Willie Mullins’ camp are very strong regards Stormy Ireland. She won the Relkeel at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and is versatile. She rates the danger to my selection.

Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (16:50) – Gaelic Warrior

Listening to the connections of the favourite, Gaelic Warrior, it is hard to not want to jump on the bandwagon. He looks unexposed, well handicapped and James Reveley, who rode him in France, said he is a nice horse who will make into a smart stayer. Off his mark he could be chucked in at the weights.

Brazil is interesting and is another who could be well handicappedat a much bigger price for the places.

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National Hunt Chase (17:30) – Stattler

Stattler finished third to Galopin Des Champs in a Grade One over hurdles and has taken his time to find his feet over fences. I think the penny has dropped now and he gets the nod from me. Vanillier won the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle last year, but I am not so keen on him.  He is a slow jumper and that is a worry on the Old Course. You get half a chance round the New Course with that approach but the field could leave him toiling if he makes too many mistakes. Run Wild Fred has to be respected as some of his form is really strong.

Mick Fitzgerald’s Tips

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