Cheltenham Festival: Paddy’s antepost favourites for the 2023 Championship races

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The 2022 Cheltenham Festival provided plenty of action, drama and entertainment – and the four championship races were no exception!

Honeysuckle was roared home after making it back-to-back victories in the Champion Hurdle, Energumene claimed a maiden Champion Chase crown for Willie Mullins, Flooring Porter blitzed the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle field once again, while A Plus Tard was electric on his way to claiming the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

A whole season of hard work and effort went into landing the big prizes but fresh challengers await this season as plenty of exciting novices that displayed their talent at the Festival have made the step into open company.

Paddy Power’s traders have been busy little beavers and drawn up Cheltenham Festival odds for the four championship races – and we’ve taken a deep dive into the betting markets to look at the early favourites.

Champion Hurdle

Constitution Hill delivered one of the most impressive performances at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival to rout the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle field and the gelding’s time also compared favourably to Honeysuckle’s in the Champion Hurdle.

The six-year-old routed stablemate and 2020 Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante without coming off the bridle on his first start in open company in the the Fighting Fifth Hurdle in November before repeating the feat in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Champion Chase

Energumene‘s success in last year’s renewal ensured Willie Mullins got his hands on the Champion Chase for the first time in his training career – and the Irish-trained horse has regained his position at the head of Paddy’s early betting despite flopping in the rescheduled Clarence House at Cheltenham last month, which was won by Editeur Du Gite.

Edwardstone, last season’s Arkle hero, is vying for favouritism in the market and already has a Grade 1 in open company on his CV after a stirring display in December’s Tingle Creek.

Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle

Another bold front-running display ensured Flooring Porter became the first horse since the legendary Big Buck’s in 2012 to win the race two years in a row.

Gavin Cromwell’s charge has delivered two sub-par performances this term, however, and is only 50/50 to appear at the Cheltenham Festival after a training setback which has allowed Teahupoo to climb towards the head of the early betting after comprehensive victories in the Hatton’s Grace and Galmoy.

But it is Blazing Khal, who belied a 428-day break to land the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan, that sits at the top of our non runner money back market. Charles Byrne’s runner is a course-and-distance winner after claiming the Bristol Novices’ Hurdle in December 2021.

Gold Cup

A Plus Tard displayed a devastating turn of foot in the closing stages to win the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup by 15l from last year’s winner and stablemate Minella Indo, but a disappointing start to this season has Henry de Bromhead’s gelding tumbling down the market.

Willie Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs is the non-runner money back favourite after a superb seasonal reappearance in the John Durkan added to his frighteningly good performances over fences in his novice chasing campaign. He followed up in fine style in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing February to cement his position at the head of the market.

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