Five Cheltenham tips for the opening day

With the highlight of the horse racing calendar upon us, The Cardiffian gives you five tips for the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
1:30 – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Douvan – Outright win – 2/1 (SkyBet)
Being ridden by Gold Cup winning Jockey Ruby Walsh, Douvan starts the first race of the day as favourite – but still at a good price. Trainer Willie Mullins has won the race four times so it would be difficult to look past one of his horses. Douvan has four career starts and three wins and although the ground may run slightly quicker today than he’s used to, he still looks a sound bet to get your Cheltenham Festival off to a profitable start.

Winners enclosure at Cheltenham racecourse (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Winners enclosure at Cheltenham racecourse (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Alviso Ville – Each Way – 20/1 (SkyBet)
It is unusual for us to pick two horses from one race especially with, in our eyes, Douvan being such a clear favourite. But Alviso Ville is another Willie Mullins’ horse and represents great each way value at 20/1. If it wasn’t for a bad showing at the Grade 1 Deloitte Hurdle last month then he may be much shorter odds. But it is understood that he annihilated the winner of that race, stablemate Nichols Canyon, in a training exercise before the race. His potential is unquestionable and Cheltenham could be the course where he steps up.
2:05 – Arkle Chase
Court Minstrel – Each Way – 25/1 (SkyBet)
Ruby Walsh ridden Un De Sceaux is the odds-on favourite for this race, but with doubts over how well he run over today’s ground it is worth looking for value elsewhere. We are backing Count Minstrel to push for a place, and maybe the win. He has a patchy record but the ground will suit him and is a good enough price to take a chance.
2:40 – Ultima Handicap Chase
The Druids Nephew – Outright – 8/1 (SkyBet)
A traditionally tricky race to pick a winner in, we’re backing the formidable Neil Mulholland and Barry Geragthy partnership on The Druids Nephew. Three wins from six races for the partnership over the winter period, we have to trust their knowledge on the horse they have picked for this race. This has been The Druids Nephew’s target since he was bought by Mulholland last year and has a good shot in this race to reach his goal.
3:20 – Champion Hurdle
Faugheen – Outright – 11/10 (SkyBet)
Jockey Ruby Walsh (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Jockey Ruby Walsh (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Faugheen is a clear winner in this race and the odds reflect that. He is unbeaten and the fact Ruby Walsh has chosen to ride him says it all.
5:15 Chaps Novices’ Handicap
Stellar Notion – Each Way – 14/1 (SkyBet)
Last time out at Cheltenham he was given an overly aggressive ride and put in a poor showing. But that should not take away from the fact that he was won two of his three races over fences and is a fantastic jumper. When he won the novice handicap at Kempton he beat two of today’s race favourites, Knock House and Generous Ransom, so he represents fantastic value in the last race of the day.