Cheltenham Festival 2017 Day 1 - Race Times, & Tips

Day One of the Cheltenham Festival 2017 gets underway on Tuesday 14th March with one of the greatest weeks of racing anywhere in the world. Held over four days, the Cheltenham Festival has an incredible amount of twists and turns, heroes and heroines with day one at last year’s festival particularly memorable. Day 1 in 2016 saw Douvan and Annie Power post top class performances for the all conquering Willie Mullins stable, and their legions of Irish followers are likely to be looking for a similar display this time around to get this punting extravaganza off to the perfect start.

Cheltenham Festival 2017 Day 1 Tips & Schedules

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2017

The first day of the Cheltenham Festival gets underway with one of the most exciting races of the week, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Featuring the youngest and most exciting novice hurdlers in the country, the Supreme Novices’ has a long history of producing some top class horses to grace the turf, not to mention subsequent Festival winners. Willie Mullins has a great record in this race, but suffered a reverse in 2016 when Min was turned over by the English challenger Altior. The 2017 contest has a wide open look to it at this stage, with no standout contender yet to emerge from the ranks.

Arkle Chase 2017

Douvan posted a fantastic display to land this in 2016, landing strong ante-post cash and eventually going off a prohibitive 1/4f before routing his rivals hard on the bridle. In 2017 Altior looks the class act, with his transition to fences going very smoothly so far after two demolition jobs on inferior opposition.

Ultima Festival Handicap Chase

The Festival Trophy Handicap Chase is one of the trickiest handicaps to solve at the Cheltenham Festival. Run over a distance of three miles with nineteen fences to navigate, the Festival Handicap Chase offers plenty of each-way opportunities for punters at big prices. The 2016 winner, Un Temps Pour Tout, was given a terrific ride from Tom Scudamore to get up in a typically tight finish up the hill. Is there another handicap plot lurking in the field this year? Read the Bettingexpert 2017 Festival Handicap Chase preview to search out the value in this ultra-competitive contest.

Champion Hurdle 2017

The pinnacle of day one at the Cheltenham Festival is the Champion Hurdle. 2016 winner Annie Power landed a huge gamble for the Irish, but this time around things looks a lot more complicated, with the division lacking a star performer and the wellbeing of the Mullins super mare yet to be established on the track so far this winter.

Mares Hurdle

The Mares Hurdle ended in calamity for punters in 2015 when Annie Power crashed out at the final flight with the race at her mercy (saving the betting industry a multi million pound payout in accumulators on all the other short priced winners that day). The defeat still haunts plenty of punters and it may leave some cowering behind their race cards again this year, although the 2016 winner Vroum Vroum Mag will surely take plenty of beating if coming back to defend her crown.

National Hunt Chase

Things take a twist following the Mares Hurdle with the National Hunt Chase, a listed amateur riders contest over the marathon four mile trip. The 2016 race was won by Minella Rocco, just seeing off Native River (subsequently won the Hennessy in November). The importance of a jockey to a horse’s chance is evident in a race of this nature with twenty-four fences to navigate over four miles, and top amatuers tend to come to the fore. Setting the pace, holding the correct position and finding a stride at every fence are all essential factors in landing this competitive prize.

CHAPS Novices’ Handicap Chase

The CHAPS novices’ handicap chase is one of the tightest handicaps in the country. There was just 5lbs between the 20-strong field in 2015 and there could be a similar story this year. Raced over 2m 4f with 16 fences, this novices’ handicap chase is another tough nut for punters to crack in the final race of the day. Locating horses with plenty of scope for improvement is essential, not to mention holding a few lbs in hand over the handicapper. The 2016 renewal went to Ballyalton who we tipped up strongly on these pages, so check out the Bettingexpert handicap chase tips to take advantage of it this festival.

Cheltenham 2017 Champion Day Races

Day one kicks off with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, a race which is always brought underway with the famous Cheltenham roar from the stands. A whole year’s worth of anticipation unleashed as the racing gets underway. The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the ultimate test for newcomers to book a place in the Cheltenham history books. Douvan won the race in 2015 and now looks set to add another Cheltenham Festival victory to his CV with the Arkle Trophy seemingly at his mercy. Such is the strength and depth of the Cheltenham Festival that both the aforementioned races serve only as warm-up act to the main event, the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle. The most prestigious race for any two mile hurdler, the champion hurdle is won by only the very best horses. The race has been most fondly associated with the great Hurricane Fly in recent times, who won it in 2011, before coming back to win it again in 2013 having been denied in 2012. Faugheen took the champion hurdle crown in 2015, but became injured just over three weeks from the big day. Who will take the crown this year? Read our Cheltenham betting tips to find out that and more. The day doesn’t end there though with the Mares Hurdle and two generous handicaps to get stuck into. Will this year’s Mares Hurdle end in heartbreak (after Annie Power's fall at the last in 2015). The National Chase and Novices’ Handicap Chase offer two tricky contests for punters to finish their day on, with plenty of big odds and each-way value on offer. Finding the horse with the most in-hand will leave you feeling very chuffed as day one comes to an end on another supreme days racing at Cheltenham.

Where is the value on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival? Our racing editor Stephen Harris guides you through each race of the Cheltenham Day 1, with race analysis, the latest news and info and of course, each of his Cheltenham Day 1 tips.

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