Cheltenham Festival 2018: Day 1 Predictions
Day 1 of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is shaping up to be a fantastic spectacle and punters have been getting stuck into the ante-post markets for the Champion Hurdle, Arkle and Mare’s Hurdle.
Willie Mullins looks particularly strong-handed here with Footpad rated as one of his best chances across the four days. In just a five-runner field, it is hard to look past this highly rated novice although the six-year-old has drifted in the market and Petit Mouchoir could provide a decent alternative. The Mullins stable got off to a poor start at the 2017 Festival and the 61-year old-trainer will be hoping he doesn’t suffer the same fate this time around. At 11/4 with 888Sport, Petit Mouchoir should be backed to turn the tables.
One favourite who looks unlikely to disappoint is Buveur D’Air for trainer Nicky Henderson. The Seven Barrows stable look short on quality this year, with Top Notch the latest star to be ruled out of the Festival, but they appear to have the Champion Hurdle sewn up. Stablemate My Tent or Yours could pick up a place at 16/1 with Betfair.
Apples Jade is hugely fancied in the Mares’ Hurdle and should be able to justify favouritism. Gordon Elliott’s charge is priced at 8/13 and is likely to feature in many Cheltenham 2018 accumulators. Possible rival Vroum Vroum Mags has been retired and the remainder of the competition doesn’t look strong enough to challenge this all-conquering French-bred star.
Kalashnikov Could Spring a Surprise in the Opener
All of the talk ahead of the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle has been about Getabird, who represents the Mullins yard and it isn’t difficult to see why the talented six-year old is popular in the market. Rookie trainer Amy Murphy is hoping that Kalashnikov can spring a surprise in the opening contest, with the soft ground not a concern for her runner. He finished second in the Tolworth Hurdle last time out and should be backed at 9/2 with William Hill.