The opening day at the Cheltenham Festival, starts Tuesday 14th March 2017.
Its one of the most famous roars in UK and we are sure to hear it once more as the Cheltenham Festival comes flying out of the stalls on Champion Day, Tuesday 15th March as we horse racing punters and the nation as a whole braces itself for a bonanza of top quality Grade One Racing.
Its sure to be another spectacular four days at Prestbury Park, as the cream of the crop from Ireland and the United Kingdom do battle on the sacred turf of Cheltenham, and there’s sure to be more thrills and spills with the top jockeys and trainers all in action.
Willie Mullins dominated the Festival last season and once again it is the Irish contingent garnering plenty of support as the 2016 Cheltenham Festival looms on the horizon.
The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle gets the 2016 Cheltenham Festival underway at 1:30, and its sure to be another spine tingling atmosphere as the excitement builds in the hours before the race.
Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins got things off to a flyer for their productive partnership as Douvan romped home at 2/1 to take the Cheltenham Opener. It was a cracking start for punters and things just got better in the next race, the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase.
Once again it was another Mullins and Ruby Walsh combo Un De Sceaux who sent punters into raptures with another convincing victory at a price of 4/6.
The excitement wil reach fever pitch as punters wait in anticipation as the horses take to the start line of the feature race on day one of the Festival, the Champion Hurdle, won handsomly by ‘The Machine’ Faugheen last season and once again a Willie Mullins horse will once more be the centre of the betting.
Hurricane Fly may now be retired but punters will be looking to Faugheen to take on the mantle of the superstar.
Faugheen romped home last season to screams of delight from the Irish contingent, and the horse again heads the betting at a best price of 6/4. There have been chinks in the armour of ‘The Machine’ in the lead up to the race, having been beaten by stablemate Nichols Canyon at Punchestown, with the 1/6 shot ridden by Ruby Walsh beaten into second place.
There will be many a punter a little apprehensive coming into the race with Faugheen’s crown of invincibility been toppled, but there continues to be a steady amount of money coming in for the 2015 winner. Nichols Canyon, the horse which beat Faugheen in Ireland last November is second in the betting at a price of around 6/1, which could well be the value bet of the race.
Annie Power will be hoping to go one step further after falling at the last in the 2015 Mares Hurdle at 16:10, which cost punters around £40m. Another from the Willie Mullins stable, the horse had a commanding lead but blundered with the line at his mercy, falling to let Glens Melody to finish first past the post at 7/1.
Willie Mullins has something of a stranglehold on the race, having trained Quevega to six consecutive victories, and Annie Power will try again in Cheltenham 2016 and punters expect the horse to go one further, and is the well backed favourite at 5/4.
The National Hunt Steeple Chase follows at 16:40, while the Barbados Novices’ Handicap Chase Novices’ Handicap Chase rounds proceedings off at 17:30.
It should be a mouthwatering prospect with many waiting to see if Faugheen can continue his impressive victory of 2015 and establish dominance for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.
Strap yourself in, we’ll be back closer to the start of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival with all the latest tips for you!