The Cheltenham Festival gets under way today and we mark your card with selections for all seven races on the opening day.

1.20: Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle

A quite frankly dismal turn-out for the opening race with only eight runners going to post.

However, the Irish won't care, with one of their big-guns likely to start a very short price.

Appreciate It has been very progressive this season, but at around 11-8 does not represent value.

I like the look of SOARING GLORY, who impressed in the Betfair Hurdle and is a strong-travelling type who should relish this test.

Ballyadam was beaten by Appreciate It in Ireland but can complete the first three.


  • 1 Soaring Glory
  • 2 Appreciate It
  • 3 Ballyadam

1.55: Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase

SHISHKIN is one of the bankers of the meeting and surely has to just jump round to win this.

Nicky Henderson's charge oozes class, but is not a betting proposition at 1-2. Just sit back and watch him win!

For those each-way punters it's a case of finding the second and Allmankind will likely go hurtling off in front and can hold on for the runners-up spot.


  • 1 Shishkin
  • 2 Allmankind

2.30: Ultima Handicap Chase

A competitive affair but one that HAPPYGOLUCKY has all the attributes to come out on top.

Fourth at the Festival last year over hurdles, Kim Bailey's charge has taken well to fences and can continue his improvement here.

Milan Native won at this meeting in 2020 and has been laid out for this race, so can give the selection the most to think about.

Aye Right has had a fine season but may be high enough in the weights, while Cepage could give you a run for your money at bigger odds.


  • 1 Happygolucky
  • 2 Milan Native
  • 3 Aye Right
  • 4 Cepage

3.05 Unibet Champion Hurdle

The highlight of the opening day and a cracking renewal.

Girl power is to the fore with Honeysuckle and jockey Rachael Blackmore worthy favourites and sure to go close.

Nobody would begrudge Goshen victory after falling in last year's Triumph Hurdle when certain to win and bouncing back to his best last time out.

But while EPATANTE was disappointing on her last start over Christmas, Nicky Henderson is a master at getting his horses right for the big meetings and can record a repeat success in this race.


  • 1 Epatante
  • 2 Honeysuckle
  • 3 Goshen

3.40 Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle

Another short-priced Irish favourite in Concertista, who deserves her place at the head of the market.

But ROKSANA was hugely impressive last time and stays further than this trip so will be doing her best work at the finish.

These two could prove a class above their rivals, but Dame De Compagnie won the Coral Cup last year and could get involved if at her very best.


  • 1 Roksana
  • 2 Concertista
  • 3 Dame De Compagnie

4.15 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

An extremely difficult race to get to the bottom of, but RIVIERE D'ETEL may find improvement to land the spoils.

Although disappointing last time, the potential is there for a big run for Denise Foster.

Connections have decided to run Saint Sam here instead of the Triumph Hurdle, while Paul Nicholls has talked up Houx Gris who will be vying for favouritism.

Busselton has twice been placed in quality races this season and has a chance.


  • 1 Riviere D'etel
  • 2 Saint Sam
  • 3 Houx Gris
  • 4 Busselton

4.50 Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices' Chase

Galvin won at Cheltenham in October and will be fancied to make it five straight wins.

But NEXT DESTINATION has also impressed this season and with stamina to the fore can get his head in front.

Remastered looks a solid each-way bet at decent odds.


  • 1 Next Destination
  • 2 Galvin
  • 3 Remastered