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

1.30: Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle

We kick off with one of the most eagerly-anticipated races of the festival - and hopefully Britain can get an early winner on the board.

CONSTITUTION HILL has looked a machine in his two starts so far, and his change of pace up the infamous Cheltenham hill could be vital here.

Nicky Henderson has another leading fancy in Jonbon, but Dysart Dynamo could provide the biggest danger.

Willie Mullins's charge boasts an unbeaten record and impressively won a Group 2 race at Punchestown last time.


  • 1 Constitution Hill (nap)
  • 2 Dysart Dynamo
  • 3 Jonbon

2.10: Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase

A race we think it's worth taking a chance on a horse at decent odds.

Edwardstone will likely start favourite for Alan King and deserves his position at the head of the market, but has not impressed in previous Festivals.

Blue Lord won the Irish equivalent of this race and is three out of three over fences, beating Riviere D'etel.

There will not be much between the pair again, but at a much bigger price we like the look of COEUR SUBLIME.

Although well beaten by Riviere D'etel in December, Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore have been quietly talking up their charge and at an each-way price can outrun the odds.


  • 1 Coeur Sublime
  • 2 Blue Lord
  • 3 Riviere D'etel

2.50: Ultima Handicap Chase

A competitive affair and while plenty boast leading claims, DEATH DUTY looks to have a leading chance.

Gordon Elliott's 11-year-old has had his problems and once went off favourite for the Albert Bartlett hurdle here.

But his mark has dropped significantly and off just 10st 6lbs, and with an encouraging run last time out, can land the honours.

Ben Dundee is another who showed positive signs last time out, while Full Back and Grumpy Charley are big odds but both are capable of running into a place.


  • 1 Death Duty
  • 2 Ben Dundee
  • 3 Full Back
  • 4 Grumpy Charley

3.30: Unibet Champion Hurdle

The big race of the opening day and all eyes will be on HONEYSUCKLE and Rachael Blackmore.

The pair have dominated this sphere in maintaining a flawless record over hurdles, and another victory here will raise the roof.

If she runs to anywhere near her best, she wins again.

Appreciate It looks the obvious danger having won last year's Supreme, while former winner Epatante is the best British hope, but has plenty on her plate.


  • 1 Honeysuckle
  • 2 Appreciate It
  • 3 Epatante

4.10: Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle

Ireland have the first seven in the betting, with QUEENS BROOK our selection.

Although beaten by Burning Victory last month, the better ground will help Gordon Elliott's horse.

The Nicky Henderson-trained Marie's Rock is the leading hope from England, and can continue her upward curve and threaten the favourites.


  • 1 Queens Brook
  • 2 Marie's Rock
  • 3 Burning Victory

4.50: Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

An extremely difficult race to get to the bottom of, but GAELIC WARRIOR has been the 'talking horse' in the lead-up here.

Proven in France, he has been allocated what looks a very generous handicap mark and, if running up to his French form, could bolt up.

He does come with risks, however, being without a run since June and yet to set foot on a racecourse in the UK.

But Willie Mullins is a master and will likely have him spot-on.

Gordon Elliott is mob handed with The Tide Turns his leading light and fancied to go close.

At bigger odds Brazil and Too Friendly have place claims.


  • 1 Gaelic Warrior
  • 2 The Tide Turns
  • 3 Brazil
  • 4 Too Friendly

5.30: Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices' Chase

A disappointing turn-out with just six runners, four trained in Ireland and two in Wales.

RUN WILD FRED looks the one to beat, having had just three starts this season but more experience than most.

Rebecca Curtis is double-handed and Pats Fancy is her main fancy. Although he has only run in handicaps, looked good last time and can grab a place.


  • 1 Run Wild Fred
  • 2 Pats Fancy