Betting Tips and Previews: Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival 2020 Day One Preview featuring The Unibet Champion Hurdle

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Cheltenham Festival 2020 Day One Preview

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Well we’ve finally made it!

Welcome to Day One, Champions Day of The 2020 Cheltenham Festival!

Whether you’re lucky enough to be on your way to the track or settling down in your living room to watch the live coverage, we have everything you need to know about the first day of racing at Prestbury Park!


If you’re heading to The Cheltenham Festival today for the first time, check out our beginners guide to find out where to go for the best places to eat, drink and have a bet!

Today’s feature race is of course The Unibet Champion Hurdle at 1530 where the Nicky Henderson trained Epatante leads the market. But it’s a wide open race this year with plenty in with a shout!

So without further ado, let’s check out the race schedule for today!


1.30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y £125,000 (ITV)

2.10pm Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y £175,000 (ITV)

2.50pm Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f £110,000 (ITV)

3.30pm UNIBET CHAMPION HURDLE (Grade 1) 2m 87y £450,000 (ITV)

4.10pm Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y £120,000 (ITV)

4.50pm Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed) 2m 4f 44y £70,000

5.30pm National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase) (Grade 2) 3m 7f 147y £125,000


ITV 1 will be screening the first five races today as part of their comprehensive coverage.

The final two races can be seen on Racing TV. Viewers abroad can watch The Cheltenham Festival through Racing TV’s international package for £29.00 per month (one month minimum contract).


1330 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)

The opening race of The Cheltenham Festival, famed for heralding The Cheltenham Roar!

Check out our preview and tips for this race here!

Asterion Forlonge trained by Willie Mullins is the current favourite (11/4 William Hill paying places 1-7!) having won prestigious novice events in Ireland but has a tendency to jump to the right.

Shishkin (Unibet 100/30) has been the ante post market leader for quite some time after two brilliant performances at Huntingdon and Newbury.

Fiddlerontheroof (7/1 Bet Victor, Coral) a danger if the ground is bottomless.

TIP: Shishkin to win at 100/30 with Unibet!

1410 The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase (Grade 1)

The Grade 1 chase for speedy novice chasers! Expect to see enthusiasm but occasional novice like jumping errors!

Trainer Henry De Bromhead is expected to have a successful Cheltenham Festival and this could be the first of a flurry of winners in combination with rising star jockey Rachael Blackmore.

He brings Notebook (3/1 William Hill, Unibet) who has been superb all season.

Main dangers could come from JP McManus owned Fakir D’oudairies (9/2 William Hill) whilst Maire Banrigh (12/1 William Hill, Bet Victor, Unibet, Coral, Betfred) could be an each way chance.

TIP: Notebook to win at 3/1 William Hill


1450 The Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

The first of the big handicaps! 23 runners will slog it out in this very competitive stayer’s race.

The Conditional (9/1 Bet365) has a course and distance win, whilst Mister Malarkey (14/1 Unibet) and Who Dares Wins (11/1 Unibet) also have claims.

We think Kildisart (10/1 Unibet) is very well handicapped against his Aintree win last year and is our selection.

He is also one of our best handicap bets of the week!

Betfair and Paddy Power both offering 6 places for each way bets in this race!

TIP: Kildisart (each way) at 10/1 Unibet!

1530 The Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1)

The feature race of the day (check out our detailed preview!) is one of the most open renewals in recent years.

Trainer Nicky Henderson dominates this year with the exciting Epatante (7/2 Betfair, Bet Victor, Paddy Power, Unibet) but also holds last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills (11/2 William Hills, Bet Victor, Betfred).

Plenty of others in with a shout including Supasundae (12/1 Bet365) and our each way tip Cornerstone Lad (33/1 Betfair, Bet Victor, Paddy Power) who could be an interesting front runner on heavy ground.

Epatante, gaining the 7ib mares allowance, is our selection for the win option

TIP: Epatante (win) 7/2 Bet Victor, Cornerstone Lad (each way) at 33/1 Bet Victor

1610 The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1)

A fascinating all Irish clash between short priced favourite Benie Des Dieux and Honeysuckle rounds off the mainstream TV action of the day.

Benie Des Dieux (4/6 Paddy Power: all bets refunded on first day if 2nd, 3rd or 4th maximum bet £10) had this in the bag last year albeit for a last hurdle fall and should oblige this year.

Honeysuckle (5/2 Bet365, William Hill, Bet Victor, Betfred) is a danger if she improves.

Lady Buttons always runs a genuine race and could be good each way value at 25/1 (Bet365).

TIP: Benie Des Dieux to win 4/6 Paddy Power!

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1330 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
TIP: Shishkin to win, (100/30 Unibet)

1410 The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
TIP: Notebook to win, (3/1 William Hill, Unibet)

1450 The Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
TIP: Kildisart (each way) (10/1 Unibet)

TIP: Epatante (7/2 Betfair, Bet Victor, Paddy Power, Unibet) to win & Cornerstone Lad for each way (33/1 Betfair, Bet Victor, Paddy Power)

1610 The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1)
TIP: Benie Des Dieux to win (4/6 Paddy Power: all bets refunded on first day if 2nd, 3rd or 4th. Maximum bet £10)



Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (1pm 9th March 2020) and are subject to change.


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Matt is Howtobet4free's resident Horse Racing expert, writer, tipster and a huge Cheltenham Festival fan. He occasionally dabbles in Golf, Football and anything else you can gamble on!

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