Horse Racing

Cheltenham Festival Day 1: It’s Champion Hurdle Day

The big names are out on day one, but will conditions suit the Irish runners?

We’re off to the races all this week, looking today at the Cheltenham Festival day 1. 28 races make up the most hotly-contested event in the racing calendar with almost 500 horses competing for £1m in prize money every day. This year’s festival runs 13-16 March and we’ll keep you up to date on air and online with the previews and results.

Cheltenham Festival Day 1

Here’s how the agenda looks for day one of this year’s Cheltenham Festival, with seven races on the card. The highlight of today is the Champion Hurdle at 3.30pm with Buveur D’Air and Faugheen expected to line out.

  • 1.30pm: Sky Best Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 2.10pm: Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novice’s Chase (Grade 1)
  • 2.50pm: Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
  • 3.30pm: Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)
  • 4.10pm: OLGB Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 4.50pm: National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
  • 5.30pm: Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed)

13 horses go to post for the Champion Hurdle which tops the bill on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival. Talk though is likely to be dominated by the conditions.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has an amazing record in the Champion Hurdle which he boosted last year when saddling the first two home as Buveur D’Air beat My Tent or Yours. Both horses go to post again, with Henderson delighted with the Champion’s build up.

The huge Irish invasion will look to Champion Trainer Willie Mullins to get them off to a flying start. It was a huge shock last year when Mullins had to wait for Day Three for his first winner. With favourites Getabird and Footpad in the first two races this year he’s hoping normality will return.

Young trainer Harry Whittington has his best chance yet of a first Festival win when he saddles Saint Calvados in the Arkle Chase, the first Grade 1 steeplechase of the Festival.

He’s won all his three Novice Chases this season and Whittington’s hopeful he can get even better.

Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Preview

We’ve been speaking to Tony Mullins for his thoughts ahead of racing on day 1.

Our coverage of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is brought to you by Flynn’s Carlow Nissan and the Nissan Navara 4×4 Double Cab, with 3.5 tonne towing capacity.

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