Cheltenham 2024 | Day One: Selections and Naps

All the build-up has led to this. All the talk and previews can finally end. Cheltenham. Is. Back. And we kick off in style with the roar of all roars. We kick off with the supreme and head on to a competitive Arkle, followed by two superstars of the turf. Here are my tips for Day One.


NAP: Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) – JERIKO DU REPONET @ 15/2 (William Hill, Boylesports, BetUK)

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I think that the first five in the market hold all the aces, but there’s big weaknesses to each horse at the head of the market.

Tullyhill slows on his jumping, which is concerning coming into what is usually a fast-paced race. No horse round Cheltenham can jump like he did. The form from his Listed win at Punchestown is yet to be tested.

Mystical Power, for me, is all hype and no substance. The form from the Moscow Flyer hasn’t worked out, and there hasn’t been a winner of the Moscow Flyer/Supreme since Cheltenham legend Douvan in 2015.

Slade Steel is only avoiding Ballyburn, which is cowardly behaviour from Henry de Bromhead. Particularly when this horse looks more like a Baring Bingham horse than a Supreme.

Firefox was wrongly stepped up in distance last time out, and Ballyburn is the only horse to frank the form in the 24 strong field. He hasn’t proved himself at this level.

Therefore, I’ve landed on Jeriko Du Reponet. He was workmanlike at Doncaster, but his previous tow runs at Newbury looked very stylish. His form from the Grade Two at Doncaster has worked out a treat, with the second and third the one-two at Kempton, and El Elefante winning at Ayr on Friday. Wearing the first colours of JP McManus isn’t always a sign but take not of it.

Take note of Mistergif. Never ignore a horse with an 18-length victory on debut and could run a cracking race if there’s not much pace on. 11/1 (William Hill, Betfred, Boylesports).


E/W BET: Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade One) – Master Chewy @ 16/1 (General)

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Despite everyone saying that JPR One is the best British hope for the race, they can’t rule out Master Chewy. JPR One was idling in the Lightning Novices’ Chase at Lingfield and was nowhere near convincing to be raised up to the dizzying heights of 150.

For Master Chewy, he’s won a Graded race in supreme fashion at Kempton over Christmas. Of which, Nickle Back backed the form up in the Scilly Isles’ Chase at Sandown. His run in the lightning was severely hampered by Djelo at the first and never got going after that, so draw a line through the run.

Gaelic Warrior can’t jump left-handed, which beggars’ belief why he’s favourite. Il Etait Temps wants further and JPR One is unreliable. Master Chewy is the e/w angle in the Arkle.


Handicap Best: Ultima Handicap Chase (Premier) – Chianti Classico @ 7/1 (BetUK)

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Cheltenham trainer Kim Bailey will always have his horses prepped for whichever race he aims them towards. Chianti Classico has been a massive project. He pulled up in last year’s Albert Bartlett but has come back this season looking like a different animal. His successes at Kempton and Chepstow are well noted and has come into the Ultima and a low weight. Novices have seemed to have the upper hand in the Ultima in recent years and Bailey likes the look of what Chianti Classico brings to the table.

His stablemate Trelawne is also a fascinating horse. He’ll relish the softer conditions on the Tuesday and has plenty to build on from his Exeter run. His run at Cheltenham was good behind both Ginny’s Destiny and Grey Dawning, managing to finish two-and-a-half lengths in front of Crebilly. He’s only a pound higher in the weights than his stablemate. The, always, in-form Harry Cobden takes the ride. 8/1 (William Hill, Boylesports, BetUK).

Minella Crooner was not at his best in the Bobbyjo Chase. He doesn’t stay much over three-and-a-half miles after he pulled up in last year’s National Hunt Chase and the Porterstown Chase. He’s run two good races, however, with a close third in the New Year’s Day Chase and a win in the M.W Hickey Memorial Chase. He’s only sightly better off at the weights than his stablemate but has a chance of outrunning his odds. 25/1 (William Hill, BetUK).



13:30 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (GRADE ONE) – JERIKO DU REPONET (NAP) @ 15/2 (Boylesports, BetUK), Mistergif 11/1 e/w (William Hill, Betfred, Boylesports)

14:10 – Arkle Challenge Trophy (GRADE ONE) – Found A Fifty @ 7/1 (Unibet, William Hill), Hunters Yarn (R/F), MASTER CHEWY E/W @ 16/1 (General)

14:50 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Premier) – CHIANTI CLASSICO @ 7/1 (BetUK), Trelawne @ 8/1 (William Hill, Boylesports, BetUK), Minella Crooner @ 25/1 (William Hill, BetUK)

15:30 – Unibet Champion Hurdle (GRADE ONE) – Nemean Lion (W/O State Man) @ 11/2 (William Hill)

16:10 – Mares’ Hurdle (GRADE ONE) – Love Envoi (W/O Lossiemouth) @ 13/2 (William Hill)

16:50 – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Premier) – Liari @ 9/1 (William Hill, Betfred), Nara e/w @ 12/1 (General), Miss Manzor e/w @ 14/1 (General), An Bradan Feasa e/w @ 25/1 (General)

17:30 – Maureen Mullins National Hunt Chase (Grade Two) – Corbetts Cross @ 9/4 (General)

The very best of luck!

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