Bob picks for Day 1 of the #cheltenhamfestival

1:30 Supreme Novices

This looks like it might be a tight affair as you would expect at the Festival. However, one horse does tick more of the boxes than the others and that is the current favourite KLASSICAL DREAM. It is in the right age range, last ran and won in February, is a previous distance winner and has an SP under 12/1. WP Mullins is also a big plus here and has won 3 times in the last few years. Being the favourite is usually not good but if the going stays at Good to Soft this would be okay as the favourite has only won at Good to Soft in the last 10 years and btoh times they were Mullin’s horses.

1pt Win – KLASSICAL DREAM

2:10 The Arkle Challenge

I cannot see beyond GLEN FORSA getting this one. The boxes have been ticked in all the right places, Distance and Going winner, last race won in Feb, Irish, Sadler’s Wells Pedigree, favourite and SP below 9/1.

1pt Win – GLEN FORSA

2:50 Festival Trophy (Ultima) Handicap Chase

This one looks difficult to pick, the top horses all tick the boxes in slightly different ways BUT …… in the last 10 years the winner has always been a previous distance winner and a lot of tomorrows runners are not. So I am drawn towards COO STAR SIVOLA to pull it out of the bag.

1pt Win – COO STAR SIVOLA

3:30 – Champion Hurdle

This looks to be one of the great battles between two great horses. For me despite the fact that APPLES JADE is a mare, she ticks more boxes than the great Buveur D’Air. Chances are neither of them will win and everyone will look silly!

1pt Win – APPLES JADE

4:10 – The Mares Hurdle

Mullins is the man. He has won here more times than anyone in the last ten years and most of them with the same horse. His habit is not to run them in the current season and then watch them win! This profile fits his top runner BENIE DES DIEUX who I cannot see losing.

1pt Win – BENIE DES Dieux

4:50 The Centenary (Close Brothers) Novices Chase

For me A Plus Tard does not tick all the historical stats being too young and not winning last time out. RIDERS ON THE STORM makes a better job of fitting the profile.

1pt WIN – RIDERS ON THE STORM

5:30 – The National Hunt Challenge Cup

Tempted to go with Ballyward but favourites do not generally win and even less so on Good to Soft ground. Instead I am going to go for JERRYSBACK, last run in Jan and placed, around the right age and OR, Irish and placed on the same going before.

1pt Win – JERRYSBACK

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