The opening day of the Festival, and it’s the opening race that produces the now famous ‘Cheltenham Roar’. There are some big races today including the Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase and the National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup to look forward to, ahead of Ladies Day tomorrow, St Patrick’s Day on Thursday and finally the Gold Cup on Friday.
Champion’s Day 2018: Betting Specials & Offers For Existing Customers
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Horse Racing : Betfair customers can now collect points on every bet placed
Betfair Customers will now have the opportunity to collect Rewards4Racing points on every bet placed.
Just make sure your email matches on both accounts and start collecting points.
Horse Racing : Betfred Best Odds Guaranteed
Take an early price on your selection and if the SP returned is bigger Betfred will pay you out at the bigger price.
Horse Racing : Betvictor Best Odds Guaranteed
Take the Early or Board Price and Betvictor will pay out at the Starting Price if it’s bigger, guaranteed. Ensure you read the full terms and conditions on the 'Offers' page.
Horse Racing: Bet365 Price Promise
bet365 will be best price or joint best price on every horse for all races shown live on ITV Racing.
Applies to bets placed on Win and Each-Way Fixed Odds markets from 10am on the day of the race. Prices matched against selected bookmakers. Bet restrictions and T&Cs apply.
Horse Racing : Betvictor Betfinder tool helps you find your best horse to bet on
The Betfinder is Betvictor's new tool in their horse racing area. It is using the latest TimeForm data to help you pick a horse to back.
Add your criteria, such as form, weight, star rating and recent performance filters to help you pick the best horses for the day. Ensure you read full terms and conditions before partaking in any offer.
Horse Racing: Bet365 Best Odds Guaranteed
bet365 offer Best Odds Guaranteed on every horse race - every day!
When you place your bet with bet365, take the price on your selection - and if the SP is bigger they will pay you out at the bigger odds! Ante-Post, Tote/Pari-Mutuel (bets and dividends), 'Not to Win', Enhanced Win, Cover Bets and In-Play bets are excluded.
This offer includes Board Prices, bet365 Early Prices, singles and multiples as well as Showcast bets on all racing where a fixed price is offered. Offer applies to bets placed on Win and Each Way Fixed Odds markets and Enhanced Place Terms markets only. All other markets, including adjusted place terms (Each Way Extra), Ante-Post bets (unless otherwise stated) and Tote/Pari-Mutuel (bets and dividends), are excluded from this offer. All Australasian Racing is excluded.
For example, if you take an Early Price of 3/1 and your selection wins at 4/1, you get paid at 4/1!
T&Cs apply. Only available to new and eligible customers.
Horse Racing : Betvictor Run For Your Money
Betvictor will refund all losing bets (in cash) on British and Irish racing on horses who fail to give punters A Run For Their Money and refuse or whip around at the start, fail to come out or lose all chance at the stalls.
The following do not qualify for this promotion:
The promoter (the Promoter) is BetVictor Limited, a company registered in Gibraltar (company number 42734) with its registered office at Suite 23, Portland House, Glacis Road, Gibraltar, GX11 1AA and trading from Suite 2:01, World Trade Center, Bayside Road, Gibraltar, GX11 1AA.
Bet365 Extra Each-Way
Each Way Extra gives you the option to increase or decrease the number of places in a race when you are betting Each Way on selected Horse Races at bet365.
When you use Each Way Extra you can add places to your Each Way Horse Racing bets and take a reduced price or remove places and increase the odds on your selection.
The number of Each Way Extra places offered on a race can be viewed on the Each Way Extra coupon or on the bet slip.
Each Way Extra bets will not be eligible for bet365 Price Promise, Best Odds Guaranteed, ITV Racing 4/1 Offer or Feature Race 4/1 Offer, except where a new or eligible customer selects place terms that match the standard Win and Each Way market for that race.
Where Enhanced Place Terms are offered on a race and selected by a new or eligible customer, Best Odds Guaranteed, ITV Racing 4/1 Offer and Feature Race 4/1 Offer will apply.
13.30 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race
This race has often been won by one of the market leaders in recent years, with Altior and Douvan among previous winners before embarking on chasing careers. Irish trainer Willie Mullins was victorious in three successive years from 2013 but his compatriot Gordon Elliott saddled the surprise 25/1 winner Labaik last March.
14.10 The Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
This is a race for the leading 2m Novice chasers and Altior comfortably won this contest last season after winning the Supreme Novices Hurdle twelve months earlier. Champion two-milers Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre have also won this race en route to further glory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in later seasons.
Sprinter Sacre, Un De Sceaux, Douvan and Altior have won the Arkle trophy at Cheltenham within the last seven seasons and Irish horse Footpad has been installed as favoured to join those illustrious names by winning the 2018 renewal. Although, he is priced at approximately 6/4 to achieve that task, he does face some creditable opposition.
The Willie Mullins gelding finished fourth in last season’s Champion Hurdle and then switched to fences at the beginning of the current campaign. He has since responded by winning all three novice chases with his first two successes achieved via comfortable 10+ length margins.
In his final prep race for Cheltenham, Footpad beat Petit Mouchoir by five lengths at the beginning of February, and he was eased near to the winning post. It appeared another comfortable victory, but the runner-up had not raced since a winning debut over fences back in October. Petit Mouchoir was running on strongly at the end of that Leopardstown race last month and could provide a sterner challenge to the favourite at the Festival. He also beat Footpad twice over hurdles last season.
Among the other challengers to Footpad, Saint Calvados could be an interesting opponent. The former horse has won all three chases to date including an impressive victory 20+ lengths victory in his previous appearance last month. He is an improving gelding but it is difficult to assess whether he may have the necessary class to win this Grade 1 contest. The Harry Whittington horse also has raced just three times in the UK on relatively flat tracks.
A late setback has ensured that Sceau Royal from the Alan King stable will not compete but Nicky Henderson is still confident of Brain Power offering a decent challenge. Following a poor run and a heavy fall at Ascot in his previous appearance, he has undergone a minor wind operation but his jumping remains suspect and there will be doubts regarding his confidence.
14.50 The Ultima Handicap Chase
A contest over three miles for horses considered just lacking the necessary class to compete in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Owner J P McManus, with his famous green and gold hoops colours, has often targeted this race and trainer Jonjo O’Neill can claim three victories since 2009. However, David Pipe has won the latest two renewals with Un Temps Pour Tout carrying more 11st 7lb or more on both occasions.
15.30 The Champion Hurdle
This is the feature race of Day 1, and recent renewals have tended to favour horses near or at the head of the betting market. Willie Mullins has won the race four times since 2011 with Faugheen aiming to repeat the feat of former stable star Hurricane Fly in regaining the title. However, Nicky Henderson will hope to earn a fourth win since 2009 as Buveur D’air attempts to retain his crown.
A glance at the 2018 Champion Hurdle betting would suggest that Buveur D’air is one of the bankers at the Cheltenham festival with odds as low as 2/5 with some bookmakers for the horse winning the race for the second successive season. His current form would indicate that he could be difficult to beat in this contest.
Buveur D’air began the season by winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle before claiming the Kempton Christmas Hurdle in emphatic style. His victory in a Sandown hurdle race last month was less assured when beating John Constable, but jockey Barry Geraghty may have been trying reserve as much of the horse’s energy as possible with more difficult and valuable races awaiting.
Opposing Buveur D’air is likely to be the 2015 Champion Hurdler Faugheen who many observers have reckoned to be a fading force. After winning on his seasonal debut at Punchestown during November, the 10-year-old gelding was pulled up in the Ryanair Hurdle over the Christmas period. Nothing emerged from tests intended to explain that uncharacteristic poor performance with Faugheen reappearing last month at Leopardstown.
The Willie Mullins trained horse finished second to Supasundae that day amid suggestions that he may now just lack that necessary turn of foot at the end of a race. However, Faugheen may emerge a better horse for that race although reproducing his form of 2015 may be not be possible.
Other contenders for the Champion Hurdle include My Tent Or Yours who has finished second in three Champion Hurdles and rarely runs a poor race. The Nicky Henderson trained horse offers decent each way value at 10-1, while Mullins may saddle Yorkhill following a poor chasing campaign this season. His 8-year-old gelding did win the 2m5f novice hurdle at the 2016 Festival and the JLT Novices’ Chase last year.
Another horse to consider for the place money could be Elgin who is set to be supplemented for the event. The Alan King trained horse has been campaigned in handicap company this season, but he has earned his chance in this race by winning last month’s Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.
16.10 The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle Race
Formerly known as the David Nicholson Mares’ hurdle, this race was first staged in 2008 and has been monopolised by Irish trainers since 2009. Gordon Elliott ended an eight-year winning sequence for Willie Mullins last season.
16.50 The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Steeple Chase)
This is one of three races at the Festival that is restricted to amateur riders, and it is also the longest race of the meeting at approximately four miles in distance. Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has saddled six winners of this race but in more recent seasons, Gordon Elliott has claimed three of the last seven renewals.
17.30 The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap
Originally staged in 2005, the last eight winners of this 2m4f race have carried 11st 4lb in weight or more. The contest usually attracts a maximum field of 20 runners, and horses priced at 11/1, 12/1 and 8/1 have won the previous three editions.