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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 22 March, 2018

The42′s Winning Post: Everything you need to enjoy day one of Cheltenham

And hopefully help you pick a winner.

All eyes will be on Faugheen more in hope than expectation on Tuesday.
All eyes will be on Faugheen more in hope than expectation on Tuesday.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Three big talking points…

1. FALLING AT THE first Hurdle? For a spell in the middle of this decade, you could take the first race of the Cheltenham Festival as a win for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh before the tape even dropped for the off.

Champagne Fever, Vautour and Douvan made it three wins in as many years for the combination between 2013-2015 and Mullins and Walsh will seek to get back to winning ways with Getabird (13/8) in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 1.30pm Tuesday.

However, Kalashnikov (9/2), Summerville Boy (9/1) and First Flow (11/1) could well have more to say in the outcome than the favourite.

2. Is Faugheen just spare parts? If we told you, in the wake of his 16 length win over Jezki in Punchestown last November, that you would get 6/1 odds on Faugheen to win the Unibet Champion Hurdle (Tuesday, 3.30pm), you’d probably suspect we’d lost our minds.

However, the evidence from his two runs since suggest the horse previously known as The Machine is in need of a complete overhaul. Yorkhill (12/1) and Wicklow Brave (14/1) will attract each way interest, but Buveur D’Air (8/15) is clearly the one to beat.

Footpad ridden by Paul Townend comes home to win Can Footpad justify his favouritism? Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

3. Will he put a Footpad wrong? Just five horses go to post in this year’s renewal of the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy (Tuesday, 2.10pm) with Footpad (evens) the favourite to follow in the, eh, footpads of the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Douvan and Moscow Flyer in this race.

Saint Calvados (3/1) looks the main challenger but Petit Mouchoir (10/3) is not without his chances.

NAP of the day…

It’s not going to make you a millionaire but Apple’s Jade (4/7) is the class of the field in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Tuesday, 4.10pm) and is as bankable as any banker has a right to be.

An each-way fancy…

Barry O'Neill on Shantou Flyer clears the last to win Will our each way pick do the business? Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The going makes the handicaps on day one ripe for long-odds winners and Shantou Flyer (14/1) is eight pounds better off than he was when finishing ahead of the favourite for the Ultima Handicap Chase (Tuesday, 2.50pm) — Coo Star Sivola (9/2) — around the same venue in January.


Anyone who watched Annie Power fall at the last a few years ago will know how accumulators pull you in only to break your heart at the last minute.

However, a four-way accumulator of Kalashnikov (9/2), Saint Calvados (3/1), Buveur D’Air (8/15) and Apples Jade (4/7) will return approximately €53 for every €1 gambled.

Douvan will run in the Champion Chase but the head-to-head with Altior may not happen

Originally published 7:01 PM, 12 Mar 2018

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