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LET’S GET SET for the start of Cheltenham then, shall we?

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1.30pm: Supreme Novices Hurdle
1st Vautour 7-2jf, 2nd Jossies Hill 14-1, 3rd Vaniteux 11-1.

2.05pm: Arkle Chase
1st Western Warhorse 33-1, 2nd Champagne Fever 11-4jf, 3rd Trifolium 11-4jf.

2.40pm: Baylis & Harding Handicap Chase
1st Holywell 10-1, 2nd Ma Filleule 16-1, 3 The Package 16-1.

3.20pm: Champion Hurdle
1st Jezki 9-1, 2nd My Tent Or Yours 3-1, 3rd The New One 10-3.

4pm: David Nicholson Mares Hurdle
1st Quevega 8-11, 2nd Glen’s Melody 14-1, 3rd L’Unique 25-1.

4.40pm: National Hunt Chase
1st Midnight Prayer 8-1, 2nd Shotgun Paddy 7-2, 3rd Suntiep 9-1.

5.15pm: Novices Handicap Chase
1st Present View 8-1, 2nd Attaglance 10-1, 3rd Pendra 8-1


And so it begins. After all the build-up and anticipation, Day 1 of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival is upon us. Let’s get set, horse racing fans and the many who will become fans for this week.

So what’s on the agenda today?

  • 1.30pm – Supreme Novices Hurdle.
  • 2.05pm – Arkle Chase
  • 2.40pm – Festival Handicap Chase
  • 3.20pm – Champion Hurdle
  • 4pm – David Nicholson Mares Hurdle
  • 4.40pm – National Hunt Chase
  • 5.15pm – Novices Handicap Chase

The big one is at 3.20pm with the Champion Hurdle taking place. Hurricane Fly is aiming to win the race for the third time in four years but in our poll from this morning, it’s The New One that readers are backing.

So what’s your strategy when it comes to picking a winner this week? Brian Gleeson is warning against being tempted in early.

First up is the Supreme Novices Hurdle at 1.30pm. Irving, Vautour and Wicklow Brave the main fancies.

So you’re an Irish rugby player and you’re out injured during the Six Nations. What to do? Cheltenham is Sean O’Brien’s answer.

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Latest Betting: Irving 4-1, Vautour 4-1, Wicklow Brave 8-1, Gilgamboa 10-1, Vaniteux 11-1, Josses Hill 16-1, The Liquidator 16-1.

Nick Schofield in the saddle for Irving with Ruby Walsh on board Vautour. Paul Townend is Wicklow Brave’s jockey and Tony McCoy is on Gilgamboa.

So who’s your tip for the opener? Champagne Fever was the winner of this race last year for the Ruby Walsh-Willie Mullins combination.

And they’re off in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, accompanied by the customary Cheltenham roar.

They’re over the first, seven to jump.

Spalsh of Ginge leading early on with Vautour.

The Liquidator also moving well, just behind the leader Vautour.

Vautour still ahead, with three left to jump.

Vautour wins for Ruby Walsh!

Great start to the week for Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins.

Second year in a row that Walsh and Mullins take the opener at Cheltenham.

Here’s how they finished:

1st Vautour 7-2JF

2nd Jossies Hill 14-1

3rd Vaniteux 11-1

Disappointing effort from the other fancied horse Irving but Vautour led from the start and finished strongly.

Irving ‘felt flat form the start’ according to jockey Nick Schofield.

Next up at 2.05pm is the Arkle Chase.

Simonsig won this race last year for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty.

‘Good start to Ruby Tuesday’ says reader Sean Dalton, referring to Vautour’s win. Last year Ruby claimed a treble on the opening day, will he do likewise on this occasion? He’s on the favourite in the next race in Champagne Fever for Mullins.

Champagne Fever won the Supreme Novices Hurdle last year and is chasing glory once more.

Right, here’s the latest betting for the Arkle:

Champagne Fever 9/4, Trifolium 11/4, Rock on Ruby 4/1, Dodging Bullets 5/1, Grandouet 15/2, Valdez 15/2, Ted Veale 16/1, Western Warhorse 25/1.

Ruby on board Champagne Fever, Bryan Cooper on Trifolium, Noel Fehily on Rock on Ruby, Daryl Jacob on Dodging Bullets, Barry Geraghty on Grandouet and Richard Thornton on Valdez.

Right we’re getting set for the Arkle Chase.

Champagne Fever and Trifolium the ones to watch here for this two mile race. They’ve jumped two fences with twelve to go.

Rock on Ruby almost gone there but Noel Fehilly did superbly to hold on and stay aboard.

Champagne Fever leading them out, ahead of Trifolium.

Champagne Fever looking good so far.

Photo finish in the Arkle between Western Warhorse and Champagne Fever!

Western Warhorse wins the Arkle!

What a race as 33/1 shot Western Warhorse wins with Tom Scudamore on board for trainer David Pipe.

Fantastic race with Champagne Fever leading throughout and being challenge strongly by Trifolium before Western Warhorse pipped it at the line.

That’s a huge upset and here’s the full result:

1st  Western Warhorse 33-1

2nd Champagne Fever 11-4jf

3rd Trifolium 11-4jf

Any of ye see that coming? No, us neither. Champagne Fever and Trifolium were the main fancies amongst the learned pundits in

Western Warhorse on route to winning the last race.

Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

So it’s the Handicap Chase next, Golden Chieftain was last year’s winner.

Latest Betting: Alfie Sherrin 7/1, Hadrians Approach 8/1, Holywell 10/1, Time For Rupert 11/1, Wrong Turn 11/1, Tour Des Champs 11/1.

Underway in the Handicap Chase and it’s Tour Des Champs leading.

Three fences left.

Holywell wins the Handicap Chase!

10-1 shot Holywell wins the Baylis & Harding Handicap Chase.

Here’s the full result:

1 Holywell 10-1

2 Ma Filleule 33-1

3 The Package 16-1

Tip of the hat to our reader Paul Radburn as well, who posted this comment at 1.05pm.

So we’re gearing up for the big one now, it’s the Champion Hurdle at 3.20pm.

Here we go, it’s the big one of the day. Hurricane Fly the favourite but plenty challengers in My Tent Or Yours, The New One, Our Conor and Jezki.

Latest betting: Hurricane Fly 11-4, My Tent Or Yours 3-1, The New One 3-1, Our Conor 5-1, Jezki 10-1.

It looks like it’s between those five. Ruby is on Hurricane Fly, AP McCoy on My Tent Or Yours, Sam Twiston-Davies on The New One, Danny Mullins on Our Conor and Barry Geraghty on Jezki.

This is the one we’ve been waiting for, let’s go.

They’re underway.

Our Conor leading early on.

Captain Cee Bee just behind Our Conor.

Our Conor is a faller!

Captain Cee Bee in front now.

Hurricane Fly in second, Jezki in third.

Three fences left.

Jezki wins!

Incredible as Barry Geraghty guides Jezki to overtake My Tent Or Yours and Hurricane Fly to win the Champion Hurdle.

Who saw that coming? Huge win for Jezki.

Jessica Harrington, winning trainer, describes it as ‘absolutely amazing’.

2nd was My Tent Or Yours and 3rd was The New One.

Here’s the result in full:

1st Jezki 9-1

2nd My Tent Or Yours 3-1

3rd The New One 10-3

Hurricane Fly the favourite was fourth with Our Conor falling during the race.

Terrible news reaching us that Our Conor has had to be put down after suffering a severe back injury.

All eyes now on Quevega in the next race in the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle.

Sirene Dainay and Highland Retreat leading the way so far.

Quevega a bit of work to do now.

Sirene Dainay still the leader with two to go.

Quevega starting to move.

Quevega wins it!

A record 6th victory at the Cheltenham festival for Quevega and a second win of the day for the Ruby Walsh-Willie Mullins combination.

Definite victory for the punters there. Quevega finishing like a train to win it.

Here’s the result in full:

1st Quevega 8-11

2nd Glen’s Melody 14-1

3rd L’Unique 25-1

Two races left today with the National Hunt Steeple Chase at 4.40pm and the Centenary Novice Chase at 5.15pm.

Midnight Prayer wins the National Hunt Chase!

8/1 shot the winner for trainer Alan King and jockey Joshua Newman.

Shotgun Paddy second with Suntiep back in third spot there.

Here’s the result in full:

1st Midnight Prayer 8/1

2nd Shotgun Paddy 7/2

3rd Suntiep 9/1

Last race of the day coming up with the Centenary Novice Chase. Art of Logistics the favourite here.

And Present View wins the last race of the day, Novices Handicap Chase.

Here’s the result in full:

1st Present View 8-1

2nd Attaglance 10-1

3rd Pendra 8-1

So that brings an end to our coverage of Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival. Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for joining in. We’ll be back tomorrow when the feature race is the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole