It’s that time of year again, as punters all over the U.K. and Ireland gather every last penny and prepare for the biggest week on the horse racing calendar, Cheltenham.
Here is your SportsnewsIRELAND preview to the festival’s opening day:
William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Grade 1 Cl1 2m110y
The last favourite to win the Supreme was future Champion Hurdle winner Brave Inca. However, in My Tent or Yours we have a horse that may await the same future, judging by his winning-performance last time out at Newbury. Nicky Henderson came close last year with Darlan and hopefully punters will get off to a great start with the favourite here.
Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Grade 1 Cl1 2m
This will be another winning favourite for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty. Simonsig is a very talented horse that jumps well and was a winner here last year. He is a very short price and should win, barring a fall. The 3/1 for new customers is a massive bet.
JLT Specialty Handicap Chase Grade 3 Cl1 3m110y
Selection: FRUITY O ROONEY is 9/1 with Boylesports.com
Fruity O’ Rooney was runner up in this race last year off a pound higher mark and should have enough to go one better this year. Gary Moore’s yard are in great form and Fruity O’ Rooney should come out on top in this Grade 3 Handicap Chase. He has improved with every run this season and stayed on well up the hill after being outpaced from 3 furlongs out over an inadequate 2 miles 5 furlongs here in January.
Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy Grade 1 Cl1 2m110y
Selection: BINOCULAR is 10/1 with Boylesports.com
A former winner of this race in 2010, Binocular is expected to recapture his crown at the expense of Hurricane Fly. It is a big call considering Binocular finished third behind the ‘Fly’ last time out at Leopardstown, albeit on unsuitable ground. Binocular’s preparation for this year’s race has been running smoothly and he should add to a great day for the Henderson camp with a win on the predicted better ground.
Glenfarclas Handicap Chase (A Cross Country Chase) Cl2 3m7f
Selection: OUTLAW PETE is 11/2 with Boylesports.com
A winner here in December on good to soft ground off a 7lb lower mark, Outlaw Pete has had two unsuccessful runs since on very heavy ground. However, a return to better ground here should see him return to the winners enclosure for J P McManus who has a history of winners in this race.
OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) Grade 2 Cl1 2m4f
Selection: QUEVEGA is 4/7 with Boylesports.com
Quevega can make history here by winning the Mare’s Hurdle for the fifth consecutive time. The mare will be looking to win her first run of the season, a feat she has completed for the past three years. She is a class above the rest of the field and should too much for her opponents.