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Cheltenham Festival 2024 Day One: Who the favourites are and their recent form

All eyes are on Prestbury Park this morning, as the races get underway, and 60,000 people get ready to hear the famous Cheltenham Roar.

The first race which is the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, gets underway at 13:30, with Tullyhill being the favourite at 10/3.

A winner at Punchestown in February, Tullyhill has looked in great form since swapping jockeys from Patrick Mullins to Paul Townend. Mystical Power (7/2), also a winner in Punchestown in his last run, is predicted to be Tullyhill’s closest rival.

Later at 14:10, the My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase gets underway, with Gaelic Warrior the clear favourite for this event, currently going at 2/1. Although the horse unseated Townend last time out in Leopardstown while 17 lengths down, he has still managed six wins in the last seven outings.

In the first handicap of the festival at 14:50, we currently have four horses set to go off at 13/2, Chianti Classico, The Goffer, Trelawne, and Meetingofthewaters.

Chianti Classico has been in the best form of the bunch lately, with two wins and a second in his last three races since returning from a 210-day break.

The headline race of the day is the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy which gets underway at 15:30. For the Champion Hurdle it’s all eyes on State Man, another Willie Mullin-trained horse. As it stands he is set to go off at 2/9, and with three wins from three across the season, it’d be no surprise if State Man crossed the line first.

In the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle which goes off after the Champion Hurdle at 16:10, there is another heavily backed favourite, and once again it’s Willie Mullin-trained and Townend-ridden.

Lossiemouth, a winner at Cheltenham in January in the Unibet Hurdle, as well as a winner at the festival last year in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, is currently set at 4/5. Lossiemouth has won six of her last seven, and with the other result being a runners’ up, leads the mare in good stead for later.

Lossiemouth at Cheltenham a couple days ago.

However, You Wear it Well shouldn’t be overlooked at 20/1 as our reporters spoke to Jamie Snowden earlier this week, and he’s confident they could cause an upset to the dominant Mullins’ stable

We once again see some longer odds as we return to handicapped racing, with the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at 16:50.

Milan Tino is the backed favourite at 11/2, despite never being a winner before. A run at the January meeting in Cheltenham saw him take the lead early, before a mistake two out from the finish saw him slow to third.

Milan Tino in their last run before the race

In the final race of the day, it’s Embassy Gardens that’s the favourite in the Maureen Mullins National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase.

The horse is currently set at 15/8 and has seen good form recently when being ridden by Townend. However, it is Patrick Mullins taking the reigns this evening, having last rode Embassy Gardens to victory at Leopardstown in 2021.

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