Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing

Cheltenham Festival Day One preview: ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ set to get underway

After a year behind closed doors, Cheltenham Festival returns to normality today with close to 60,000 fans set to descend on Prestbury Park.

Seven races take place on Tuesday, the first day of four, including the Champion Hurdle, the second most lucrative race of the Festival behind Friday’s Gold Cup.

2021’s star jockey, Rachael Blackmore, who won six races last year, goes in the Champion Hurdle with odds-on favourite Honeysuckle, quoted at around 4/6 in most places.

Blackmore is in four races today in all, also with Coeur Sublime in the 2:10, with Telmesomethinggirl in the 4:10, and with Champion Green in the 4:50.

Three of those four horses are trained by Henry De Bromhead, who is fancied by some to usurp Willie Mullins as the leading trainer.

Mullins trained six winning horses in 2021, making him the most successful trainer for the third year in a row and for the eighth time in the last 11 years.

Honeysuckle is one of the heaviest favourites at Cheltenham in recent years, and is bidding to make it 15 wins from 15 starts under Rules and defend the Champion Hurdle.

Other favoured horses in the £400,000 race include the 4/1 Appreciate It, and Teahupoo, at 10/1.

The 16:10 Mares Hurdle looks like one of the closest races to call, with Telmesomethinggirl joint favourite with Queens Brook at 4/1, and Stormy Ireland just behind at 5/1.

There are no clear favourites in the 14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase, with Floueur the shortest price at 15/2.

All eyes will be on that one at 3:30, but with seven races to take place today to start the 28-race festival, excitement is palpable across Cheltenham.

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