Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Guide

cheltenham featival day 1

Day 1 of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival begins the start of four days of racing at Cheltenham Racecourse. There are seven races taking place each day with Day 1 featuring three jumps races and four chases.

See the table below for details on all of the races taking place on day 1 of Cheltenham Festival 2021.

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Race Schedule

Start TimeRace 
13:30The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ HurdleBetting Offers
14:10The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy ChaseBetting Offers
14:50The Ultima Handicap Steeple ChaseBetting Offers
15:30The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge TrophyBetting Offers
16:10The Mares’ HurdleBetting Offers
16:50The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap ChaseBetting Offers
17:30The National Hunt Challenge Cup Betting Offers

The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

  • Date: Tuesday 16th March
  • Start Time: 13:30
  • Distance: 2m 1/2f
  • Type: Hurdle
  • Prize Money: £125,000

Looking for the best Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle odds? Click here.

The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the first race taking place at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival which will be greeted by spectators performing the ‘Cheltenham Roar’ on the off. It is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race which is open to horses aged 4 and over.

The race is a distance of approximately 2 miles and ½ furlong and there is a total of 8 hurdles for horses to jump before the finish line.

The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2019 winner was 5 year old Klassical Dream which was ridden by Ruby Walsh and trained by Willie Mullins. Klassical Dream went off in 2019 at odds of 6/1 getting many punters off to a flying start. 

Fancy a free Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle betting tip? Our expert horse racing analyst has picked out this 6/1 runner.

Past winners of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle include…

YearHorseAgePriceTrainerJockey
2019Klassical Dream56/1Willie MullinsRuby Walsh
2018Summerville Boy69-1Tom GeorgeNoel Fehily
2017Labaik625-1Gordon ElliottJack Kennedy
2016Altior64-1Nicky HendersonNico de Boinville
2015Douvan52-1FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2014Vautour57-2JFWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2013Champagne Fever65-1Willie MullinsRuby Walsh
2012Cinders And Ashes510-1Donald McCainJason Maguire
2011Al Ferof610-1Paul NichollsRuby Walsh
2010Menorah512-1Philip HobbsRichard Johnson

Did You Know?

  • 8 of the last 10 winners won their race previous to The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
  • 8 of the last 10 winners have won at least 50% of their hurdle starts
  • 9 of the last 10 winners ran within 59 days of competing in The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

You can watch The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle live on ITV or stream the race live on Bet365.


The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase

  • Date: Tuesday 16th March
  • Start Time: 14:10
  • Distance: 2m
  • Type: Chase
  • Prize Money: £175,000

Looking for the best Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase odds? Click here.

The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase is over a distance of approximately 2 miles and 7 furlongs. It is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase which is open to horses aged five and over. The race is named after the racehorse ‘Arkle’ who had the highest rating of any jumps horse in the history of horse racing.

The 2019 winner of The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase was Duc des Genievres which went off at 5-1. Previous to 2019, the favourite has gone on to win the race in 6 out of 7 of the races.

Previous winners of the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase include:

YearHorseAgePriceTrainerJockey
2019Duc des Genievres65-1Willie MullinsPaul Townend
2018Footpad65-6FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2017Altior71-4FNicky HendersonNico de Boinville
2016Douvan61-4FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2015Un De Sceaux74-6FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2014Western Warhorse633-1David PipeTom Scudamore
2013Simonsig78-15FNicky HendersonBarry Geraghty
2012Sprinter Sacre68-11FNicky HendersonBarry Geraghty
2011Captain Chris76-1Philip HobbsRichard Johnson
2010Sizing Europe86-1Henry de BromheadAndrew Lynch

Did You Know?

  • 9 of the last 10 winners were aged six or seven
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had a Starting Price of 6-1 or below.
  • All of the previous 10 winners finished in the first two on all completed chase starts.

You can watch The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase live on ITV or stream the race live on Bet365.

Brewin’upastorm is our 9/1 tip for the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase.


The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase

  • Date: Tuesday 16th March
  • Start Time: 14:50
  • Distance: 3m 1f
  • Type: Chase
  • Prize Money: £110,000

Looking for the best Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase odds? Click here.

The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase, or the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase as it was previously known as, is a Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase open to horses aged five and older.

The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase is the third race to take place at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival and will be run over a distance of approximately 3 miles and 1 furlong. Runners will jump twenty fences in a bid to collect the prize money of £110,000.

The winner of the 2019 Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase was Beware The Bear which was trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Jeremiah McGrath. The 10-1 winner gave Henderson his 61st winner at The Cheltenham Festival after he took the lead over the last and went on to win comfortably.

Previous winners of The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase include:

YearHorseAgePriceTrainerJockey
2019Beware The Bear910-1Nicky HenersonJeremiah McGrath
2018Coo Star Sivola65-1FNick WilliamsLizzie Kelly
2017Un Temps Pour Tout89-1David PipeTom Scudamore
2016Un Temps Pour Tout711-1David PipeTom Scudamore
2015The Druids Nephew88-1Neil MulhollandBarry Geraghty
2014Holywell710-1Jonjo O’NeillRichie McLernon
2013Golden Chieftain828-1Colin TizzardBrendan Powell
2012Alfie Sherrin914-1Jonjo O’NeillRichie McLernon
2011Bensalem85-1Alan KingRobert Thornton
2010Chief Dan George1033-1James MoffattPaddy Aspell

Did You Know?

  • 9 of the last 10 winners were aged seven to nine
  • 9 of the last 10 winners ran at the festival previous to winning
  • 8 of the last 10 winners have won over at least 3 miles

You can watch The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase live on ITV or stream the race live on Bet365.


The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

  • Date: Tuesday 16th March
  • Start Time: 15:30
  • Distance: 2m 1/2f
  • Type: Hurdle
  • Prize Money: £450,000

Looking for the best Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy odds? Click here.

The highlight of day 1 is the The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy which has prize money of no less than £450,000. The 2019 winner of this race was Espoir D’Allen which went off at 16/1 and was ridden by Mark Walsh. This was trainers Gavin Cromwell’s first winner at the Cheltenham Festival and Espoir D’Allen was the first 5 year old to win the prize since 2008 when Katchit romped home. Prior to that, ‘See You Then’ was the previous 5 year old winner back in 1985. Espoir d’Allen stopped Nicky Henderson’s Buveur d’Air from winning the race in three consecutive years but this year it is Epatante who is the bookies short-priced favourite and is looking like the one to beat. 

The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race has eight hurdles to be jumped over a distance of approximately 2 miles and ½ furlong.

Priced at 8/1, Saldier is our Unibet Champions Hurdle tip.

Previous winners of The Unibet Champions Hurdle Challenge Trophy include:

YearHorseAgePriceTrainerJockey
2019Espoir d’Allen516-1Gavin CromwellMark Walsh
2018Buveur D’Air74-6FNicky HendersonBarry Geraghty
2017Buveur D’Air65-1Nicky HendersonNoel Fehily
2016Annie Power85-2FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2015Faugheen74-5FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2014Jezki69-1Jessica HarringtonBarry Geraghty
2013Hurricane Fly913-8FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2012Rock On Ruby711-1Paul NichollsNoel Fehily
2011Hurricane Fly711-4FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2010Binocular69-1Nicky HendersonTony McCoy

Did You Know?

  • 9 of the last 10 winners have won a Grade 1 hurdle race
  • 8 of the last 10 winners were aged between six and eight
  • 7 of the last 10 winners had won their last race prior to winning the Champion Hurdle

You can watch The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy live on ITV or stream the race live on Bet365.


The Mares’ Hurdle Race

  • Date: Tuesday 16th March
  • Start Time: 16:10
  • Distance: 2m 4f
  • Type: Hurdle
  • Prize Money: £120,000

Looking for the best Mares’ Hurdle odds? Click here.

The Mares’ Hurdle, which up until 2011 was known as the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt race open to mares aged four and over. The race is run over a distance of approximately 2 miles and 4 furlongs and features ten hurdles.

The Mares’ Hurdle was only introduced in 2008 and was initially held on the final day at The Cheltenham Festival before being moved to the opening day the year after. It was also initially a Grade 2 race before being upgraded to Grade 1 in 2015.

The 2019 winner of The Mares’ Hurdle was Roksana which was a 7 year old mare trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by his brother Harry Skelton. Odds-on favourite Benie Des Dieux (10/11 F) which was ridden by Ruby Walsh, looked set to claim the major prize in 2019 before the Willie Mullins trained horse fell at the final hurdle. The fall let Roksana take the lead and hold on over the finish line. The 2019 win was Harry Skelton’s second victory at The Festival. If Benie Des Dieux had gone on to win that race it would have been Ruby Walsh’s 9th victory in The Mares’ Hurdle in the 12 years it has been running.

Previous winners of The Mares’ Hurdle include:

YearHorseAgePriceTrainerJockey
2019Roksana710-1Dan SkeltonHarry Skelton
2018Benie Des Dieux79-2Willie MullinsRuby Walsh
2017Apple’s Jade57-2Gordon ElliottBryan Cooper
2016Vroum Vroum Mag74-6FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2015Glens Melody76-1Willie MullinsPaul Townend
2014Quevega108-11FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2013Quevega98-11FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2012Quevega84-7FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2011Quevega75-6FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh
2010Quevega66-4FWillie MullinsRuby Walsh

Did You Know?

  • 9 of the last 10 winners were trained by Willie Mullins
  • 9 of the last 10 winners have achieved a top 3 finish in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 hurdle race
  • 8 of the last 10 winners were ridden by Ruby Walsh
  • 7 of the last 10 winners were the Starting Price favourite.

You can watch The Mares’ Hurdle live on ITV or stream the race live on Bet365.


The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase

  • Date: Tuesday 16th March
  • Start Time: 16:50
  • Distance: 2m 4 1/2f
  • Type: Chase
  • Prize Money: £70,000

Looking for the best Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase odds? Click here.

The Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase, or The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase as it is currently known as given that it is sponsored by Close Brothers Group, is a listed National Hunt steeplechase open to horses aged five and over. The race is run over a distance of approximately 2 miles and 4 ½ furlongs and features no less than 16 fences.

The Novices’ Handicap Chase was created in 2005 and was originally ran on the 4th and final day of The Festival until it was moved to the 3rd day when the British builders’ merchants Jewson sponsored the race. It remained a feature of the 3rd day until 2011 when it was moved to the opening day.

The 2019 Novices’ Handicap Chase was won by 5-year-old ‘A Plus Tard’ which was trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore. The 5-1 favourite won the race by an impressive 16 lengths last year and gave Blackmore her first victory at The Festival.

Our expert tipsters have selected three potential winners for the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase. Take a look at them here.

Previous winners of The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase include:

YearHorseAgePriceTrainerJockey
2019A Plus Tard55-1Henry de BromheadRachael Blackmore
2018Mister Whitaker613-2Mick ChannonBrian Hughes
2017Tully East78-1Alan FlemingDenis O’Regan
2016Ballyalton912-1Ian WilliamsBrian Hughes
2015Irish Cavalier611-1Rebecca CurtisPaul Townend
2014Present View68-1Jamie SnowdenBrendan Powell
2013Rajdhani Express616-1Nicky HendersonSam Waley-Cohen
2012Hunt Ball713-2FKeiran BurkeNick Scholfield
2011Divers710-1Ferdy MurphyGraham Lee
2010Copper Bleu812-1Philip HobbsRichard Johnson

Did You Know?

  • 9 of the last 10 winners achieved a top-three finish on their last start
  • 8 of the last 10 winners have won over 2 miles & 2 furlongs or more
  • 7 of the last 10 winners were aged six or seven

You can stream the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase live on Bet365.


The National Hunt Challenge Cup 

  • Date: Tuesday 16th March
  • Start Time: 17:30
  • Distance: 4m
  • Type: Chase
  • Prize Money: £125,000

Looking for the National Hunt Challenge Cup odds? Click here.

The National Hunt Challenge Cup is a Grade 2 National Hunt steeplechase which is open to horses aged 5 and over. It features 25 fences to be jumped and is run over a distance of approximately 3 miles and 7 ½ furlongs making it the longest race by distance on day 1 of the Cheltenham festival.

The 2019 winner of The National Hunt Challenge Cup was 7 year old Le Breuil which was trained by Ben Pauling and ridden by Jamie Codd. Sadly, the 2019 National Hunt Chase featured many fallers. One of which being favourite Ballyward which suffered a fatal injury. Well-backed Discorama which went off at 9-2, looked set to claim the prize before Le Breuil edged ahead in the final strides to win by just half a length. It was a two-horse race in the final stretch with the pair riding almost 50 lengths clear of the other runners.

Le Breuil went off at 14-1 in 2019 making him the joint 2nd highest odds horse to win the race with only Tiger Roll going off higher (16-1) and winning in 2017.

This year, we’ve selected Champagne Classic as our National Hunt Chase tip priced at a respectable 6/1.

Previous winners of The National Hunt Challenge Cup include:

YearHorseAgePriceTrainerJockey
2019Le Breuil714-1BenPaulingJamie Codd
2018Rathvinden109/2Willie MullinsPatrick Mullins
2017Tiger Roll716/1Gordon ElliottLisa O’Neill
2016Minella Rocco68/1Jonjo O’NeillDerek O’Connor
2015Cause Of Causes78/1Gordon ElliottJamie Codd
2014Midnight Prayer98/1Alan KingJoshua Newman
2013Back In Focus89/4FWillie MullinsPatrick Mullins
2012Teaforthree85/1FRebecca CurtisJT McNamara
2011Chicago Grey85/1FGordon ElliottDerek O’Connor
2010Poker De Sivola714/1Ferdy MurphyKatie Walsh

Did You Know?

  • All of the previous 10 winners had run at least 3 times over fences
  • 9 of the last 10 winners have been aged six to eight
  • 8 of the last 10 winners have won over a distance of at least 3m

You can stream the National Hunt Challenge Cup live on Bet365.

That concludes our round-up for day 1 of The 2020 Cheltenham Festival. Click to view our Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Guide or view the latest 2020 Cheltenham Festival Betting Offers.

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