|Friday 24th February 2023
Cheltenham Festival 2023: Preview of the Championship Races
The upcoming Cheltenham Festival will provide punters with a plethora of betting opportunities throughout the prestigious four-day meeting.
The standout races are undoubtedly the championship events which headline each daily race card and generate a ton of interest on Cheltenham betting sites.
While there are 14 Grade 1 races during the meeting, these four races stand head and shoulders above the rest in terms of prestige:
- Tuesday, March 14 – Champion Hurdle.
- Wednesday, March 15 – Champion Chase.
- Thursday, March 16 – Stayers’ Hurdle.
- Friday, March 17 – Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The highlight on the opening day is the Champion Hurdle, which has been won in the past by top equine stars such as Persian War, Istabraq and See You Then.
Many pundits have been waxing lyrical about Constitution Hill’s chances of adding his name to the Champion Hurdle roll of honour this season.
The Nicky Henderson-trained horse romped home in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and has continued his upward trajectory this term.
He recorded a hugely impressive victory in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, before easing to an effortless win in Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle.
Henderson has overseen the careers of numerous top racehorses, but Constitution Hill could become the pick of the bunch.
While the six-year-old looks a banker bet to crowned as the champion hurdler, picking the winner of the Champion Chase is much more difficult.
Energumene won the race last year and was strongly fancied to follow up before being beaten in the Clarence House Chase on Cheltenham Festival Trials Day.
Editeur Du Gite was a gallant winner on that occasion, fending off the persistent challenge of Edwardstone on the run-in.
However, the latter horse was subsequently found to have sustained a bruised a foot during the race and would probably have won without that issue.
Alan King’s nine-year-old was a brilliant winner of the Arkle Chase at last year’s Festival and looks a good bet to emerge victorious in the Champion Chase.
The Stayers’ Hurdle on the third day is a tricky puzzle to solve, with several horses in with a genuine chance of claiming the prize.
It would be foolish to write off old favourites such as Paisley Park, Klassical Dream and Flooring Porter, although they may have to yield to some of the improving stayers in the race.
They include Blazing Khal and Teahupoo – both of who have produced hugely impressive performances in Ireland in recent weeks.
Teahupoo appeals as the value bet, with the horse looking a completely different proposition now trainer Gordon Elliott has stepped him up in distance.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the standout race on the final day and could produce a thrilling finish if the fancied horses bring their ‘A’ game.
A Plus Tard is aiming to go back-to-back in the Gold Cup, while Bravemansgame is bidding to follow up his impress success in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
However, the horse to beat is Galopin Des Champs, who has notched three Grade 1 wins in a row in Ireland. He is fancied to give trainer Willie Mullins his third Gold Cup in five years.