Cheltenham 2023 Cheat Sheet: Best bets for all the big races at the Festival
Tuesday - Champion Hurdle
The 2023 edition of the biggest Festival in jump racing starts on Tuesday and the feature race is the Champion Hurdle.
The race — off at 3.30pm — features one of the current superstars of racing, Constitution Hill, who is highly fancied to win for trainer Nicky Henderson, trading at short odds of 1/3.
Here's the Racing Post's Enda McElhinney's verdict on the race:
"Sometimes in major races like this one, there is a temptation to want to take the short-price favourite on, but this time that looks a forlorn hope as Constitution Hill has displayed all the traits of being nigh-on unbeatable in his five-race career to date.
"This season, easy wins have been achieved in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton — both open Grade 1s.
"Constitution Hill has looked spell-binding in those wins this season and, worryingly for his opponents, he has not really come out of third gear. No horse has finished any closer to him than 12 lengths in his career to date and, on Tuesday, he should confirm himself as the best hurdler around."
Read the full preview here, including Enda's best each-way selection for the race.
Wednesday - Champion Chase
Wednesday of the Festival — Ladies' Day — sees a fascinating looking Champion Chase taking centre stage with the two favourites, Energumene and Edwardstone, set to slug it out.
Here's Enda's verdict on the big race, which is due off at 15:30:
"What had once looked a foregone conclusion for reigning champion Energumene is now anything but, as the Queen Mother Champion Chase looks a wide-open renewal.
"Willie Mullins' star two-miler had his wings clipped in the Clarence House in January and now faces a big challenge to maintain his grip on this race.
"The Clarence House saw Editeur Du Gite and Edwardstone finish clear of Energumene but the Irish horse may turn things around back at Cheltenham.
"It will be a shock if Paul Townend isn't more aggressive on Energumene come the Champion Chase as such tactics have yielded his best performances and they also contribute heavily in terms of taking his rivals outside of their own comfort zones.
"If he's back at concert pitch in Cheltenham, Energumene is still the one to beat."
Read the full preview here, which includes a big-priced each-way selection.
Thursday - Stayers' Hurdle
Day three of the Festival features the Stayers' Hurdle as the main attraction and it looks to be a wide-open renewal this year, offering up plenty of betting potential.
Over to Enda for his take on a fascinating race, due off at 15:30.
"With reasons to have some doubt about plenty of the others, Klassical Dream, is given the nod for Willie Mullins.
"Winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle here in 2019, he was fifth in this race last spring on his only Cheltenham visit since. He had earlier beaten Flooring Porter at Leopardstown to win a Grade 1 last Christmas, making it back-to-back Grade 1s over three miles, having also won at Punchestown the previous spring.
"Five of his seven wins for this trainer have arrived in the spring and it is clearly no concern that he will be a fresh horse come March 16. He is good value."
Read the full preview, including another big-priced each-way selection from Enda, right here.
Friday - Gold Cup
The final day of the Festival sees the highlight of the week as the Gold Cup takes place, with Galopin Des Champs highly fancied to take the honours.
Enda, however, isn't backing the favourite. Here's his big-race verdict:
"Galopin Des Champs is a worthy favourite but, at the prices, perhaps not the best value in the Gold Cup.
"Paul Nicholls' most recent King George winner Bravemansgame looks a big player, much more so than previous Boxing Day winners Silviniaco Conti and Clan Des Obeaux for the champion trainer.
"Nicholls has been at great pains recently to emphasise that he has no track worries about Bravemansgame, who was third in the Ballymore here two seasons ago behind Bob Olinger but is now "the finished article", according to his trainer.
"He was not stopping at the line in the King George at Kempton and having now proved himself to be Britain's best staying chaser on that evidence, his partner Harry Cobden shares Nicholls' enthusiasm that he can produce the best run of his career to deny the Irish more Gold Cup glory on St Patrick's Day."
Read Enda's full Gold Cup preview and each-way selections right here.
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