Cheltenham Festival: Day One Betting Tips

A betting preview of the first day of the iconic Cheltenham Festival, along with betting tips and bookmaker free bets!

Declan TigheDeclan Tighe
March 12th, 2023
Cheltenham free bets
Lesley Rigg /

This Tuesday the highly-anticipated four-day Cheltenham Festival will finally get underway with seven exciting races to kickstart the week. There are no fewer than four Grade 1 races scheduled for the first day of the Festival as well as two ultra-competitive handicaps and a Grade 2 novice race to close the day out. Here at we have kept more than one eye on the betting markets across all seven races and using odds from our betting partners at William Hill we have picked out some of the best bets on the opening day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.

The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on day one of the Festival and a win for odds-on favourite, Constitution Hill would be very costly for the bookies. Nicky Henderson's superstar was one of the most impressive winners at last year's Festival when winning the Supreme in a blistering time. Constitution Hill won two more Grade 1s over the autumn when winning the Fighting Fifth and Christmas Hurdle. Priced at just 1/3 currently, Constitution Hill may not be a worthwhile bet for the average punter but he makes for the perfect first leg of any Festival accumulator.

One race that's far tougher to call on day one is the Arkle. Jonbon and El Fabiolo cannot be separated at the top of the market and currently share favouritism at 7/4. Jonbon was a distant second to Constitution Hill in last year's Supreme but he's taken incredibly well to fences this season. 4-4 since last year's Festival but his win in a two-runner race in February left backers edgy. In contrast, El Fabiolo has never run at Cheltenham but is regarded as big player following a strong run when winning the Irish Arkle at the beginning of February.

Of the leading pair, preference is for Jonbon but we're not completely opposed to the prospect of Dysart Dynamo rediscovering his best form back at Cheltenham. Let's not forget that Dysart Dynamo went off as joint-favourite with Constitution Hill in last year's Supreme and he was travelling very well before falling. Dysart Dynamo led for the majority of the Irish Arkle before succumbing to the pressure put on him by stablemate, El Fabiolo. However, the Irish Arkle is run over one furlong more than Tuesday's race; could that slightly shorter distance help him reverse that form?

The opening race of the Cheltenham Festival also features one of the stars of last year's Festival as Facile Vega attempts to add the Supreme Novices' Hurdle to last year's Champion Bumper. Facile Vega has been a red-hot antepost selection for the best part of a year but he would've left backers rather unsettled when he flopped at Leopardstown last time out. Could that run be a blip or is Facile Vega just not as good as we thought he was? Stablemate, Il Etait Temps capitalised on that poor showing from Facile Vega to land the Grade 1 Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle and he could once again get the better of the current market leader on Tuesday. The main danger to the Willie Mullins pair is the unbeaten Marine Nationale. The Barry Connell-trained six-year-old landed a Grade 1 at Fairyhouse last time out and it would not be a surprise to see him clinch what would be his biggest win to date.

The final Grade 1 race on day one of the Festival is arguably the most competitive race of the entire week. There are no fewer than three winners from last year's Cheltenham Festival set to line up for this year's Mares' Hurdle, including last year's race winner, Marie's Rock as well as Honeysuckle and Love Envoi; winners of last year's Champion Hurdle and The Dawn Run respectively. Last year's Champion Hurdle runner-up, Epatante and previous Grade 1 winner, Brandy Love complete a list of five horses all in with an excellent chance of winning this year's Mares' Hurdle.

Cheltenham Festival: Day One Predictions

  • 1:30: Il Etait Temps (5/1)
  • 2:10: Jonbon (7/4)
  • 2:50: Threeunderthrufive (16/1) - EW
  • 3:30: Constitution Hill (1/3)
  • 4:10: Honeysuckle (7/2) / Love Envoi (9/1) - EW
  • 4:50: Bad (17/2) - EW / Samuel Spade (25/1) - EW
  • 5:30: Gaillard Du Mesnil (Evens)

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