Cheltenham 2021: Day 1, Champion Day
This page covers all the information you need for the first day of Betting on Cheltenham Festival. There's a guide for each race including statistics, links and tips for betting on the race itself.
When the Racing Post produced a survey of the best day’s racing of the year the first day of the Cheltenham Festival polled most votes. As the first race gets underway on the Tuesday there is a huge roar from the crowd. Champion Day is the most eagerly anticipated single day’s racing of the year. The months of trials and speculation are now over and the action begins at the best race meeting in the world.
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There are seven races on the opening card and the battle between the bookies and punters has begun. Betting turnover on races at Cheltenham is huge and if several favourites win on the first day the punters will be in front. However, the racing is competitive so it’s difficult to finish in front. The key is not to lose all your betting bank as there are three more days and 21 races to do that. Breaking even is a result but Cheltenham is a war and not a battle and only the first skirmishes have been done.
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For those looking at the 2021 festival, it is always important to remember what happened in previous years. Course form, and especially festival form can prove vital to a horse's chances of winning. Now we take a look at each of the races taking place on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.
Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (1.20pm)
- Hurdle Race (Two miles 1/2 furlong – Old Course)
- Open to horses aged four-years-old and older
The Supreme Novices Hurdle is contested by the best novices over the shorter distance. It is traditionally the opening race of the four day Cheltenham Festival in March. The race was originally registered as the Gloucestershire Hurdle and up to 1971 was often split into two or even three divisions. Legendary Irish handler Vincent O’Brien dominated the race in the early years and between 1952 and 1959 recorded ten victories. In recent years another Irish trainer has dominated the race with Willie Mullins winning four of the last ten renewals but only once since 2015.
He could be in for another winner though with Appreciate It a strong favourite to win this year. Appreciate It has won all three of its races this season, including the Grade 1 Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle. That's a race previously won by both Hurricane Fly and Istabraq. Appreciate It last raced in February, again winning a Grade 1 race.
1st Shishkin 6/1 (trained by Nicky Henderson, ridden by Nico de Boinville
2nd Abacadabras 11/4 (Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell)
3rd Chantry House 15/2 (Nicky Henderson/Barry Garaghty)
4th Asterion Forlonge 9/4F (Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)
The Last 10 Winners of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle:
- 2020 - Shishkin (6/1) Nicky Henderson (trainer), Nico de Boinville (jockey)
- 2019 - Klassical Dream 6/1) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
- 2018 - Summerville Boy (8/1) Tom George, Noel Fehily
- 2017 – Labaik (25/1) Gordon Elliott, Jack Kennedy
- 2016 – Altior (4/1) Nicky Henderson, Nico de Boinville
- 2015 – Douvan (2/1F) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
- 2014 - Vautour (7/2JF) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
- 2013 – Champagne Fever (5/1) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
- 2012 – Cinders And Ashes (10/1) Donald McCain, Jason Maguire
- 2011 – Al Ferof (10/1) Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Fact File
- Ruby Walsh has ridden the winner of this race a record six times after his 2019 success.
- Willie Mullins has trained the most winners of this race with six victories after his win in 2019.