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Cheltenham Festival tips: experts reveal their picks for the week’s races


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  • The 2022 Cheltenham Festival ran from 15–18 March at Prestbury Park and we asked the experts to share their Cheltenham Festival tips to try to help you pick a winner or two.

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    Cheltenham Festival tips

    Tuesday 15 March

    CONSTITUTION HILL (1.30pm: Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle)
    Trainer: Nicky Henderson, jockey: Nico de Boinville
    Racing journalist Julian Muscat says: “A horse who excites all around him, he is the best bet of the week.”

    MIGHTY POTTER (1.30pm: Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle)
    Trainer: Gordon Elliott, jockey: Jack Kennedy
    ITV Racing commentator Richard Hoiles believes there could be an upset: “In the very first race, the Sky Bet Supreme, I like Mighty Potter to upset the apple cart with Constitution Hill and Jonbon – he doesn’t have the sexy profile of his market rivals, but his form looks solid, and he can at least make the frame.”

    COEUR SUBLIME (2.10pm: Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase)
    Trainer: Henry de Bromhead, jockey: Rachael Blackmore
    Racing correspondent Tom Peacock says of his Cheltenham Festival tips,: “He’s taken time to find his stride for new trainer Henry de Bromhead but this very smart hurdler was impressive last time [winning at Gowran Park] and can take another step forward in what looks an ordinary Arkle.”

    DOES HE KNOW (2.50pm: Ultima Handicap Chase)
    Trainer: Kim Bailey, jockey: David Bass
    Trainer and H&H columnist Kim Bailey says: “Is he good enough? I really hope so! He was very good at Ascot and he seems to like Cheltenham, so fingers crossed… rather firmly!”

    HONEYSUCKLE (3.30pm: Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy)
    Trainer: Henry de Bromhead, jockey: Rachael Blackmore
    Great British Racing ambassador and four-time champion jump jockey Richard Johnson says: “This year all the major horses are turning up, so whoever wins on the day deserves to be crowned champion and I think Honeysuckle is a horse we all love. Because there were no crowds there last year, she didn’t really get the appreciation she deserves – she’s never ever been beaten, and we should really celebrate horses when they are as good as she is.”

    QUEENS BROOK (4.10pm: Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle)
    Trainer: Gordon Elliott, jockey: Jack Kennedy
    H&H racing editor Jennifer Donald says of her Cheltenham Festival tips: “This talented mare finished third behind Ferny Hollow and Appreciate It in the 2020 Cheltenham Festival Bumper and is improving all the time. She returned from a break to finish a staying-on second to Burning Victory at Punchestown last month, which should put her spot on for this mares-only contest, a race in which her trainer has an eye-catching record.”

    WILLIE MULLINS to be crowned leading trainer at The Festival
    ITV Racing is showing daily action from The Cheltenham Festival from 12.50–4.30pm and presenter Alice Plunkett says her banker of the week is for Irish trainer Willie Mullins to send out the most winners: “It is as big a certainty as you can get in jump racing. He is bringing over an army of 60-plus superstars and the talent among them is terrifying!”

    Wednesday 16 March

    SIR GERHARD (1.30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle)
    Trainer: Willie Mullins, jockey: Paul Townend
    ITV Racing is showing daily action from the Cheltenham Festival from 12.50-4.30pm and presenter Ed Chamberlin picks his banker for the week: “Mine is the Irish horse Sir Gerhard, who could have run in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle on Tuesday but goes instead for this race on Wednesday. I think he will win!”

    AHOY SENOR (2.10pm Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase)
    Trainer: Lucinda Russell, jockey: Derek Fox
    ITV Racing presenter Ed Chamberlin reckons there could be an upset in this race: “I think Lucinda Russell’s horse, Ahoy Senor, might reverse the form with Bravemansgame in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. We’ll hear the roof come off Scotland if he does!”

    UNEXPECTED PARTY (2.50pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle)
    Trainer: Dan Skelton, jockey: Harry Skelton
    H&H racing editor Jennifer Donald says: “This is such an open race but the Skelton team are very shrewd at spotting winning opportunities in handicaps and trainer Dan says there will be an expected party, not an unexpected party, if this seven-year-old wins! He won nicely on his last appearance at Ascot, he seems to have a lot of class and will have learned from his second-placed finish at this track in November.”

    ENVOI ALLEN (3.30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase)
    Trainer: Henry de Bromhead, jockey: Rachael Blackmore
    Racing journalist Julian Muscat says: “Prematurely dismissed but has the class to ambush some better-fancied opponents.”

    PUT THE KETTLE ON (3.30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase)
    Trainer: Henry de Bromhead, jockey: Aidan Coleman
    ITV Racing presenter Alice Plunkett picks this notable outsider: “Put The Kettle On has won it, she LOVES Cheltenham and always brings her A game to the track. Her record there is 11113 and she will give you a run for your money for sure.”

    SHISHKIN (3.30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase)
    Trainer: Nicky Henderson, jockey: Nico de Boinville
    Great British Racing ambassador and four-time champion jump jockey Richard Johnson says: “Shishkin will be the banker of the meeting for most people but even if you’re not into betting, he’s an amazing horse to go and look at, or watch on telly. I think it’s hard for anyone who rides not to be envious of his regular jockey Nico de Boinville! He jumps and travels, he has already won twice at the Cheltenham Festival and would be in great form – if I could pick one horse to get my boots back on for this week, it would be Shishkin. He seemed to be the better horse in his race against big rival Energumene at Ascot and if anything Cheltenham will suit him better, so I can’t see why the placings would be reversed.”

    EMBITTERED (4.50pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase)
    Trainer: Joseph O’Brien, trainer: Bryan Cooper
    Racing correspondent Tom Peacock says: “Was fancied and cruising when coming down in this race last year and returns on a similar handicap mark after a decent enough season.”

    Thursday 17 March

    DAME DE COMPAGNIE (2.10pm Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle)
    Trainer: Nicky Henderson, jockey: Aidan Coleman
    ITV Racing commentator Richard Hoiles nominates this big outsider at odds of around 20/1: “She won the Coral Cup two years ago when backed down to favouritism and will likely run off a lower mark this time around after a failed spell chasing. In spite of a poor run earlier this year, she looks of interest back at a track she has excelled at in the past.”

    JANIDIL (2.50pm Ryanair Chase)
    Trainer: Willie Mullins, jockey: Mark Walsh
    Racing correspondent Tom Peacock says: “A Grade 1 winner over fences as a novice over this sort of trip, he returns after struggling over three miles and still has the potential to improve.”

    THYME HILL (3.30pm Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle)
    Trainer: Philip Hobbs, jockey: Tom O’Brien
    Four-time champion jump jockey and Great British Racing ambassador Richard Johnson says: “I’m slightly ruled by my heart but I rode Thyme Hill a lot and he came second in the Albert Bartlett a couple of years ago when he was very unlucky in running. He’s kept progressing really well and I knew that Cheltenham last year was going to be my last big meeting but unfortunately 10 days before he pulled a small muscle and couldn’t run, but he came out and won at Aintree instead. It was a good run [to finish second in the Long Walk] at Ascot, but I think he’ll come on again for that. The stayers’ is a very open race this year and my head says he’s the right horse anyway, but my heart definitely wants him to get his head in front.”

    KOSHARI (3.30pm Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle)
    Trainer: David Christie, jockey: Jonathan Moore
    Racing journalist Julian Muscat says: “He should be suited by this test of stamina and can spring a surprise in a wide-open race.”

    SONG FOR SOMEONE (3.30pm Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle)
    Trainer: Tom Symonds, jockey: Nico de Boinville
    ITV Racing is showing the Cheltenham Festival daily from 12.50pm to 4.30pm and presenter Ed Chamberlin says of his Cheltenham Festival tips: “He’s a big price, about 50-1, and I think this race will see an upset – this horse has played at the highest level over two miles and I think is crying out for a longer trip.”

    IMPERIAL ALCAZAR (4.10pm Craft Irish Whiskey Co. Plate Handicap Chase)
    Trainer: Fergal O’Brien, jockey: Paddy Brennan
    National Hunt trainer and H&H columnist Kim Bailey says: “His trainer Fergal O’Brien has had such a good season and this would cap it.”

    SMOKING GUN (5.30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase)
    Trainer: Gordon Elliott, jockey: Jamie Codd
    H&H racing editor Jennifer Donald says: “This nine-year-old has run some cracking races this season, with this Cheltenham handicap one of the big aims, but it’s the booking of brilliant amateur rider Jamie Codd, a winner of 10 Festival races, that swings this as my selection.”

    Friday 18 March

    VAUBAN (1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle)
    Trainer: Willie Mullins, jockey: Paul Townend
    ITV Racing commentator Richard Hoiles picks this four-year-old as his banker of the week: “He can reverse his debut form with Pied Piper and looks the top juvenile for the season.”

    MINELLA COCOONER (2.50pm Spa Novices’ Hurdle)
    Trainer: Willie Mullins, jockey: Paul Townend
    H&H racing editor Jennifer Donald says: “The ground will probably dry out considerably for Friday’s racing but I think this recent Grade One winner on yielding going at Leopardstown could squeak in as an each-way chance.”

    GALVIN (3.30pm Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase)
    Trainer: Gordon Elliott, jockey: Davy Russell
    Racing journalist Julian Muscat says: “Only rugged stayers need apply and this improver has the credentials to topple A Plus Tard.”

    SANTINI (3.30pm Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase)
    Trainer: Polly Gundry, jockey: Nick Scholfield
    Racing correspondent Tom Peacock says: “Would be a big surprise in what is a wide-open Gold Cup but the narrow 2020 runner-up has looked rejuvenated by a change in stable and another advance in fitness makes him a decent each-way shot.”

    SANTINI (3.30pm Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase)
    Trainer: Polly Gundry, jockey: Nick Scholfield
    ITV Racing is showing the Cheltenham Festival daily from 12.50pm to 4.30pm and presenter Alice Plunkett says this big-priced contender could provide a real upset: “He has been second in a Gold Cup then lost his way and his owners have now sent him to the small hunting yard of the point-to-point legend Polly Gundry. He was an admirable second in the Cotswold Chase to Chantry House who is 16/1, while Santini is 50/1 and bigger. It is dotty to imagine him roaring up the hill ahead of the mighty Irish challenge or Protektorat but if he is, I will be screaming him home.”

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