Day one at Cheltenham was anything other than what was expected with a few suprises in the winners based on their odds in the Paddy Power Cheltenham Betting market. We decided to take a look at each race and the winner:
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
After the loud Cheltenham roar the racing began and in the first race 25-1 shot Labaik claimed a stunning victory. Even more impressive is the face that is was jockeyed by 17-year-old Jack Kennedy. Pre-race joint favourites Melon and Ballyandy, both at 3/1, came in second and fourth place respectively and never really challenged.
Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy
Overwhelming pre-race favourite Altior 1/4 delivered when it mattered most in the Arkle. Having started well Altior was in a good position going into the final part of the race. Being just behind the race leader, Charbel 9/1, two out Charbel fell and Altior could have trotted to the line comfortably. One punter at the tote was so confident in Altior coming out on top he bet £400,000 on the win, netting him an impressive £100,000 profit.
Ultima Handicap Chase
Race favourite Singlefarmpayment 5/1 looked to have this race just about sewn up going into the last when it went through the post neck and neck with Un Temps Pour Tout only for the photo finish show it was beaten by a hair by the 9/1 horse. Un Temps Pour Tout tracked the leaders for the entire race and managed to edge it in the end.
Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
Another race, another disappointing favourite with Yanworth the most fancied before the off finished in 7th after being back to a 2/1 in the betting. The eventual winner of this race was the 5/1 shot Buveur D’air who showed why it deserved to win reeling in runners in the final stretch and asserting its dominance 100 yards out.
OLBG Mares’ Hurdle
Apples Jade always looked likely of winning this one and at 7/2 provided good value for all that decided to back her. She was prominent throughout and held off heavily fancied Vroum Vroum Mag at 11/4 and race favourite Limini at 6/4. Limini was seated by Ruby Walsh as he looks to extend his good run at Cheltenham.
JT McNamara National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase
Disappointing favourites were a theme on day 1 of The Festival with A Genie In Abottle 4/1 seriously underachieving in a field it looked like it would dominate. It never looked like winning from leader Tiger Roll 16/1 who stayed on well to claim victory. 50/1 shot Missed Approach came in second with 33/1 Haymount in third.
Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase
The strong favourite for this race Foxtail Hill hit the second and fell on the 8th to take itself out of the equation. The eventual winner Trully East 8/1 was held up mid-race to come through nicely and hold off a spirited challenge from Gold Present 16/1 to win the final race of the day and bring to a close the first day of Cheltenham 2017.