All the info you need to know from the Betfair markets on the first day at Cheltenham...
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Mr Whitaker edges Rather Be in lucky last
Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase
Winner: Mister Whitaker
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 10.2 - ISP 13/2
Antepost High of Winner: 32.0
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Mister Whitaker 16.0. Rather Be 1.61. Rocklander 3.05.
Comments: What a finish to end day one! Mister Whitaker out-battles Rather Be up the hill to win the race after a photo. Rocklander put up a great fight however faded into third place after the last.
Mister Whitaker gets his head in front on the— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 13, 2018
line to win the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase @CheltenhamRaces and gains his third win over fences. #TheFestival
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Gamble landed on Rathvinden
National Hunt Chase
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP [6.07] - ISP 9/2
Antepost High of Winner: [50.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Sizing Tennesse [2.04]. Ms Parfois [1.33]. Rathvinden [14.0].
Comments: Patrick Mullins produces a patient ride on Rathvinden to deliver him late battling it out with Ms Parfois on the run in with both horses jumping the last together. Sizing Tennesse who was always prominent traded as low as [2.04] in running before tiring late into third place.
Unbelievable finish! It's a treble on the day for Willie Mullins as Rathvinden digs deep to win the National Hunt Chase @CheltenhamRaces. #TheFestival— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 13, 2018
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Ruby and Willie combine to win the Mares again
Winner: Benie Des Dieux
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 11.1 - ISP 9/2
Antepost High of Winner: [38.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Benie Des Dieux 85.0. Apples Jade 1.22. Midnight Tour 1.33.
Comments: Ruby Walsh returns to doing what he knows best by winning the Mares Hurdle aboard the Willie Mullins trained Benie Des Dieux. Short-priced favourite Apples Jade travelled well (trading [1.22] in running) but has no answer on the turn for home to the winner and 2nd placed horse Midnight Tour.
Benie Des Dieux completes a double for Ruby Walsh and provides Willie Mullins with his ninth success in the Mares' Hurdle @CheltenhamRaces. #TheFestival— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 13, 2018
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Buveur hangs on for victory
Winner: Buveur D'air
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP [1.74] - ISP 4/6
Antepost High of Winner: [7.6]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Buveur D'air [2.72]. Melon [1.55].
Comments: Pace maker Charli Parcs sets up for a great battle up the hill between Buveur D'air and Melon. Barry Geraghty out battles Paul Townend in a pulsating finish winning by a neck in the end.
Buveur D'Air just clings on to become the first horse since Hardy Eustace in 2004 and 2005 to win back-to-back renewals of the Champion Hurdle @CheltenhamRaces. #TheFestival— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 13, 2018
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First Festival win for Lizzie Kelly as Coo stars in the Ultima
Ultima Handicap Chase
Winner: Coo Star Sivola
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP [6.8] - ISP 5/1
Antepost High of Winner: [38.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Coo Star Sivola [8.8]; Shantou Flyer [2.0]; Eamon An Cnoic [4.0]; Vintage Clouds [3.2].
Comments: Lizzie Kelly keeps Coo Star Sivola close the pace all the way round picking up long-time leader Eamon An Cnoic on the final bend. Despite a late challenge from Shantou Flyer, Kelly keeps her mount up to his work to win the Ultima Handicap Chase.
Coo Star Sivola justifies favouritism in the Ultima Handicap Chase @CheltenhamRaces and provides Lizzie Kelly with her first Festival winner. #TheFestival— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 13, 2018
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Patient Ruby steers Footpad to cosy win
Arkle Novices' Chase - Result
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP [1.94] - ISP 5/6
Antepost High of Winner: [16.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Footpad [2.38]; Petit Mouchoir [1.99]
Comments: Again another blistering pace is set by Aidan Coleman and Davy Russell. Ruby Walsh remains patient on the favourite Footpad who despite smashing through a fence down the back, cruises past both Saint Calvados and Petit Mouchoir to win the Arkle in impressive fashion.
What a performance! Footpad bolts up to justify favouritism in the Arkle @CheltenhamRaces and remains unbeaten over fences (4-4). #TheFestival— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 13, 2018
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Our Barry Orr has the latest from our traders after the Supreme - Summerville Boy now 25/1 for the 2019 Champion Hurdle.
Next up, the Arkle - we are enhancing Petit Mouchoir to 5/1 (generally a 9/2 shot)
Summerville hits [44.0] in the run to land opener
Supreme Novices' Hurdle - Result
Winner: Summerville Boy
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: [12.5] BSP - 9/1 ISP
Antepost High of Winner: [85.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Summerville Boy [44.0], Kalashnikov [1.13].
Comments: Getabird pays the price for setting quick fractions early on, bowing out before the turn for home. Kalashnikov leads at the last with Mengli Khan and Summerville Boy chasing him down hard. In a battle to the finish Summerville Boy gets on top in the final strides to take the first race of the 2018 Festival.
Summerville Boy gets up close home to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle @CheltenhamRaces and gains his second Grade One success. #TheFestival— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 13, 2018
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We're 30 minutes away from the Cheltenham roar and if you missed it earlier, here are the latest Betfair Exchange market movers.
If you're still struggling to find the winner of the opening race, here are a few handy trends that may help you on your way...
- Nine of the last ten winners have won at least 50% of their hurdle starts.
- Nine of the last ten winners ran within the last 59 days.
- Eight of the last ten winners won last time out.
- Eight of the last ten winners had previously contested a Graded race (seven won).
- Irish runners have won the Supreme 15 times in the last 27 years.
- Three winners had previously run in the Champion Bumper (Al Ferof, Cinders And Ashes & Champagne Fever).
Morning all, welcome to the Betting.Betfair Cheltenham Festival 2018 live blog, here you'll find post-race results with BSP's, in-play highs and lows as well as insight from our experts.
Given that heavy ground on day one wasn't anticipated, we asked @StopwatchRacing to give us the lowdown on any runners that might thrive in the mud...
For those of us who take antepost positions on horses at the Festival, the day of the meeting often results in a fair amount of cognitive dissonance. You've laid your money out, often getting the "value", but then find yourself in a situation where, on the day of the meeting with all the information in front you, you no longer fancy the horses you've forked your hard-earned cash on. With soft/heavy ground this year, that's more the case than ever, and I think it likely that my antepost positions on horses like Claimintakinforgan and Mengli Khan will be hung out with the proverbial washing.
That said, as my Betfair colleague Tony Keenan noted, the markets on Betfair can tend to over-compensate by favouring soft-favouring horses too strongly, and that leaves you room for grabbing the value elsewhere.
One such example is Gold Present in the 14:50 (Ultima Handicap Chase). Yes the going is a concern, but he remains the top-rated, classiest animal in what is a weak-renewal of this race. He's a safe jumper, has posted excellent numbers on the clock all season and, most importantly, gets this trip well where others may not. Having drifted out to [13.0], that's worth a bet.
Another is Western Ryder (see video below) in the 13.30 (Supreme Novices Hurdle). Held in the highest possible regard by the Greatrex yard, he flopped in the heavy-ground Tolworth Hurdle when favourite, and the market looks to have kept that effort in mind here. That said, he turned up in similarly soft conditions at Huntingdon next time, posting a lifetime best over the intermediate trip, and clocking a sectional performance of around 150: only five or six pounds off my top-rated. I would expect him to improve for the minimum trip, as he takes a strong hold, and [36.0] is too big.
Western Ryder takes the opening contest at #TheInternational for @wgreatrexracing and @dickyjohnson77. He's a 16-1 chance with the sponsors for the @SkyBet Supreme Novices' Hurdle. pic.twitter.com/Xfx0C4DxFj— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) December 15, 2017
I'll be back later on with the main takeaways from day one of the Festival on the clock.
For all the latest Cheltenham betting tips and previews, check out our dedicated Festival category.