Cheltenham Live Blog: Tips, market movers, news and fast results for Day 1

Cheltenham Day 1
Join us for all the latest from the Festival

It was in doubt for a while but the Cheltenham Festival 2020 goes ahead and we'll be across it all here on our rolling blog, with tips for all the races as well as all the market movers and results...

17:58 - And that's your lot for Day 1

A fascinating opening day to Cheltenham 2020, with a few surprises along the way and some excellent performances in what were testing conditions. Thoughts move swiftly to Day 2 and we have our exciting race one offer once again - bet £20 on the Exchange on the first race of Wednesday and get a free £20 Exchange bet to use on mobile. T&Cs apply. We'll be back with our Day 2 Live Blog in the morning.

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17:45 - Ravenhill lands the closer

National Hunt Chase
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 17.016/1 ISP 12/1
Antepost High of Winner: 140
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Carefully Selected 1.558/15 Lord Du Mensil 2.01/1 Ravenhill 36.035/1
Comments: Ravenhill wins the final race of the day under a patient ride from the most successful festival amateur, Jamie Codd. Produced turning for home, Ravenhill stayed on strongly to win going away after a marathon trip.

17:28 - Fancy a flutter in the finale?

One final recommendation for the last race - Alan Dudman makes a case for Lord Du Mensil here.

17:21 - Big gamble in day one finale

The closing National Hunt Chase at 17:30 is a 14-runner Grade 2 contest for Novices, who are trying this marathon 3m6f trip for the first time. But that hasn't stopped the punters plunging into the Willie Mullins-trained Carefully Selected, who is now arguably the gamble of the first day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Undoubtedly the class angle in the race Carefully Selected is unbeaten over fences so far, winning all three starts, but the big concern is his tendency to make mistakes during his races. That doesn't seem to be a concern for those on his side however, as he is now trading at around the 2.26/5 mark having opened at 3.412/5.

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17:16 - Get the latest from our experts on the Exchange Live show

Betfair and the Racing Post - a dream team combining for a live show throughout the Festival. Plenty for the panel to discuss and you can watch it all here...

17:03 - Favourite Imperial Aura takes Novice Handicap

Northern Trust Company Novice Handicap Chase
Winner: Imperial Aura
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 5.55 ISP 4/1
Antepost High of Winner: 11.521/2
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Imperial Aura 7.613/2 Galvin 1.528/15
Comments: Imperial Aura stays on strongly under a positive ride from David Bass, Galvin travelled into the race strongly and looked to be coming with a winning run, however Imperial Aura showed plenty in front and stayed on well to win.

16:42 - Will it be Champagne for Tony Calvin?

Tony Calvin's tip of Champagne Court is one of two Champagnes to be running in the 16:50, and is currently at 25.024/1. Meanwhile money has been coming for Imperial Aurawho heads the market at 5.49/2 followed by Gordon Elliott's Galvin at 6.611/2.

16:23 - Blackmore trumps Benie Des Dieux with Honeysuckle

Mares Hurdle
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 3.613/5 ISP 9/4
Antepost High of Winner: 19.5
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Benie Des Dieux 1.21/5 Honeysuckle 14.5
Comments: Honeysuckle and Benie Des Dieux fight out a thrilling finish up the hill, turning for home Honeysuckle looked to be struggling, however an excellent ride from Rachael Blackmore seen her steal away up the inside and stay on strongly for the win.

15:43 - Favourite lands the Champion

Champion Hurdle
Winner: Epatante
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 3.36 ISP 2/1
Antepost High of Winner: 36.035/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Epatante 4.03/1 Sharjah 1.618/13
Comments: After a third false start of the day Epatante cruised into an easy lead approaching the last and showed the strong travelling Sharjah a clean pair of heels to land the champion hurdle

15:20 - Two to consider in the Champion

Our Bets of the Day team each have two opportunities to snare a winning bet on each day of the Festival and Alan Thompson and Nick Shiambouros are taking very different routes in today's Champion Hurdle. Alan is looking at a big outsider in Not So Sleepy while Nick goes to the top of the market with Epatante - read their reasoning and approach here.

15:03 - The Conditional pips Vindication to the Ultima

Ultima Handicap Chase
The Conditional
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 9.57 ISP 15/2
Antepost High of Winner: 15.014/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: The Conditional 25.024/1 Vindication 1.774/5 Kildisart 2.0621/20
Comments: The conditional stays on best of all under a cool ride from Brendan Powell to give David Bridgwater a first festival winner as a trainer, overcoming a small peck on landing at the second last.

14:46 - Cobra to snare the Ultima?

Nearly time for the first big handicap of the week, in the form of the Ultima, and our man Tony Calvin is backing an old favourite of his, Cobra De Mai. Vinndication heads the Exchange betting at 6.86/1.

14:37 - Get all the latest with the Exchange Live show

Reminder that we have teamed up with the Racing Post for a live show throughout the Festival. Plenty of in-running highs and lows for the panel to discuss...

14:22 - Big-priced Put The Kettle On takes the Arkle

Arkle Novices' Chase
Put The Kettle On
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 20.019/1 ISP 16/1
Antepost High of Winner: 160.0159/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Put The Kettle On = 42.041/1, Fakir D'oudairies = 1.558/15, Notebook = 2.915/8
Comments: Put The Kettle on shows extraordinary stamina to hold of Fakir D'oudairies who looked to be coming with a winning run before making a small error two out. Notebook disappointing after going onto the hurdle course after a false start.

13:42 - Abracadabras denied at 1.152/13 in-play

Supreme Novices' Hurdle Result
Betfair Starting Price and ISP: BSP 10.519/2 ISP 6/1
Antepost High of Winner: 60.059/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Shishkin 100.099/1, Abacadabras 1.152/13
Comments: A strongly run affair where Shiskin was produced late to pass the strong travelling Gordon Elliot runner Abacadabras. A tight finish ensued with the Nicky Henderson runner being declared the winner in a photo finish.

13:25 - We're nearly off to a Supreme start

So here we go, the first race of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival is just minutes away. The most famous roar in National Hunt racing will send the 15 runners for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle on their way.

The favourite when the tapes go up looks like being Asterion Forlonge at around the 4.1 mark, just ahead of Abacadabras at 4.77/2, while there has been some late money for Fiddlerontheroof, available to back at 6.411/2.

Our big-price tipster Tony Calvin has had a speculative punt on huge outsider Soviet Pimpernel, who is currently available to back at 80.079/1 in the Winner market. TC is in great form currently, but this would get his Festival off to an incredible start even by his standards.

13:15 - Live show with the Racing Post

The Betfair Exchange has joined forces with the Racing Post for a live show every day on the action at Cheltenham. Betfair's Neil Hubbard will join tipsters from the Post to preview the races and discuss the best backs, lays and in-running strategies. Today's episode is now live...

12:32 - Betfair's Day 1 Preview

Our very own Barry Orr caught up with Betfair columnist Kevin Blake to preview Day 1 earlier. You can watch the interview here...

12:03 - Horses to oppose

Most of our columns attempt to find you the winner of the race at the Festival but you can of course place lay bets on the Exchange - bet on a horse not to win - and no-one better to look than former Daily Star racing editor Patrick Weaver, who is all about the lays. He'll be doing a daily lay bet column this week and his Day 1 selections are here.

Not quite sure about laying on the Exchange? Check out our How-To Guide. And if you're confused about liability and potential winnings on lay bets, you can use our handy lay bet calculator.

11:27 - Who wins the opener?

In little more than two hours the 2020 Cheltenham Festival will be under way with a super competitive Supreme Novices' Hurdle getting us off to a flying start. Willie Mullins - who else? - has the favourite in Asterion Forlonge but there is stiff competition with Abracadabras, Shishkin, Fiddlerontheroof and Chantry House all in single figures.

If you're playing in the opener, don't forget our 2020 Festival offer - place a £20 Exchange bet on the Supreme and we will give you #£20 in Exchange free bets to use on your mobile. Terms and conditions apply - give them a read here.

11:00 - A trio of well-backed Irish horses

It generally takes a lot of money to make a horse move significantly in the day-of-the-race markets but we have already seen big moves for a trio of Irish-trained horses.

In the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at 13:30 the Gordon Elliott-trained Abacadabras has been backed from around the 7.413/2 mark on Monday night into 4.57/2 this morning. He's now settling at around 5.24/1 and you can read what the trainer thinks of his chances in his day one runners preview.

Two other raiders from Ireland have also been extremely well-backed, and both are trained by the all-conquering Willie Mullins.

Willie Mullins smile 2 1280.jpg

Benie Des Dieux is into 1.68/13 to win the Mares' Hurdle at 16:10, while unbeaten chaser Carefully Selected has been backed at all rates from 3.39/4 overnight down to his current prices of 2.56/4 in the closing National Hunt Chase at 17:30.

We also have a very strong favourite in today's feature race, the Champion Hurdle at 15:30 with the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante now trading at around the 3.412/5 mark. Interestingly, Henderson's other runner, Pentland Hills, has been a huge drifter and is now out to 12.011/1 (from around 7.613/2 on Monday night) to win the Grade 1 contest.

10:30 - BREAKING NEWS - no Altior in Champion Chase

It has been confirmed that Altior, who was found to be lame at the weekend, will not defend his crown in Wednesday's Champion Chase.

His absence is a big blow to the race and now leaves just six runners, headed by Defi De Seuil at 2.186/5 and Chacun Pour Soi at 2.546/4. It's 18.017/1 bar the two.

10:00 - The experts' verdict on Day 1

Good morning all. Ready for the Chelter-skelter? Delighted to say that the Betfair Podcast team will be producing daily episodes from the course this year. The first show sees Kieran O'Connor joined by Kevin Blake, Gary O'Brien and Barry Orr. Listen here...

We will, of course, be featuring daily tips from Tony Calvin, who is in red hot form at the moment. He runs through the whole Day 1 card here, and has five nicely priced selections.

And don't forget the exclusive columns from our stable of Racing Ambassadors. Paul Nicholls gets a rare day off today, but we have previews from Gordon Elliott, Joseph O'Brien and Olly Murphy for your delectation.

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