Welcome to the first edition of the Betting.Betfair Cheltenham live blog. We'll be bringing you all the best build-up to the racing as well as full SP after each race (well, BSP to be precise)...
"Only four finished this toughest of tests, and it was Le Breuil, along with experienced pilot Jamie Codd, who showed incredible guts and determination to repel the determined challenge of Discorama and come out marginally on top at the line."
18:00 - Until tomorrow (hopefully)
And that concludes our live blog for Day 1 of the Festival. We'll be back tomorrow with a review of Day 1 from Will 'Stopwatch Racing' Hoffmann, all of our usual ambassador previews, market movers and plenty more. We'll leave you with perhaps the feelgood story of the day - a debut Cheltenham winner for Rachael Blackmore on A Plus Tard.
17:51 - National Hunt Novices' Chase result
Winner: Le Breuil
Betfair Starting Price: 16.5 (ISP 15.014/1)
Antepost High of Winner: 210.0209/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Discorama 1.152/13; Atlanta Ablaze 2.1211/10; Jerrysback 3.052/1; Le Breuil 75.074/1
Comments: Only four finished this toughest of tests, and it was Le Breuil, along with experienced pilot Jamie Codd, who showed incredible guts and determination to repel the determined challenge of Discorama and come out marginally on top at the line.
17:27 - Cash Out joy for Betfair punter
News in from our Barry Orr of a superbly well timed Cash Out from a Betfair customer...
One lucky @Betfair customer had a glorious cash out today. On only his 24th lifetime bet he cashed out of a losing 5-fold for £28,449.92 from a £5 stake.He had the first 4 winners and then hit the cash out button before his last leg,Lady Buttons, was beaten in the 'Mares' race.? Barry Orr (@BetfairBarry) March 12, 2019
17:18 - Wednesday racing in doubt due to high wind
Cheltenham Racecourse has called a precautionary inspection ahead of racing tomorrow, to take place at 8am. (1/8)? CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 12, 2019
17:15 - Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase result
Winner: A Plus Tard
Betfair Starting Price: 6.806/1 (ISP 6.05/1)
Antepost High of Winner: 17.5
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: The Russian Doyen 3.8514/5; Ben Dundee 4.77/2; A Plus Tard 9.28/1
Comments: Henry De Bromhead's charge had long been fancied for this race and duly delivered, making light of a nice opening mark to run away with it by 16 lengths. Rachael Blackmore's season just keeps on getting better and better, now she has a Festival winner on her CV too.
16:47 - Espoir D'Allen pictured on his way to a majestic win
16:44 - Highway to betting heaven for TC?
Tony Calvin got his first winner up for the 2019 Festival when Stormy Ireland came home a close second in the Mares' Hurdle and he plays one in the Close Brothers in the form of Highway One O One. Read why here.
Mares' Hurdle result
Betfair Starting Price: 12.9 (ISP 11.010/1)
Antepost High of Winner: 42.041/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Benie Des Dieux 1.031/33; Stormy Ireland 2.0811/10; Roksana 36.035/1
Comments: Shades of Annie Power and 2015 as hot favourite Benie Des Dieux and Ruby Walsh seemingly only had to jump the final flight to win for the second year running, but crumpled on landing, handing the race to Dan Skelton's mare in fortuitous fashion. It completed a clean sweep of lays for B.B columnist Jack Houghton.
16:05 - Can anyone beat Benie?
Benie Des Dieux is the even money favourite for the Mares' Hurdle, up next at Cheltenham, and it's 10.09/1 the field on the Exchange.
Jack Houghton - who has two from two so far, opposing Hardline and Laurina in the place markets - is advising a lay of the Willie Mullins mare as his final lay selection of the day.
Another Mullins runner, Stormy Ireland has seen some late money, into firm second favourite at 9.89/1.
15:46 - Champion Hurdle result
Winner: Espoir D'Allen
Betfair Starting Price: 26.025/1 (ISP 17.016/1)
Antepost High of Winner: 300.0299/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Laurina 1.3130/100; Apples Jade 2.767/4; Espoir D'Allen 48.047/1
Comments: The expected dogfight between the big three never materialised with none of them even making the frame. So it was left to Gavin Cromwell's progressive five-year-old to steal the prize, cruising round just off the pace under Mark Walsh, there was no answer to his surge over the last two flights.
15:23 - A mouthwatering Champion Hurdle in prospect
Get the Timeform runner-by-runner preview to the day's big race here. Can Buveur D'Air (pictured below) win it for a third time or will one of the mares take his crown?
15:08 - Ultima Handicap Chase result
Winner: Beware The Bear
Betfair Starting Price: 14.013/1 (ISP 11.010/1)
Antepost High of Winner: 26.025/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Beware The Bear 25.024/1; Vintage Clouds 1.51/2; Up For Review 2.0811/10
Comments: Nicky Henderson joins the party! His Beware The Bear crept into the race under a patient ride from Jeremiah McGrath and a big leap at the last took him clear of the brave Vintage Clouds, although there were still one or two anxious moments for backers as he wandered on the run-in.
14:36 - Two for TC in the Ultima
Next up is a fascinating looking renewal of the Ultima, with Willie Mullins saddling the favourite in the form of Up For Review, as he looks for a third winner of the Festival already.
Tony Calvin has two selections for this one; last year's winner Coo Star Sivola (pictured) and a saver on Royal Vacation at a big price. His thoughts here.
14:28 - Arkle Novices' Chase result
Winner: Duc Des Genievres
Betfair Starting Price: 7.06/1 (ISP 6.05/1)
Antepost High of Winner: 540.0539/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Duc Des Genievres 9.617/2; Hardline 2.3211/8; Clondaw Castle 4.77/2
Comments: Two out of two now for Mullins, an ominous statement of intent from the master of Closutton. Following some high profile early departures, the race turned into a procession for Paul Townend aboard the winner, a dominant performance with the result never looking in much doubt.
14:03 - Hardline a fancy in the Arkle
Swiftly on to the Arkle and our tipster Alan Thompson makes Gordon Elliott's Hardline his best bet of the day. He is currently vying for favouritism with Glen Forsa.
13:46 - Supreme Novices' Hurdle result
Winner: Klassical Dream
Betfair Starting Price: 8.72 (ISP 7.06/1)
Antepost High of Winner: 24.023/1
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Klassical Dream high of 9.617/2; Aramon low of 3029/1
Comments: The Mullins and Walsh team get their week off to the best possible start with a comfortable win in the opener, always to the fore and travelling sweetly the winner stretched away from the rest up the straight to score by 4.5 lengths. A superb training performance from Olly Murphy, with Thomas Darby and Itchy Feet in at second and third.
13:40 - Dream start for Murphy
Klassical Dream an excellent winner of the Supreme, but a fantastic start for Betfair Ambassador Olly Murphy with Thomas Darby and Itchy Feet finishing second and third. Here's what our man said about Thomas Darby in his column.
This is a very open race though with no real outstanding novice hurdler yet to put up his hand so, if the ground is okay, my fella, with Dickie Johnson in the saddle, would have a nice each way chance at a big price if he can get through the ground.
12:48 - Three horses to oppose from today's card
The ability to lay is one of the many things that sets the Betfair Exchange apart from the competition and racing expert Jack Houghton has picked three horses to get against today. Read his thoughts here.
12:37 - It's a touch wet at Cheltenham today
12:31 - Tips Round-Up
Nearly one hour until the roar - here are links to some of our top tipping columms.
Tony Calvin gives us his verdict on every race today with bets for five - read it all here!
Our trio of Racing Bets of the Day writers are all filing this week meaning a mighty six bets to digest - you can read the column by clicking here.
Fancy a tilt at the Placepot? Then get the Timeform lowdown and selections for day one at Cheltenham.
11:52 - The @BetfairRacing Breakfast Briefing
We'll be getting the very latest from the trading floor, and Barry Orr on-course in Cheltenham, every morning this week, with the 'Breakfast Briefing'. The Tuesday edition is now live to view on Twitter:
Looking to find out what is being supported today ahead of Day One of the #CheltenhamFestival?? Betfair Racing (@BetfairRacing) March 12, 2019
The Betfair Breakfast Briefing is here to fill you in on all the latest market movers and a few to look out for from our Ambassadors.
11:25 - David Cleary's verdict on Day 1
We will be getting the thoughts of Timeform analyst David Cleary every morning this week. Here's his verdict on today's racing.
Apple's Jade clear favourite in Champion
Apple's Jade continues to put clear water between herself and the dual champion Buveur d'Air and the exciting Laurina in the battle to be favourite for the Champion Hurdle.
Laurina is even pressing Buveur d'Air to be second in; her form this season winning the argument over her previous record at the Festival.
There is, though, a change of market leader in the offing in the Arkle, with Hardline inching towards favouritism over Glen Forsa.
The other positive mover among the market leaders is last year's Supreme runner-up Kalashnikov. Conditions are certainly coming in his favour, with the prospect of soft ground by this afternoon.
The day's shortest-priced favourite is Benie des Deux in the Mares' Hurdle, though she has been notably weak, matched at a low of 1.834/5 when the Exchange market opened, but trading at a high of 2.245/4 at the time of writing.
This is her first run of the season and though that isn't usually a problem with Willie Mullins-trained mares at this meeting, a continued drift might be a worry for supporters.
The opening Supreme Novices' is much more wide open than usual, though Al Dancer remains a solid market leader.
Atlanta Ablaze for NH Chase surprise
Atlanta Ablaze can upset the market leaders in the National Hunt Chase at 17:30, the four-mile test sure to be a real slog under the conditions.
She has solid form claims, a sound jumping technique and shapes as if the longer trip will suit her down to the ground.
The market leaders Ballyward and OK Corral are both likely to run well, but they are short enough at the moment.
Grand Sancy is a good each-way option in the Supreme. He may not have the sexy profile of some of the market leaders, but in an unusually open year he has form as good as any. He is also likely to be well suited by the way the race is run, a good gallop on the cards.
Mister Whitaker is favourite for the Ultima at 14:50, but he makes plenty of appeal still. He is likely to be suited by the step up to three miles and won the novice handicap on this card a year ago, so ought to have no problem with the hustle and bustle of a big field on this demanding track.
11:02 - All the latest market movers from the Exchange
10:49 - Nicholls and Murphy look ahead to Day 1
We'll kick off with an exclusive video preview from Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls, who has three in action today - and he likes the chances of them all.
For more detailed insight on Paul's runners, check out his Day 1 column.
We also caught up with fellow Ambassador Olly Murphy, who has high hopes for Thomas Darby and Itchy Feet.
Olly's Day 1 column is here.
Throughout this week, we'll be getting daily podcasts from The Betting Guy, who will be discussing his best bets and trades for each day at the Festival. Here are his thoughts on Day 1.