Cheltenham Tips

Cheltenham Tips for Tuesday: Tony Calvin's magnificent 7 bets for Day 1

Betfair tipster Tony Calvin
Tony Calvin has seven tips for Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival

There's no holding back from our top tipster Tony Calvin on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival as he puts up seven bets for Tuesday's action, with tips ranging from 11/2 up to 33/1...

  • Two bets for Tony in the Supreme

  • Going for an each-way play in the Arkle

  • Last year's winner backed with an outsider in the Ultima

  • One tip but two bets in the Boodles

I am half-hoping that I draw a tipping blank next week as, in a rare moment of light-heartedness and weakness, I agreed to do a series of those pathetic "Boom, I've actually tipped a winner, don't you know?" shots for social media at Betfair's Cheltenham Festival Preview show.

I am actually dreading any of the variations I filmed playing out on Twitter.

Well, that is what the mute button is for, I suppose - and tipping at big prices helps lessen the likelihood of them appearing - but, jokes aside, let's get down to the more serious business of finding the aforementioned winners.

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Good to soft ground, possibly deeper?

I am probably in the unique position of having not written any ante-post tipping articles going into the Festival (though I will outline where I have given a firm nod to a few on the Weighed In podcasts) and that unencumbered view will hopefully lead to a more open mindset. You can be unhealthily glued to long-held tipping positions.

Of course, one thing that will never change in this column and that is our housekeeping note as regards the ground.

Literally, the first text I woke up to on Sunday morning - and this is a very sad reflection of my life - was "GoingStick is currently same as first day last year when CH broke course record."

That was 6.3 (though it was last updated at 3.30pm on Saturday), though they subsequently had another 1.5mm overnight and they were calling the ground soft, good to soft in places, on Sunday morning.

There is more rain due on Sunday tonight, and into Monday, but, right or wrong, I am going to work on the basis of largely good to soft ground, maybe a touch deeper.

As long as they don't get a deluge - and some forecasts are suggesting we get 20mm before racing on Tuesday, others far less - and it turns borderline heavy, I am happy to be writing this column at this early stage and on that basis. We won't really know until Tuesday, anyway.

Two win-only bets in the Supreme

Right, let's get the ball rolling, so on to the Supreme at 13:30.

Looking at the race, the first thing that struck me was that Willie Mullins has four in here and he could have also confirmed Gaelic Warrior, Impaire Et Passe and Hunters Yarn on Sunday morning.

Some bullets to fire later on in the week, then.

As it is, the race is probably even more competitive than I was expecting it to be, even a few days ago, so my belief that Il Etait Temps was a rock-solid each way play has come under severe questioning.

Facile Vega and Marine Nationale remain underpriced to me (though the latter has drifted markedly in recent days, having hit a low of 3.185/40 in Betfair's ante-post market at one stage) and I have kind of come round to thinking that the Irish may not be all they have cracked up to be perhaps.

So all may not be lost on my ante-post nibble on Rare Edition (scoped badly after being beaten at Huntingdon, having been very impressive in beating subsequent Grade 2 Dovecote winner at Kempton in a good time) and Paul Nicholls's Tolworth winner Tahmuras should not be readily dismissed.

I put up Il Etait Temps each way on the preview show earlier in the week (and backed him accordingly), and I still think he is the bet in the race as the form of his 9 ½-length defeat of Inthepocket is the best on show here (backed up by the time figure), but I am going to stick him up here win-only at 7.413/2 or bigger.

Back Il Etait Temps in 13:30 Cheltenham @


Quite simply, the place part of the bet has become a touch unappealing given the depth of the field. I'd rather play two win-only and the other bet is the aforementioned Rare Edition at 34.033/1 or bigger.

I would anticipate you getting bigger than those odds on the day, so you may want to wait - certainly don't chase his price down below 25/1 - but, that said, the market should be giving him more love for his soft ground Kempton win as it is.

Back Rare Edition in 13:30 Cheltenham @


Saint is worth an each-way tickle in the Arkle

I have backed Saint Roi ante-post, each way, in the Arkle at 14:10 but, in truth, that was primarily because I didn't think we would get three places on the day and thought I was getting a snide bet.

With nine entered, we are obviously still getting three places - and it is 40/1 bar the front four in the market - and so he remains a bet at 8/1 each way with the Sportsbook.

Back Saint Roi E/W in 14:10 Cheltenham @


I have a lot of time for the front three in the market and maybe I am playing for just a place, but he was the best hurdler of these (fourth in last year's Champion Hurdle, as well as winning a County Hurdle by 4 ½ lengths in 2020) and the race will be run to suit his closing style.

It is clearly not ideal that he comes here on the back of a mishap last time and he could be taken off his feet early doors , but it was an incredibly soft unseat last time and the ground may help on the latter front, and let us not forget he is already a Grade 1 winner over fences.

He is worth a small tickle.

Last year's winner can go close in Ultima but don't rule out Fantastikas

There was some early love around for Fantastikas in some bookmaker's lists after the Ultima betting was re-opened on Sunday morning - including with the Sportsbook, who are offering seven places on the race, who cut him from 33s to 25s to 22s to 14s - and I can fully see why.

He is still 33 in places (was 40s earlier today) but I am going to back him win-only on the exchange at 28.027/1 or bigger.

I'd accept 20/1 or bigger.

Back Fantastikas in 14:50 Cheltenham @


Remarkably, this race hasn't filled (24 could have run) but the upside of that is that Nigel Twiston-Davies must be a cock-a-hoop with his 8yo sneaking into the race off a mark of just 132. I bet he was fearing the worst as regards getting a run.

That is 12lb lower than when a 13-length seventh to Corach Rambler in this race last season - one of three fair efforts at this track - and there were more signs of life from him at Wincanton last time. That right-handed track wouldn't have suited him either.

With cheekpieces on for the first time (one of his half-brothers won in them on his initial try), then he could well spring a shock off this lowly mark. Mind you, the trainer is just 2 from 38 with this headgear angle since 2017.

With those seven places being offered, I have to include Corach Rambler at 11/2 each way.

Back Corach Rambler E/W in 14:50 Cheltenham @


He did remarkably well to win this by nigh-on 3 lengths last year after such a tardy start and he is just 6lb higher here.

Put away since Newbury in November, with an eye to taking in this race en route to the Grand National at Aintree next month, it is quite hard to see him finishing out of the first seven if getting the breaks in running.

And winning looks a fair possibility.

No plays in Champion and Mares' Hurdle

I don't have a betting opinion in the Champion Hurdle at 15:30 or an exceptional Mares' Hurdle at 16:10 , though, ante-post, I have backed I Like To Move It each way, three places, without the monster that is Constitution Hill and have had a modest win and place interest on Echoes In Rain.

However, just seven go in the Champion now and all the 10 from the five-day stage stood their ground in the Mares' (what a race this is, and even former Champion Hurdlers Honeysuckle and Epatante are not assured of a place) , I am not playing at the current terms on offer, so no recommendations.

Hoping Zann isn't a bad bet in the Boodles

It could well be that my angle into the Boodles at 16:50 will result in a non-runner and money back - in fact, that is probably firmly odds-on - but the suggestion is to side with first reserve Zanndabad at 21.020/1 or bigger.

Back Zanndabad in 16:50 Cheltenham @


The angle is that Mctigue is a surprise confirmation for the race after his Morebattle flop but, being the cynic that I am, maybe they have done JP McManus and Tekao a favour by leaving him in off 11st 12lb and maybe he will pick up a last-minute problem and allow Zanndabad to race.

I'll happily take any non-runner, to be fair.

If we do get a no-show, then his French Flat form suggests he could be thrown in here off 119 (he was bought by Tony Martin for 240,000 euros in November 2022) and let's just say his three hurdles starts have not been shorn of promise.

If he gets in, he could possibly go off at single figures, so the 14s, six places, with Sportsbook is fine, too. In fact, I'll probably back him there, too.

Back Zanndabad E/W, 6 places, in 16:50 Cheltenham @


Mesnil looks to have strong claims in National Hunt Chase

Lastly, Gaillard Du Mesnil's inclusion in the National Hunt Chase at 17:30 has rather taken the shine of my each way, ante-post, bets on Mahler Mission, so I am going to leave the race alone now.

As well as the favourite holding incredibly strong claims (he isn't a guaranteed stayer, but class is relative to stamina) , the booking of Johnny Barry does bother me a bit - I had never heard of him to be honest - as Barry O'Neill was all set to ride Mahler Mission the last time I read.

I hope he sluices up, or at least finishes in the first three - I have had a fair go on him - but I am not inclined to press up now at 6/1 with the favourite running.

Good luck, all.

Racing... Only Bettor. Day 1 at Cheltenham. Watch below.

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