Tom Bellamy's Horse Racing Blog

Tom Bellamy Cheltenham Festival 2023 Blog - Day One

It’s day one of the Cheltenham Festival and brand ambassador Tom Bellamy has his thoughts on the first day of the meeting.

We kick off the first day with the Supreme Novice Hurdle and I think Facile Vega has a massive chance of winning the opener. He won the bumper last year on bottomless ground, so the fact that it’s soft isn’t going to bother him too much.

Marine Nationale is the one to beat in my opinion, but I think the Mullins runner has the beating of him. To fill the places, I think the Nicholls runner, Tahmuras will be third behind the two Irish runners.

Onto the Arkle next and while this may look like a two horse race on paper, the one I like here is Dysart Dynamo. He ran himself into the ground in the Supreme Novice Hurdle last year, a race where he was behind Constitution Hill.

With that horse in the race, he wasn’t really able to get his breather in as he would’ve liked two thirds of the way round. I can see him getting a bit more luck here, and having somewhere in the race to save some energy. I think at the prices, when you look at the front three, Dysart Dynamo is the one that is value.

Next is the Ultima and if you’re looking for one at a big price then Threeunderthrufive could be that. He had a mishap in the Hennessy, but I think this has been his long-term target the whole season.

Don’t forget his owners sponsor this race too, so it would make perfect sense if he had been mapped out for this. He’s 18/1, so a big each way price.

The feature race on the card is the Champion Hurdle, where we are all looking forward to seeing Constitution Hill. I think he’s faultless, and I can’t look anywhere else other than him in the race. He’s not much of a price, but he is the one in the big race.

The Mares Hurdle comes next, what could be one of the races of the week for me.

Honeysuckle has a bit to prove coming here, she is the one to beat based on ratings, past performances and her history, but she does have something to prove. For me, it looks as though she’s on a bit of a slippery slope.

The rain that has come will massively suit Love Envoi, which is a big positive. Marie’s Rock comes here instead of her initial target, the Stayers Hurdle. Some may see that as an easier option for her, but I don’t think it is, I think this is as competitive as the Stayers.

It’s wide open, but I just think with the rain around, I think Love Envoi is the one. The conditions will suit her much more than many of the others.

The Boodles looks to be wide open, with plenty of unknown sorts but at a big price, I was taken by Harry Derham’s Shared when winning at Doncaster. He’s a massive price, and doesn’t look what you would call thrown in, but I liked what he did at Doncaster last time out.

He’s got experience of being in a bit of a dog fight and I think that’ll stand him in good stead here, and could be an each way longshot type pick in the race.

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Rounding off the day, we’ve got the National Hunt Chase and the booking of Derek O’Connor on Mister Coffey catches the eye, he doesn’t come over here for nothing.

He rode the horse last time out, something I’ve noticed Nicky Henderson do in the past, where he brings Derek over and puts him on one and then when we get to the Cheltenham Festival, you’ll notice that Derek is riding that runner. This must be a long term plan for him to get a feel for the horse before the big day.

He ran well in a competitive race that day, and looks to come here with a chance, on ratings he’s right up there. Gaillard Du Mesnil is the one to beat, but Mister Coffey looks a good price. He’s looking like a bit of a bridesmaid with all the two’s at the side of his name, but it would be no surprise to see him go one better at some stage.

Cheltenham Day One Picks

  • Supreme - Facile Vega
  • Arkle - Dysart Dynamo
  • Ultima - Threeunderthrufive (EW)
  • Champion Hurdle - Constitution Hill
  • Mares - Love Envoi
  • Boodles - Shared (EW)
  • NH Chase - Mister Coffey (EW)

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Tom  Bellamy

Tom Bellamy

Freebets ambassador and national hunt jockey Tom Bellamy writes his thoughts down for us, giving you the views of a jockey in the weighing room on all the big events