By Andrew Atkinson
The 2019 Cheltenham Festival gets underway on Tuesday March 12 with some mouthwatering moments ahead to savour in one of racing’s showcase spectaculars.
In the opening race (1.30) on day one of the four day meeting Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins link up with Klassical Dream; and Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville with Angels Breath, both Leader each way tips in the Sky Bet Supreme novices hurdle over 2 miles.
In the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Cup over 1m 7f, Duc Des Genievres, trained by Mullins and Headline trained by Gordon Elliott, are Leader ew selections.
The 26 runners field in the Ultima handicap chase over 3m 1f (2.50) Mister Whitaker, Give Me A Copper and Calipto, are Leader ew tips.
In the Unibet Champion hurdle challenge trophy (3.30) over 2m Gordon Elliott trained Apple’s Jade is napped in a hotly contested race, featuring Buveur D’Air and Laurina.
Elliott’s mare Apple’s Jade has been aimed at the Champion Hurdle since winning the Irish equivalent in February.
In the OLBG Mares hurdle (4.10) Ruby Walsh and Mullins link up on Benie Des Dieux, deemed as one of Mullins’s best chances of the festival.
Philip Kirby trained Lady Buttons (4.10) is an ew selection: “She is in great form and all has gone to plan in the last couple of weeks – Lady Buttons looks in great order,” Kirby told me. Limini is also noted as an each way bet.
The 22 runners field in the Close Brothers Novices handicap hurdle (4.50) over 2m 4f sees Roaring Bull and Cubomania, both trained by Gordon Elliott, tipped each way.
The National Hunt challenge cup over 3m 7f (5.30) is targeted by Nicky Henderson and OK Corral, The Leader tip, with Jerrysback worthy of each way support.