Cheltenham Tips and Racecourse Guide
Cheltenham is the home of National Hunt racing, the four-day Cheltenham Festival being the highlight of the jumps season in Europe. The course hosts several feature meetings throughout the season, notably the Showcase meeting (October), the November meeting (November) and the Cheltenham Festival (March).
The feature race of the Cheltenham Festival is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, run over 3 miles 2 1/2 furlongs and with 22 fences to be jumped. With the exception of Aintree’s Grand National, it is the most valuable contest in the British jumps season and first took place back in 1924.
Golden Miller won the race five times, while the world-famous Arkle won three consecutive runnings in 1964, 1965 and 1966. More recently, Best Mate matched that feat, winning the three runnings between 2002-2004.
Race Sharp provides free tips for all meetings at Cheltenham throughout the year, including a detailed betting guide to the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
I’ve seen stronger renewals of the Hunters’ Chase at the Festival than the line-up this year and 2020 winner It Came To Pass looks a great bet to win the race for the second time.
Salsify, On The Fringe and Pacha Du Polder have all won this race twice in succession since 2012 and if he is in anything like the form he was in when bolting up on this ground last March, he is certainly the one to beat. He had today’s favourite Billaway 10L back in second last year and though that one handles better ground, I think he is a better horse on a softer surface.
We’re taking a bit on trust in terms of It Came To Pass retaining his ability, but this will have been the plan from the day after his Festival triumph last year and I wouldn’t read anything into his run at Thurles late last month. That came on unsuitably heavy ground and he was being nursed round until unseating his rider three out.
He came into last year’s race on the back of pulling up in a point-to-point and though he doesn’t get too many winners, Eugene O’Sullivan is a very capable trainer and I’m sure he will have used that run to get him spot on for today.
3.40pm Cheltenham – 2pts win It Came To Pass @ 8-1
Plenty that can be fancied in the Martin Pipe, but I’m keen on the chances of Martinhal off what looks a really attractive mark. He has always been highly-regarded by his trainer, who bids for a first win in the race named after his father.
A bumper winner last March, he didn’t see out either of his first two races over hurdles in the autumn, but a wind op in November has clearly worked the oracle and I think he has the potential to rate a good bit higher than this.
He was well-backed in the morning before landing a 2m1f maiden hurdle at Exeter in January, beating Karl Philippe (won by 10L next time and sent off fav for the EBF Final) and Gladiateur Allen (third in the EBF Final off 131). He returned to the same course over 2m2.5f last time and made all, just holding off the promising Solwara One (easy winner since), with 13L back to Orbys Legend, who landed a Sandown novice by 12L on his next start.
Suffice to say, the form of his novices is working out well and it is no surprise he is due to go up 2lbs in future. Connections have stated they feel he will want three miles in time, so this extra step up in trip could well bring about further improvement.
Pipe is having another good season and is adept at bringing along this type in handicaps. The booking of the experienced Richard Patrick is a plus and I’m confident the drying ground will be more of a help than a hindrance to him.
4.50pm Cheltenham – 0.5pts each-way Martinhal @ 25-1 5 places (Ladbrokes, Coral, 22-1 5 places Betfair, Paddy Power)
Cheltenham Top Trainers (2020/21)
1. Nicky Henderson 8 wins (16%)
2. Henry De Bromhead 7 wins (28%)
3. Willie Mullins 6 wins (11%)
4. Dan Skelton 5 wins (10%)
5. John McConnell 3 wins (33%)
Cheltenham Top Jockeys (2020/21)
1. Rachael Blackmore 6 wins (30%)
2. Robbie Power 5 wins (17%)
3. Tom Scudamore 5 wins (17%)
4. Nico De Boinville 5 wins (16%)
5. Harry Skelton 5 wins (11%)
How to get there
There is a dedicated bus service for all days of the Cheltenham Festival, leaving from the Town Centre and Cheltenham Spa Station.
A taxi costs around £10 and takes about 10 minutes from the town centre.
Birmingham Airport is the closest airport to Cheltenham. It is a 56-mile journey and takes just over an hour.
Cheltenham Top Races
G1 Cheltenham Gold Cup
G1 Champion Hurdle
G1 Queen Mother Champion Chase
G1 Stayers’ Hurdle
G1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
G1 Arkle Challenge Trophy
G1 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle
G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
G1 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
G1 Marsh Novices’ Chase
G1 Ryanair Chase
G1 Triumph Hurdle
G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
Cheltenham Tips Archives
The Grand Annual (4.15pm) looks fiercely competitive as ever, but it is a race that has thrown up some big outsiders in recent years and I am backing one at a price today. Cappuccimix hasn't yet come close to winning a big handicap, but he has got plenty of strong...