Cheltenham Festival 2022 Day One Preview

Cheltenham Festival Race

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 13:30
Nico de Boinville

Constitution Hill

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
Age: 5
Weight: 11-7
OR: 148
Days: 66

The first race of the 2022 Cheltenham festival sees the Grade One Supreme Novices' Hurdle and we are siding with the superstar Constitution Hill for Nicky Henderson.

The gelding looks to be a serious animal for Nicky Henderson and owner Michael Buckley, with the £120,000 purchase making an extremely taking rules debut at Sandown in December.

The five year old had been seen once in a point to point before his rules debut, when finishing a head second in what might turn out to be a smart P2P.

Heading to Sandown in a Novices' Hurdle, he cruised next to the favourite Might I for Harry Fry, who is a good horse in his own right, and having jumped the last impeccably he went on to take the event by 14 lengths.

This saw Constitution Hill go from a 40/1 outsider for this race to a general 4/1 second favourite.

Seen once more since then he managed to land Grade One glory in the Tolworth Hurdle winning just as impressively as his previous, pulling away from a decent field to win by 12 lengths.

He looks a freak of a horse and although needing to improve again, he looks the one to beat.

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 14:10
Tom Cannon


J: Tom Cannon
T: Alan King
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 159
Days: 31

The first Grade One over fences at the festival is the Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase and this year's renewal, although not a vintage one sees one of the most competitive events of the week.

With this in mind we have picked out two horses that could go close, starting with the favourite Edwardstone for Alan King.

The gelding has been exceptional since going over fences this term, having a slight hiccup on debut when being bought down at Warwick when travelling well, but next time out put things right over the same C&D when taking a decent two mile Novices' Chase.

Stepped up to Grade One company next time out he went on to improve once more to land the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown, seeing off his closes rivals War Lord and Third Time Lucki by 16 lengths.

With the second and third since franking that form line, Edwardstone went to Kempton and also boosted it by making it a hat-trick of wins when landing the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices' Chase.

He made it four in a row last time out at Warwick in the Grade Two Kingmaker Novices' Chase when easily seeing off Third Time Lucki again.

Edwardstone is a quickly improving horse who has done absolutely nothing wrong this season and has a big chance in this with no real Irish superstars.

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 14:10
Sean O'Keeffe

Saint Sam

J: Sean O'Keeffe
T: W P Mullins
Age: 5
Weight: 11-4
OR: 153
Days: 38

At a bigger price and our each way stab in the race is the talented Saint Sam for Willie Mullins, who like Edwardstone is constantly improving.

A very smart hurdler, placing in last year's Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle off a mark of 139, he looks to be an even better chaser.

Making his chase debut this season at Fairyhouse he impressively saw off Thedevilscoachman by nine lengths, with the JP McManus owned horse since franking the form back over hurdles.

Saint Sam was last seen at the Dublin Racing Festival when chasing home Blue Lord and Riviere D'etel in the Grade One Irish Arkle.

He put up a solid effort going hard at the front and looking to be tailed off he stayed on gamely to only go down by four lengths.

Having more experience under his belt and with him likely to take a big step forward from that, he is a big each way player.

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 14:50
Stan Sheppard

Tea Clipper

J: Stan Sheppard
T: Tom Lacey
Age: 7
Weight: 10-7
OR: 145
Days: 79

One of the trickiest races to call across the week is the Grade Three Ultima Handicap Chase over 3m1f and the horse we think has a big each way shout is the Tom Lacey trained Tea Clipper.

A very good hurdler last term finishing a decent third in the Grade Three Coral Cup and then backed that up at Aintree's Grand National meeting with another classy third in a similar handicap event over three miles.

Sent chasing this term he has been seen three times, making a fantastic debut over fences in a Listed Novices' Chase at Chepstow when winning easily, he then went to Newbury over a shorter trip than what he wants and finished a 30 length second to Nassalam in a Grade Two event.

Last seen in the Grade One Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton when finishing fourth of four behind Bravemansgame and Ahoy Senor, he ran credibly but was just outclassed.

He now makes his handicap debut in this event and with novices' having a great record in the event, he enters this race with a big chance off his mark of 145.

Big player at a decent price.

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
Rachael Blackmore


J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
Age: 8
Weight: 11-3
OR: 165
Days: 37

The Grade One Champion Hurdle is the feature race on day one of the festival and we are hoping, like may punters that Honeysuckle can go on to make it back to back wins in the great race.

She has been a star for the yard over the last three or four years taking races like the Mares Hurdle and this event last year at the Cheltenham festival and three Hatton's Grace Hurdles at Fairyhouse.

Overall the Kenneth Alexander-owned seven year old has claimed 15 wins in a row, if including her point to point race aswell and this season she picked up from where she left off.

She headed to Fairyhouse on her seasonal debut in defence of her Hatton's Grace title and looking to make it three wins on the bounce in the race and in effortless style she went on to win by eight lengths.

She continued to make history last time out when comfortably landing her third straight Irish Champion Hurdle and it is going to take a freakish performance from another horse to beat her at a track she loves.

One of the festival bankers for many and hopefully she delivers another star studded performance.

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 16:10
Jack Kennedy

Queens Brook

J: Jack Kennedy
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 7
Weight: 11-5
OR: 142
Days: 20

The final Grade One on Tuesday is the Mares' Hurdle and we think the value lies with the Gordon Elliott trained Queen's Brook, who has been campaigned all season for this race.

Third in the Champion bumper two seasons ago behind Ferny Hollow and Appreciate It, she was always destined to be a star.

However, although winning on her hurdles debut last term, she struggled in her next two runs and was kept off the track for the majority of that season.

Returning this term with this event in mind she finished second on seasonal debut behind Lunar Display at Wexford and then she went to Fairyhouse and won a good event seeing off the talented Ciel De Neige by four lengths.

Last time out she was seen finishing a staying on second behind rival Burning Victory, giving away weight to the mare and running a cracker.

She meets Mullins' horse on level weights now and that run screamed a prep run for this event with the yard very sweet on her improving for that run.

Big chance at an each way price.

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 16:50
Paul Townend

Gaelic Warrior

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 4
Weight: 11-1
OR: 129
Days: 283

The penultimate event on the first day of the meeting is the Grade Three Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle and with a huge field heading to post we have picked out two horses to follow in the race.

The first from a win point of view is the highly talked about Gaelic Warrior for Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci, with the gelding having his first run for the yard in this event.

Expected to get a mark of 139 for his three decent runs in France, the English handicapper looked to have made a big error of giving him a 10lb lower mark of 129.

He looks to be absolutely thrown in on his current form and having numerous pounds in hand is exactly what you need for an event like this.

Could be a very special horse.

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 16:50
B J Cooper

HMS Seahorse

J: B J Cooper
T: Paul Nolan
Age: 4
Weight: 11-0
OR: 128
Days: 34

At a much bigger price is the progressive HMS Seahorse for Paul Nolan with the four year old colt being a smart horse on the flat for Aidan O'Brien but now looks an even better animal over hurdles.

Making his stable/hurdles debut at Punchestown in a 20 runner Maiden he finished a good third behind the two horses at the top of the Triumph Hurdle market.

Coming on for that run he went back over the same course and distance and this time was a better second behind the talented The Tide Turns for Gordon Elliott, who he will have to reverse the form with in this event.

HMS Seahorse improved again last time out to get off the mark in determined fashion at Fairyhouse and with this being the horses target all season, it would be no surprise to see him take a step forward again and go close.

Cheltenham - March 15 2022
Cheltenham 17:30
Mr J J Codd

Run Wild Fred

J: Mr J J Codd
T: Gordon Elliott
Age: 8
Weight: 11-6
OR: 158
Days: 76

The final event on the first day of the 2022 Cheltenham festival sees our best bet of the day with Run Wild Fred having a huge chance for Gordon Elliott in the National Hunt Chase.

The eight year old is technically still a novice over fences this season having not won last term in his first term over the bigger obstacles.

Although not winning he put up some superb efforts, including seconds in the Thyestes Handicap Chase and Irish Grand National.

This term he returned at Cork in a Grade Three Novice Chase over 2m4f and he finished a fair second behind Cape Gentleman with the trip far too short, overall it being a prep race.

It worked perfectly setting him up for the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan as he went on to win eased down by close to eight lengths.

Looking to truly see how good he was last time out at Leopardstown over Christmas he finished a good second behind stablemate Fury Road in the Grade One Neville Hotels Novice Chase.

This confirmed that the National Hunt Chase would be his point of call at the festival, staying the trip well and also being able to mix it with the best in Ireland at three miles.