The first day at the Cheltenham Festival 2022 is almost ready to go. I expect the Willie Mullins camp to get off to a strong start and of course it will be a good battle all week with the large teams from Gordon Elliott and Henry De Bromhead leading huge expectations for the Irish once again at the Festival. I can see all three of them landing on the board with winners on Tuesday but the racing is super competitive as you would expect.
I will take you through my thoughts each day on Bookmakers.com so let's get started with Champion Hurdle Day and straight off with the Supreme. I had a run around the track there this afternoon (Monday) and the ground is good, good to soft in places and should truly make for perfect racing conditions and perfect in general for the week for punters to take on the leading bookmakers.
Great race to start the meeting. I think the market is right and it's going to be between Dysart Dynamo and Constitution Hill. As I said in my Cheltenham preview column I'm just a big fan of the Willie Mullins trained horse Dysart Dynamo. I think he has enough pace and enough stamina to win this race and what he has done so far has been very impressive and he will be hard to beat here.
Obviously it's a very good race with Constitution Hill and Nicky Henderson's other runner Jonbon in the race, plus Kilcruit who would have an each way chance but preference is for Dysart Dynamo.
For the Arkle I'm going to go with Gordon Elliott's Riviere D'etel. She is a very good mare and maybe slightly unlucky the last day in Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival. If she brings her A game here I think the strongly run race will be ideal for her.
There is a lot of pace in the race and with it being the Arkle expect it to be fast from the word go with speed horses like Magic Daze and Saint Sam likely to want want to make it. I really think that will suit a strong traveller like Riveire D'etel and I think the race might go her way and she represents a bit of value.
I am going to side with the Emmet Mullins trained Noble Yeats who has recently been bought by Robert Waley-Cohen, so his son Sam, who won the Gold Cup on his father's horse Long Run in 2011, takes the ride here.
I've ridden the horse and won on him a couple times in the past and I just think he could be one to take to it and go very close in this tough handicap for his new connections. He stays very well so 3m1f should definitely bring out the best in him.
It's all about Honeysuckle for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore in the Champion Hurdle obviously, but a lot of respect will have to be given to Appreciate It who takes her on for the Willie Mullins team. He won a Supreme Novices' Hurdle last year at Cheltenham in impressive style but still looks to have it all to do giving the mare 7lbs here.
Honeysuckle is rated 165 and Appreciate It 160, so apart from already being 5lbs behind on the ratings the further concession to the special mare really makes her look the one to beat and hopefully she will go and do the business once again.
The Willie Mullins mare Echoes In Rain was very impressive last year winning a Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival and although she hasn't quite got back to that level yet this season, maybe with the spring on the way she could be just coming into form at the right time.
At the current prices with the best betting sites she could be good value to outrun her odds and surprise a few.
This race is all about one horse. Everybody is talking about Gaelic Warrior and off a mark of 129 he could really be very well handicapped. As I explained in my Cheltenham preview he one of Willie Mullins' stronger chances of the week and the work at home suggests he is nicely treated and his schooling has gone very well. Hopefully Gaelic Warrior can live up to all the talk now and get that job done.
Paul Townend will have a lot to deal with here though. With a max field of 22 runners, all tightly packed, he will want to make sure to get a safe clear passage but hopefully the pair will come through where it matters close to the end.
Stattler is obviously the least experienced of the field for the NH Chase with only two chase runs whilst the others have had numerous runs over fences already. So the fact it is only 7 runners here will actually be a big help. Patrick Mullins who rides him and should let him negotiate things a little bit easier with less horses around him.
It adds another layer to his already strong claims and I think Stattler is another who represents one of Willie Mullins' best chances this week at the Festival.