Looking ahead to Day One – Champions Day at Cheltenham Festival 2019

Welcome back Jumps fans! We’re in November, with early sunsets and late sunrises, and you know what that means – it’s Jumps time! The November meeting at Cheltenham takes place this weekend.

Already there have been some notable performances, namely that of Bedrocks’ win in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal when he was a comprehensive winner over Samcro, the former Champion Hurdle favourite who was making his seasonal return. He was beaten for the first time when staying on his feet in what quickly turned into a sprint.

Gordon Elliot was disappointed but did suggest that there was more to come from him in the Morgiana Hurdle, and it’s interesting to note how quick the closing sectionals were (albeit helped by the ground). Samcro has a huge following and he could yet start a red hot favourite for the Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March 2019.

There was another notable performance with accompanying market moves today, with Arkle contender Kalashnikov making a smooth winning debut in the in the £50 Risk Free On Racing with Smarkets Novices’ Chase  (doesn’t that just roll off the tongue!) at Warwick today. He’s now as best priced 6/1 for the Arkle on Champion Day at Cheltenham Festival 2019.

Regular readers and our members are already involved with both the Arkle and Champion Hurdle. We tipped up Kalashnikov in August at 12/1, and we have 16ss about Summervile Boy. The first day has many great contests and there are also markets already for the Mares’ Hurdle and National Hunt Chase along with the opening race the Supreme Hurdle. It’s certainly going to be a day to remember and you can buy tickets at the best possible price until 30th November on the Cheltenham Racecourse website.

The market for the Festival opener is dominated by Willie Mullins’ Annamix, which is understandable given that he comes from the team that won the Supreme for three straight years from 2013, and then had the runner-up in 2016. However, he was as short as 8/1 for the race before being injured for the whole season last year and we’re yet to see him race in the UK and Ireland. The chances of him being good enough to justify his price are obviously high. He will probably follow the same route as Supreme winners Min and Vautour took but if you fancy a bet I’d be tempted by others all of who are at least 20/1. Much more tempting than Anamix at this stage and they include last year’s top bumper performers. The Champion Bumper form has been tested for a while now and seems to be holding up strongly, with six of the eight horses to have since run over hurdles being successful, and that could provide the most value for the opener. With Relegate potentially heading for the Mares’ Novice, that leaves us with Carefully Selected, Tornado Flyer, and Blackbow as the best of the bumper horses from last season. Carefully Selected pinched an advantage early under a fine front-running ride at the Festival and had the form reversed at Punchestown in fine style when Tornado Flyer won. Blackbow actually traveled best there, cruising around the turn, and with a proper pace looks a natural Supreme type, but Tornado Flyer’s extra staying power will always be a help around Cheltenham and his relative inexperience – he made his debut in February – could mean there’s more to come and he’s the selection.

It’s always invigorating to hear the Cheltenham roar before the Supreme and we at JPFestival.com can’t wait to be there to enjoy Day One.


1 pt each/way Tornado Flyer, 2019 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (25/1 Ladbrokes, Bet Victor, Totesport)