Thursday, March 23

Cheltenham Festival 2022: Champion Hurdle day – live! | Sport


1.30 Supreme Novice Hurdle Preview

A small(ish) but select field for the opening race of the meeting will be sent on their way by the traditional roar from the heaving grandstands. About a dozen of us tried our best to match it last year, by the way, but it just wasn’t the same. Anyway, the 2022 renewal has all the strands you would hope for in the opening race, including an early chance for the Brits to get a winner on the board, as Constitution Hill, from the Nicky Henderson yard, is one of no more than three home-trained horses that could start favorite for a Grade One race this week. It is “could” rather than will, as Dysart Dynamo has replaced him as the narrow favorite this morning, though it is still very tight – 9-4 versus 5-2 – and either or both could head the market at 1.30pm. jonbona stable companion of Constitution Hill, is also in with a big shout – all three horses are unbeaten so far – while mighty Potter (Gordon Elliott) and Mullins’s second-string Kilcruit, runner-up when odds-on for the Bumper here last year, are also priced up at single-figure odds. For me, it came down to a straight choice between Constitution Hill and Dysart Dynamo, and the latter made slightly more appeal as a) the Irish Grade Two form could be on a slightly higher level than Constitution Hill’s Grade One win on heavy ground in January , and b) the time of Dysart Dynamo’s wide-margin success last time lends a little weight to that theory. It’s a fascinating contest though, and victory for any of the top five in the market could not be classed as a surprise.

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Good morning from Cheltenham

The gates were flung open at 10.30am and one lucky individual became the first paying punter to set foot on the hallowed tarmac leading to the bar since the last one left in 2020.

Around 69,000 more are expected to follow him or her through the door today, and what an afternoon awaits them in the natural amphitheater of Cheltenham racecourse, a venue which gathers up the noise and sends it swirling around and inside your head like nowhere else.

Greg Wood

Eager punters at the front of the queue to get back into #cheltenham. The gates open in 5 mins.

March 15, 2022

The official attendance on each of the four days 12 months ago was around 41, and without wishing to sound in any way ungrateful, watching it from your sofa was very much the way to go. The Festival is not the Festival without the atmosphere, and it felt as though historic achievements – like Rachael Blackmore lifting the prize for the meeting’s top jockey for the first time – effectively went unacknowledged. The race, you realized, is only apart of the experience. The reception afterwards is what makes it complete.

I can still remember the bedlam as Like-A-Butterfly and Charlie Swan came up the hill in the Supreme Novice Hurdle 20 years ago almost to the day, in the first Festival race after the 2001 meeting was lost to foot-and-mouth. The pent-up energy and frustration of 24 months away exploded from the stands, and we can expect something similar shortly after 1.30 today, not least if Dysart Dynamo and Constitution Hill, the big hopes for Ireland and Britain respectively, jump the last together.

Greg Wood

There was a mad dash to bags and the best seats in the bars when the doors opened at 10.30 at #Cheltenham. By my reckoning Mike Hesketh and William Mort were first to get their hands on a Guinness, but they’re here to work in the betting ring so they possibly had a head start.

March 15, 2022

Honeysuckle and Rachael Blackmore will also get the huge ovation they deserved 12 months ago if they can repeat their success in the Champion Hurdle. The British runners’ attempt to keep at least within shouting distance from their Irish counterparts will be another theme of the day, as Alan King’s Edwardstone goes to post as favorite for the Arkle Trophy (2.10) against a host of Irish challengers, while the two handicaps on the card, at 2.50 and 4.50, both have full fields and offer the kind of challenge that few punters can resist.

The first race – and the traditional roar to send them on their way – is at 1.30, picks for all seven races are here and all the news, results and gossip will be here on the live blog as soon as it drops. HappyFestival!


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