Race-by-race guide to Cheltenham day 1
Cue Card is the one to beat but he's just too short at 7/4. Paddy Power have a money-back offer if he wins so with that safety net in mind, I'm going dutch (back both) Zaidpour and Spirit Son at an overall price of 12/5.
Medermit has a good record at Cheltenham and although most of those races were over sticks, he can jump well at a fast pace which is an essential skill for the Irish Independent Arkle Chase. This is Alan King's best hope of a winner at the Festival and is definitely the one to beat at 11/4.
The JP McManus-owned Sunnyhillboy (6/1) has been laid out for this race and slots in nicely in the weights off 139. Adams Island (16/1) has place claims now back at his favoured distance.
Hurricane Fly is hugely exciting in Ireland but will he handle Cheltenham? Menorah has an obvious chance too but Khyber Kim has the form in the book and could be the each-way bet of the day at 10/1.
This used to be the Enda Bolger benefit race but the form of old stalwarts Garde Champetre and L'Ami has been up and down of late and it may be time to look elsewhere. Oscar Bay is the absolute outsider of the field but he's a tough old sort and could be worth a couple of pennies in the place market on the machine.
Willie Mullins' Quevega is considered the banker of the festival for many, but she's now gone odds-on and it's not worth the risk. Nigel Twiston-Davies' Banjaxed Girl is a fluent jumper and could spring a surprise at 16/1.
Not a race for heavy punting, but David Pipe's Swing Bill is of interest at a double-figure price. A quick return to racing after 10 days is not ideal but he's held in high regard at the yard and is definitely in with an outside chance.