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All you need to know on Champion Hurdle day as the Cheltenham Festival begins

The famous Cheltenham Festival roar is all set for 1.30
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No more sleeps, no more waiting, it's here. After months of build up, this year's Cheltenham Festival finally begins and what an opening day it should be.

A fascinating renewal of the Unibet Champion Hurdle (3.30) is the undisputable highlight of the day and perhaps the entire festival, with defending champion Buveur D'Air trying to become the sixth horse to win the race three times but facing some daunting opposition in Apple's Jade and Laurina.

The meeting kicks off with the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (1.30) and it's a wide open renewal, although Klassical Dream, whose trainer Willie Mullins has a good record in the festival curtain-raiser, has been all the rage since declarations were announced on Sunday.

The Racing Post Arkle (2.10) and OLBG Mares' Hurdle (4.10) are the other Grade 1s on the card. However, it is worth remembering it is not all about Cheltenham as Southwell (Flat), Sedgefield (jumps) and, in the evening, Wolverhampton (Flat) also host meetings.

Going report

Cheltenham (first race at: 1.30)
Good to soft, soft in places

Southwell (1.45)
Standard

Sedgefield (1.55)
Soft, heavy in places

Wolverhampton (5.45)
Standard

Market movers

1.55 Sedgefield - Modulus 8-1 (from 20-1)
2.25 Southwell - Earl Of Bunnacurry 3-1 (from 6-1)
2.50 Cheltenham - Vintage Clouds 18-1 (from 25-1)

What to back

Not sure what to back on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival? Fear not, members can access Pricewise's value picks in two parts. Click here for his Ultima picks, while you can find his Mares' Hurdle, National Hunt Chase and Close Brothers handicap selections here

Elsewhere, get our experts best picks from Cheltenham and the remaining cards in the daily Tips Box.

What to read

If you're not excited enough already, read the opening day's Cheltenham Fever to get you in the mood.

As alluded to earlier, the Champion Hurdle really is the biggest race of the day. Get the lowdown and all the key quotes on the main protagonists here.

What to watch

The Postcast team have previewed Tuesday's races in great detail and it is well worth a watch.

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson could be set for another fine festival with the likes of Buveur D'Air, Altior, Champ and Santini among his Cheltenham squad. The Seven Barrows leader has been discussing the highs and lows of being a racehorse trainer.

The best of Racing Post Sport

Away from Cheltenham, the Champions League last 16 continues, with Manchester City carrying a slender lead into their second leg tie at home to Schalke. Read Mark Langdon's preview here.

Final thought 

After photo-finish controversy, the equine flu scare and prize-money rows, it would be lovely to see the Cheltenham Festival go by without controversy, with the focus hopefully on magnificent training feats, stunning rides, sublime performances and thrilling races. Good luck to all participants, equine and human, and let's hope for the safe return of all. 


For the freshest betting advice, based on latest going and market conditions, don't miss the Live Tipster every afternoon. Just click Raceday Live at racingpost.com or the mobile app


 

A fascinating renewal of the Unibet Champion Hurdle is the undisputable highlight of the day
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