Matt Chapman's Cheltenham Festival tips: I'm all over this Nicky Henderson runner who's been nigh-on faultless | The Sun

IS he better than legendary hurdler Istabraq?

Is he superior to Night Nurse? Different gravy to Monksfield? A league apart from Persian War? Classier than Comedy of Errors?

And would he destroy See You Then?

Today, Cheltenham gets under way and it’s D-Day for CONSTITUTION HILL, who might just be the best hurdler any of us have ever seen.

Yes people it has finally arrived. The Festival is upon us. All eyes are on great British hope Constitution Hill as has faces the best of Ireland in State Man in the Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy over an extended two miles.

This won’t take long.

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With no each-way angle into the race all I want to see is Constitution Hill blitz the field for Michael Buckley, Nico de Boinville and Nicky Henderson.

The incredible Supreme hero has gone on this season to hack up in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle and the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

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Please, put on a show for us this afternoon live on ITV.

Day One of Cheltenham 2023 gets under way with the Grade 1 SkyBet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle over an extended two miles.

I’ve always been a Facile Vega fan and nothing has changed. I could see him winning this on the bridle.

That said the bet has to be TAHMURAS eachway for champion trainer Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.

The Tolworth winner stays well and his Sandown form has a solid enough look to it. Is he good enough? Only time will tell. But at double digit odds I’ll chance him.

Next up, the Grade 1 Sporting Life Arkle Novices’ Chase over two miles. I’m all over JONBON here for Henderson and Aidan Coleman.

The Supreme Novices’ runner-up and Aintree winner has been pretty faultless over fences and even though he could have scored more easily at Warwick last time, the form is solid and I suspect he’ll come on a lot for the run.

Before the Champion Hurdle is the Ultima Handicap Chase over three miles and a furlong.

Light weights dominated this last year but it seems unlikely this time.

OSCAR ELITE is only 1lb higher than when third in 2022 and he bled from the nose that day which can’t have helped.


My selection was back to form in a small field at Ascot last time and has a fair racing weight with 10st 12lb. I’ll chance him.

After the Champion is another Grade 1 in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs.

Many of these should be in the Champion Hurdle but with the Festival diluted they get an easier option here.

I’m sticking with LOVE ENVOI each-way for Harry Fry and Jonathan Burke.

The seven-year-old has only been beaten once in her life at the hands of Brandy Love but has recent form to her name unlike that old rival.

Love Envoi improves all the time, while Epatante and Honeysuckle are not quite as good as they once were.

The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is for four-year-olds over an extended two miles I like the look of PERSEUS WAY each-way here for Gary and Jamie Moore.

At Kempton he made a bad mistake at the last which handed success to Nusret but I liked the way he kept on.

Finally, the Grade 2 Wellchild National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase over three miles six furlongs.

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It’s hard to get away from the old slow boat GAILLARD DU MESNIL who has been tackling Grade 1 company and takes a drop in class.

He stays all day and is a sound jumper for Willie Mullins and son Patrick. Good luck!


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