Cheltenham Festival Day One Tips: Jamie Codd’s 50/1 Boodles selection!

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Cheltenham Festival Day One Tips: Jamie Codd’s 50/1 Boodles selection!

Multiple Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Jamie Codd returns with his Cheltenham Festival Day One picks including a 50/1 selection on the card!

1.30pm – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle looks a tricky puzzle to crack, but I’m tentatively sticking with FIREFOX to deliver the goods for Jack Kennedy and Gordon Elliott. He has to bounce back from a below-par effort over further at Naas in January but he’s been freshened up since, and he has the form in the book.

Wind the clock back to December, and he beat none other than Ballyburn. I suppose he did have a fitness edge over Willie Mullins’ youngster that day, but he still beat him nicely, and it’s not the only piece of strong form to his name. I won two bumpers on him, which included a victory over Ile Atlantique on soft ground. We know he handles dig in the ground, and I think he’ll be a strong stayer at the trip. I’ve always been fond of him and I’m hopeful of a big run in the opener.

Firefox and Jack Kennedy win the Kettles Country House Hotel Maiden Hurdle

Image: Firefox and Jack Kennedy win the Kettles Country House Hotel Maiden Hurdle

Tullyhill is the pick of Paul Townend and has plenty going for him, but I fear Mystical Power most. This has always been his target, his pedigree is top-notch and I’ve heard he’s been burning up the gallops, which might have been a factor in the decision to send Ballyburn to the Gallagher on Wednesday.

At a big price, I also think Asian Master could hit the frame. He’s been a surprise package this year, but has been winning impressively, is clearly improving and will handle the ground.

2.10pm – My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase

I’m with GAELIC WARRIOR in the My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase. I was blown away by his first two starts over fences and am willing to put a line through his run at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival.

He got very upset in the preliminaries and was a handful going to the start, and it’s interesting that Willie Mullins has opted for a first time hood, as this might help keep a lid on him before and during the race.

Gaelic Warrior and Patrick Mullins win the Grade 1 Faugheen Novice Steeplechase

Image: Gaelic Warrior and Patrick Mullins win the Grade 1 Faugheen Novice Steeplechase

There promises to be plenty of pace on in the race, and while he’s been ridden aggressively so far over fences, that wasn’t his style over hurdles.

I have a feeling Paul Townend will sit just behind this pace and try and take a lead. I’d say this is the right race for him, he’s the best horse in the race, and provided he puts it all together and jumps straight, I think he’ll win.

2.50pm – Ultima Handicap Chase

CHIANTI CLASSICO has a progressive profile and looks to have a very solid chance in the Ultima Handicap Chase. I’ve always been a fan of this horse even as a hurdler and he comes here having done nothing wrong in his three starts over fences this term.

He won the first two of those at Chepstow and Ascot, and was a very good second in a competitive race at Kempton last time, where he raced wider than ideal. He’s had a nice break since then and looks fairly well weighted.

Chianti Classico at Kempton

Image: Chianti Classico at Kempton

It’d be great to see Kim Bailey land another Cheltenham Festival winner and I do think it’s interesting he also runs Trelawne here, who could be the more fancied of the two in the yard. I’ll also give a shout to Twig at a price.

Ben Pauling’s horses are in magical form, and this lad has finished second on all three starts at Cheltenham, including on good to soft ground back in October. He’s at the right end of the handicap, and is still open to improvement.

3.30pm – Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Good luck if you’re having a flyer on one to hit the frame in the Champion Hurdle at a big price! I’m very interested to see how Irish Point finishes back over two miles on this sort of ground. He was excellent in the Grade 1 Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle at Christmas, but he does have some very solid form over this sort of trip too.

Nicky Henderson assesses State Man and Constitution Hill

Image: Nicky Henderson assesses State Man and Constitution Hill

He beat Magical Zoe giving her plenty of weight at Down Royal, and was just denied by Marine Nationale in the Royal Bond last year on soft ground. However, while he’s a very good horse in his own right, it’s hard to see him beating State Man, who deserves to be crowned champion after another stellar season.

4.10pm – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle

LOSSIEMOUTH looks a certainty in the Mares’ Hurdle. She was so good in the Triumph and in the International Hurdle last time and she’s quite simply the best mare in the race.

She has bags of pace, and Paul Townend will likely hold on to her for as long as possible, although I really don’t have any concerns about the trip with her. Of the others, I can definitely see Telmesomethinggirl running well at a big price.

Lossiemouth cruised to victory in the Unibet Hurdle during the Festival Trials Day

Image: Lossiemouth cruised to victory in the Unibet Hurdle during the Festival Trials Day

She’s a previous Festival winner back in 2021, and was going well the following year in this race when she was brought down. Her chasing career didn’t really take off, but I thought she shaped well behind Zarak The Brave over hurdles last time. She’s a good mare who might just be coming to the boil for Henry de Bromhead, whose horses are in terrific order.

4.50pm – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

This is a bit of a minefield, but I’ll take a chance on HARSH each-way at a huge price for Joseph O’Brien and Gigginstown. He made a bright enough start over hurdles, including when winning very easily Cork and he was deemed good enough to run in the Grade 2 Finale Juvenile at Chepstow over the Christmas period.

He was sent off 5/2 for that, and while he didn’t run particularly well if truth be told, he’s surely capable of better. Joseph knows what he’s doing, and he now pitches up in the Boodles off 10-13 with the excellent Conor Stone-Walsh taking a further 5lbs off his back. Soft ground holds no fears, and I think he could run a big race.

5.30pm – Maureen Mullins National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase

CORBETTS CROSS is a very classy horse and I expect him to win the National Hunt Chase for Emmet Mullins and JP McManus. It hasn’t exactly been plain sailing over fences for him this term, but he still has a good victory and a Grade 1 second to his name and he has the right man on board in the shape of Derek O’Connor.

Corbetts Cross and Mark Walsh (white cap) win the Jim Ryan Beginners Chase from Three Card Brag at Fairyhouse

Image: Corbetts Cross and Mark Walsh (white cap) win the Jim Ryan Beginners Chase from Three Card Brag at Fairyhouse

I just think he’s a better horse than Embassy Gardens and stamina shouldn’t be an issue at all for him. It will be interesting to see how the race is run though.

While it’s only a small field, we’ve seen Mr Vango and Apple Away both ridden aggressively, and they could make it quite a test.

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