Cheltenham Gold Cup 2014 - Friday, 14th March
The first Day of the Cheltenham Festival is always a special day as the most exciting meeting of the year gets underway with the familiar raw from punters on course, the first race on the card is the Supreme Novices Hurdle and it is always a cracking start. The Supreme Novices brings together all the best young horses in their first seasons over the hurdles so we often see some real stars of the future in this race. In recent years we have had winners of the race like Go Native and Captain Cee Bee; both of them have gone onto bigger and better things so it is always a race to watch closely.
Following on from the Supreme Novices Hurdle is the excellent Arkle Challenge Trophy which has become a hugely popular race, the two mile race is run at a fast pace so is always one of the better ones for spectators. This is once again a stepping stone to bigger things for chasers as both Forpadydeplasterer and Sizing Europe have proved in recent years. The William Hill Trophy is a pure stamina test for the horses meaning there is plenty of value on offer for punters here, a big field assembles and depending on the ground conditions it can turn into a war of attrition.
The outstanding race on Day 1 is without doubt the Champion Hurdle, the best 2 mile hurdlers do battle in one of the most exciting races of the entire week. It is always a high class race with some real star names winning the Champion Hurdle in recent years, Hurricane Fly stormed clear last year to win the Champion Hurdle and he will be well backed to do the same in 2014. Following the Champion Hurdle is the exciting Cross Country Handicap as we see the runners take in the most unique race of the week; the horses traverse the middle of the course jumping various different obstacles. Enda Bolger has a great record in the race with the likes of Garde Champetre so expect the Irishman to have a strong hand once again this year.
The second last race on the Day 1 card of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival is the excellent David Nicholson Mares Hurdle, it is a relatively new race but punters have taken to it straight away and will be looking to get stuck in once again. Quevega has won the race for the past four years in some style and she is likely to be back looking for more success this season.