By Sam Turner for the Daily Mail
sports mail provides all the advice ahead of the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival with picks from Britain’s top tipster Sam Turner, eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore and festival-winning jockey Lizzie Kelly.
Many believe that Honeysuckle only has to show up today to be crowned Unibet Champion Hurdle Hero once again.
Henry of Bromhead’s premier mare is defending a perfect record dating back to 14 races in the showpiece of this afternoon’s hurdles and bookies are loath to take many risks if she fails to deliver again.
A six-length rout of Sharjah last year marked Honeysuckle as one of National Hunt’s new racing icons and she has done little to dispel that tag since, continuing to beat every rival placed ahead she.
Defending champion Honeysuckle is the overwhelming favorite to win the Champion Hurdle
However, there is a chance she will face a tougher test this time around as the then-unbalanced Spitter was second favorite last year, while Goshen, a considerably better right-handed hurdler, had no than 11-2.
This year’s renewal appears to feature greater strength in depth, with APPRECIATE IT (Cheltenham, 3.30), winner of last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, representing the all-conquering stable of Willie Mullins, while Teahupoo and Adagio , five years, improve the hedges.
The 2020 winner Stunning, back problems seemingly fixed, is another that can’t be dismissed with Tommy’s Oscar, who cruises so high he surely has to brag he has at least a chance of framework.
Willie Mullins’ 2021 Supreme Winner Appreciate It To Face Honeysuckle On Tuesday
Honeysuckle supporters may not flinch from these challenges, but they have more to offer than last year’s opposition and, if Mullins worked the oracle with Appreciate It, then his eight-year-old is a very exciting proposition.
Last year’s Supreme wasn’t a vintage renewal, but the selection was incredibly dominant in an era no different than Honeysuckle.
Mullins has resisted the urge to run Appreciate It this season but, as we know from six-time festival winner Quevega, long absences aren’t a problem for the Closutton maestro.
1.30 Dynamo Dysart
2.10 Etel River
2.50 Gericault Roque
3.30 Enjoy it
4.10 Queens Creek (nap)
4.50 The tide is turning
5.30 Run Wild Fred (nb)
1:30 p.m. Jonbon (nap)
2.50 Tea mower
4.10 Stormy Ireland (nb)
4.50 Hms Seahorse
Northerner – 2.50 Vintage Clouds (nap)
NOVICE SUPREME HURDLES
Mullins could start the encounter on the right foot with the explosive DYSART DYNAMO (Cheltenham, 1.30) in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The undefeated six-year-old’s flamboyant style isn’t necessarily perfect for this mission, but there are other leaders out there and hopefully Paul Townend can be able to get into the race without spending . all the gasoline.
Towering Constitution Hill poses enormous danger and it’s not hard to envision this solid two-mile stayer arriving with a big challenge on the final flight. Hopefully Dysart Dynamo can withstand this late onslaught.
SPORTS LIFE ARKLE CHASE
Edwardstone represents one of Britain’s top prospects of the week and, given a virtually flawless record on the fences, he’s extremely hard to hit – so I won’t!
But RIVIERE D’ETEL (Cheltenham, 2.10) probably did more in her hunting career and was unlucky not to win the Irish equivalent of this race at the Dublin Racing Festival. Coeur Sublime, third that day, is a high price for a horse of his level, with some firms offering four places.
Edwardstone represents one of Britain’s top prospects at Cheltenham this week
ULTIMA HANDICAP HUNTING
This race was favorable to relations with GERICAULT ROQUE (Cheltenham, 2.50), who won this race twice with Un Temps Pour Tout in 2016 and 2017.
CLOSE BROTHERS MARES’ HURDLE
QUEENS BROOK (Cheltenham, siesta, 4.10) looked like the run would do her good in the Burning Victory chase at Punchestown last month and she looks a decent bet to turn the tables around.
HUNTING BOODLES & NH
GORDON ELLIOTT can enjoy a favorable conclusion with THE TIDE TURNS (Cheltenham, 4.50) holding a strong hand in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, while RUN WILD FRED (Cheltenham, nb, 5.30) has all the attributes to lift the final.