Cheltenham Tips: Champion Hurdle Preview For Day 1 at Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Tips: Champion Hurdle Preview For Day 1 at Cheltenham Festival
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The 2022 Champion Hurdle is an open and shut case, isn't it? Probably.

The outstanding candidate and red-hot market leader is the brilliant mare Honeysuckle, who returns to Cheltenham to defend her crown having won the 2021 Champion Hurdle by a commanding six-and-a-half lengths.

Honeysuckle has never been beaten. She's raced 14 times and come home in front on each occasion. There appear to be no chinks in her armoury and the case for her is as watertight as it gets, especially as she gets 7lb from her male rivals, an allowance that effectively means that any male opponent is going to have to run to at least 170 if he's to have any chance of turning her over.



It is actually easy to argue that she should be shorter than 4/5 with the best betting sites, a price that gives her a theoretical 60% chance of winning. She would probably win this race more than six times in every ten renewals.

Honeysuckle will no doubt be a bedrock of thousands of multiples up and down the land and it's easy to see why.

However, you can back a 4/5 shot any day of the week and this is the Cheltenham Festival. It comes around just once a year and it feels only right that we should try and find a big-race wager that gives us a bit more bang for our rapidly depreciating buck.

UK bookmakers fall over themselves to offer enhanced place terms at the Cheltenham Festival, so the combination of nine runners and a short-priced favourite is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of any such offerings.

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Big Ask For Appreciate It

The obvious danger to Honeysuckle is Appreciate It, one of the most impressive winners at last year's Cheltenham Festival. He took apart his Supreme Novices' Hurdle field in the manner of a horse with the racing world at his feet.

Appreciate It arguably has the greatest potential of any other horse in this race - he could easily have the class to give weight and a beating to Honeysuckle. The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old has won three Grade 1 races from just four starts over hurdles and is quite clearly a class act. He's also proven at a Cheltenham Festival, something that cannot be underestimated.

The problem is, he's a 4/1 poke with horse racing betting sites despite not having been on the track for a year.

There is no doubt that his master trainer will have him primed and it wouldn't be the biggest surprise if he proved up to the task, but there just isn't enough juice in his price now.

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Five Year Old's Not Discounted

There are a couple of five-year-olds in this year's race that have frame potential at least, notably Teahupoo and ADAGIO, and we don't have to go back too far to find a horse of that age winning this race (Espoir d'Allen in 2019).

Teahupoo hasn't put a foot wrong this season, showing improved form in each start and his 11-length thrashing of Darasso at Gowran last month is a very strong piece of form. Who knows where his improvement might end, and he is a very tempting each-way option, but Adagio is narrowly preferred because he has a strong track record that reads 2212, including a fine second in the 2021 Triumph Hurdle behind Quilixios.

Adagio might have been edged out by Goshen close home at Wincanton last time but the front two, who pulled 13 lengths clear of the third, posted strong time performances that day and the race will have put Adagio spot on for this challenge.

There could easily be a good deal more to come from Adagio and he's yet to run a bad race at Prestbury Park, so he rates a decent value each-way wager at 22/1, especially if you can get your hands some enhanced place terms.

Verdict: Back Adagio each-way at 22/1 (freely available)

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