Cheltenham Festival LIVE: Day 1 winners and results

The UK’s most popular racing festival returns as Cheltenham 2023 gets underway

The Cheltenham Festival is back for 2023 with a thrilling week of racing lined up in the Cotswolds for what is known as ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’, as racegoers descend on the iconic course.

The Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup bookend the four-day meeting as perhaps the two highest-profile Grade 1 races, with the Champions Hurdle contested on the opening day on Tuesday and superstar horse Constitution Hill a heavy favourite to triumph.

Meanwhile, Rachael Blackmore returns to Cheltenham looking to create more history after an astounding win to retain the Gold Cup in 2022 –a victory that helped the Irish trainers triumph handily over their British counterparts to easily land the prestigious Prestbury Cup, with a mighty 18 wins compared to just 10 for the home horses.

The festival provides a massive £274m boost to the local economy, a study from the University of Gloucestershire has found, and while organisers will be hoping the rain holds off, it promises to be an exciting week of racing regardless.

Follow all the Day 1 action from Cheltenham below:


Cheltenham Festival 2023

Facile Vega looks rather uncomfortable as he prowls the paddock, restless energy as he is dragged around in front of the throng.

Cheltenham Festival 2023: Action nears

The anticipation is building, and Cheltenham appears ready to roar. Constitution Hill’s potential charge to victory later has really gripped the Festival, but it could be a fascinating opener. Facile Vega remains the favourite but Marine Nationale’s career is off to an excellent start, and Barry Connell’s horse could challenge.

Cheltenham Festival 2023: AP McCoy hopes it’s a ‘knockout’ for Constitution Hill

“Sport is all about ‘I was there’ moments’,” AP McCoy says to ITV about the big attraction on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

“You’re hoping for a Mike Tyson job – a knockout.”

Cheltenham Festival 2023

Yes, the action is nearing in the Cotswolds, with little more than half an hour until the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Might those soft conditions play a role? Facile Vega is in need of a bounce back performance.

Cheltenham Festival 2023: Expert tips for opening race

13.30 – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Ruby Walsh tip: Facile Vega

“I’ve said it a few times now and I’m not going to change my mind – the best horse in the race is Facile Vega. He has that shocker to overcome at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival when he was beaten 20 lengths by Il Etait Temps, but the real Facile Vega ran at Christmas when he beat the same horse by four lengths. Facile Vega is the most likely winner, there’s no way I’m going against him currently.”

Oli Bell tip: Marine National

Marine National has looked impressive this season and the race is cutting up.”

Alex Hammond tip: Facile Vega

Facile Vega bombed out at the Dublin Racing Festival but that has just made him more appealing on price. Willie [Mullins] will get him back!”

Cheltenham Festival 2023: Conditions set to be ‘testing ground’ today

Jon Pullin, clerk of the course at Cheltenham, has been speaking to ITV this morning, reflecting on a challenging spell of weather.

“It’s been a tricky period,” Pullin said. “We had to start watering back in mid-Feb – we had very little rain through January, nothing through February and the long-range forecast at that stage was suggesting nothing up until this week.

“This drizzle should blow through, it is nothing too measurable. The forecast is to remain dry for the rest of today. Temperatures will drop this evening.

“The current conditions are soft ground. It will be testing for today.”

Cheltenham Festival: Day One racecard

  • Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 1.30pm
  • Arkle Challenge Trophy – 2.10pm
  • Handicap Steeple Chase – 2.50pm
  • Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy – 3.30pm
  • Mares’ Hurdle – 4.10pm
  • Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – 4.50pm
  • National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup – 5.30pm

All times GMT.

When does Cheltenham Festival start today?

When does Cheltenham start today?

Cheltenham Festival 2023: Constitution Hill is out and about

One of the most anticipated events at this year’s Cheltenham will be the performance of Constitution Hill, as yet unbeaten his five previous runs under jockey Nico de Boinville.

Last year’s winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle goes for trainer Nicky Henderson in this afternoon’s Champion Hurdle.

Henderson, seeking a record-extending ninth win in the Hurdle, tempered expectations for the horse slightly this week, though there is no doubt the six-year-old looks a real talent.

“Constitution Hill is doing freakish things, but he’s only had five runs in his life and you have to remember it is very early days in his career,” Henderson warned.

Cheltenham Festival 2023: Can Ireland retain the Prestbury Cup?

Irish trainers secured a dominant Pretbury Cup victory in 2022, with their horses taking 18 of the week’s 28 races on a tough four days for British-reared competitors.

Cheltenham Festival 2023: Supreme Novices Hurdle odds

And also thanks to Betfair, here are the latest odds for the opening go over the fences, with six-year-old Irish horse Facile Vega the favourite.

Odds for Supreme Novices Hurdle:

Facile Vega 15/8

Marine Nationale 4/1

II Etait Temps 9/2

Inthepocket 8/1

Tahmuras 11/1

Diverge 16/1

High Definition 20/1

Doctor Bravo 22/1

Chasing Fire 28/1

Rare Edition 28/1

Dark Raven 33/1

Strong Leader 40/1

Fennor Cross 70/1

Palace Boy 200/1

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