It’s Cheltenham and that means only one thing – it’s time for my Live Festival Blog. If you’re in the office, away from a TV or just don’t like proper news, I’ll keep you up to date with all the latest developments and snarky comments.
This year I’m bringing back the Hell of a Horse Count despite the fact typing ‘count’ repeatedly means I’m only ever one typo away from an instant P45. I’m also doing the Mildly Condescending National Stereotype Count.
– HELL OF A HORSE COUNT: 2
– MILDLY CONDESCENDING NATIONAL STEREOTYPE COUNT: 0
5.45pm: Well, it’s been a day of mixed results for most people, unless of course you’re Paddy Power, in which case it’s been a nightmare. Some favourites obliged, others didn’t but Sacre Sprinter’s win and the consequent colossal refund is the big story from Power Tower.
There was some good news for the Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance. At a preview night last weekend, Paddy Power gave trainer Paul Nicholls £500 Charity Free Bet which he promptly stuck on Rock On Ruby and when his charge claimed the Champion Hurdle, earning the service a £7,500.
Very much going against the trend of recent years, the Irish challenge took at bit of a kicking on Day 1, with Quevega being the only Irish trained winner. That leaves the tally at 6-1 to the home side and it’s going to take a very special second day to even come close to parity at the half-way point of the Festival. Sadly the lack of Irish celebrations meant a lack of mildly condescending national stereotypes, but at least the Hell Of A Horse count is up and running that’s to a quick-fire double from Ted Walsh.
That’s about all from me. I’m going to get some beauty sleep and I’ll be back fresh as a daisy to guide you through Wednesday of the greatest show on earth.
5.28pm: Ha ha! Brilliant! Dairy farmer and owner of Hunt Ball, Anthony Knott is delighted with the victory and the farm work won’t be starting too early tomorrow. “Bugger the cows!” he says. Wow – those country folk really know how to celebrate!
5.22pm: That’s a great performance from Hunt Ball to carry top weight to a resounding victory in the PLI Novices’ Chase. White Star Line stayed on well for second with Owen Glendower and Battle Group filling the places.
PLI Novices’ Chase Result
1st Hunt Ball 13/2F
2nd White Star Line
3rd Owen Glendover
4th Battle Group
5.15pm: They’re away in the really long name handicap chase …
4.55pm: Our roving reporter, Sarah has been busy stalking celebrities getting all the big scoops in the parade ring. She managed to catch up with Shane from Westlife and got this lovely snap to show the grandkids. I do have a few questions about it. Why the sunglasses? Why is Sarah smiling like it’s a dental examination? And last, but not least – how does Shane get such height in his quiff – I want to know.
Shane is a racing novice, saying this was his first time at Cheltenham and just his second time at the races! As a guest of JP McManus, and having arrived late, Shane saw the family celebrating after the 2.40 race and it took a minute for him to realise what the fuss was about. He’s is busy getting ready for Westlife’s farewell gig at Croke Park in the summer. “We’re very excited about it, Sarah,” he told our girl. “It’s going to be very emotional for the band as we all leave the stage for the last time.”
So there you have it – great news if you have no taste in music.
4.47pm: And Quevega does it! It looked far from certain as they turned into the straight, but Ruby found a bit of fresh air, guided her through and that’s when the afterburners kicked in. Kentford Grey Lady and Golden Sunbird occupy the places and Ruby dutifully poses with four triumphant fingers aloft.
Mares’ Hurdle Result
1st Quevega 4/7F
2nd Kentford Grey Lady
3rd Golden Sunbird
4.40pm: Can Quevega make it four in a row? We’ll know very soon. They’re away in the Mares’ Hurdle …
4.31pm: Nick Williams, trainer of Swincombe Flame and owner of one hell of a nifty tweed jacket, is pretty bullish about his mare’s hopes of upsetting Quevega. “We’ve just seen the Champion Hurdler get overturned, so why not?” he asks, possibly whilst making a ‘slit throat’ gesture in the direction of Willie Mullins.
4.25pm: More sad news as we’re told Garde Champetre has also been sent to the paddock in the sky. Great horse who provided so much excitement over the years. Genuinely saddening to hear.
4.20pm: David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle Betting Preview
It’s time for a preview of the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle Betting and this is pretty straightforward – Quevega all the way. There’s no real reason to think she’ll be denied her fourth victory in the race. If you are looking for an option for a bit of value, then Ruby Walsh was talking up Shop DJ earlier, but I would look at Swincombe Flame who looks like she’s improving.
4.15pm: Yep, the worst concerns are confirmed as Scotsirish has had to be put down. That’s a downer and watching Noel Edmonds’ strangely dark beard on Deal Or No Deal isn’t likely to improve the mood. It’s over to Racing UK for the last two races of the opening day, or if you want, you can watch the races live on paddypower.com if you have a bet of more than £1 or €1.
4.10pm: I’m absolutely gutted!
I thought A New Story was going to bring an end to my long losing streak in the Cross Country Chase, but it wasn’t to be thanks to a frustratingly gutsy performance from Balthazar King, giving the English their first win in the race. Wedger Pardy and Sizing Australia claim 3rd and 4th respectively. The favourite, Scotsirish got pulled up early on with what looked like a nasty injury, but hopefully it’s nothing to serious. Garde Champetre didn’t make it around and at the age of 13, that’ll probably be his last trip to the Festival for a tremendous horse.
Cross Country Chase Result
1st Balthazar King 11/2
2nd A New Story
3rd Wedger Pardy
4th Sizing Australia
3.55pm: I find it hard to take Big Mac seriously at the best of times, but it’s especially difficult in the threads he’s rocking today. Himself and Tanya are looking like a very flamboyant version of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
3.50pm: Clearly Jim McGrath is some sort of shaman or time-travelling witchdoctor. His tips for Cheltenham have been very popular with our punters and this might explain why. Despite being a Hurricane Fly fan he told Paddy Power customers and we quote: “The horse that I think has the potential to worry the favourite is Rock on Ruby.” Rock on Jim McGrath!
3.45pm: Uncle Junior continues to drift in the Cross Country Chase Betting. He’s now 8/1 after being 4/1 earlier. Scotsirish heads the market after strong support, he’s now 3/1 from 7/2.
3.36pm: Cross Country Chase Preview Betting
The Cross Country Chase is my favourite race of the Festival, but I can count the amount of winners I’ve had in the race on the hands of a digital watch. Yes, that means none. That statistic won’t stop me in my quest to find winners. I’m going to oppose Scotirish because he never seemed to like Cheltenham in his hurdling and chasing days and he well beaten in the Cross Country Chase at this venue in December. A New Story hasn’t shown much by way of form in recent outings, but he’s a previous winner of this race, carries a nice weight and offers a wee bit of value.
3.26pm: A blistering pace leads to a big upset in the Champion Hurdle as Rocky On Ruby stays on well to claim the honours. The two market leaders, Hurricane Fly and Binocular had no answer, with Overturn keeping the defending champion back in third.
Champion Hurdle Result
1st Rock On Ruby 11/1
3rd Hurricane Fly
3.21pm: We’re underway in the Champion Hurdle .. best of luck everyone.
3.11pm: Yay! We’ve had to wait a while, but Ted Walsh comes up trumps with a double ‘Hell Of A Horse.’ He’s talking about Zaidpour if you’re interested in trivial things like that.
3pm: There’s not long to go until the feature event of Day 1 and support for Hurricane Fly continues to be strong in the Champion Hurdle Betting. Not long ago, his groom was subjected to a slightly awkward interview on Channel 4 and reported him to be well, so it looks like it’s all systems go. The defending champion hurdler is now a 8/11 shot. Former champ, Binocular is considered the one most likely to get the better of him and he’s 5/1 after being 9/2 earlier in the day. After seeing Aflie Sherrin do the business, JP McManus seems a little more bullish than he was earlier, telling our on course reporter, “We have no excuses if he doesn’t win. He’s in great form.”
2.46pm: Pricewise has no sympathy for Paddy and he delivers a follow-up kick in the nuts by tipping up Alfie Sherrin to win the JLT Handicap Chase at a big price. It was a great ride from Richie McLernon to get him around and he finished strongly to deny Fruity O’Rooney. Our Mick took third with The Package running a good race after a long lay-off to claim fourth.
JLT Handicap Chase Result
1st Alfie Sherrin 14/1
2nd Fruity O’Rooney
3rd Our Mick
4th The Package
2.40pm: And they’re off in the overly long name handicap chase …
2.36pm: Our stats man has been on to me to remind me that Sprinter Sacre’s win brings Nicky Henderson level with Fulke Walwyn at the top of the list of most successful trainers at the Festival. What a way to bring up the milestone.
2.33pm: Alan King – noticeably less chucklesome than earlier – is talking about Hold On Julio again. He says he only made up his mind about sending him to the Festival on Saturday. That’s about as encouraging as hearing John McCririck is your personal stylist.
2.30pm: Right, we’ve finally talked Paddy down from that ledge and our numbers guys have done the sums on our Sprinter Sacre refund. The short version is it’s the most costly four minutes since Boris Becker stepped into that closet and the longer version is outlined here.
2.25pm: I’ve just about picked my jaw drop off the floor and it’s time to look ahead to the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase Betting. The Package has been something of an uneasy favourite, but he still leads the betting. Hold On Julio hasn’t had the kind of support his form probably merits and is available at 7/1, but there has been money for the Pricewise selection for this race, Alfie Sherrin who is now 14/1 from 18/1.
2.16pm: Absolutely amazing stuff from Sprinter Sacre. He’s in the parade ring and he looks like he’s barely broken sweat.
2.10pm: Well, if you’re going to be handing back wads and wads of cash, it’s nice to be doing it on the back of such an awesome performance. Sacre Sprinter justifies the hype with a superb performance that has Paddy weeping into his racecard. Cue Card finished second, but if you backed any other horse in the race with Paddy Power, you’ll be getting your single stake back. That’s over £2 million in total. Christmas is cancelled around Power Tower until about 2025.
The Arkle Result
1st Spritnter Sacre 8/11F
2nd Cue Card
2.05pm: They’re away in the Arkle …
2.02pm: Dermot O’Leary – yes, the Dermot O’Leary who presents the X Factor – tips up Al Ferof for the Arkle. Scoff as you might, but Ronnie Corbett tipped up the winner of the Supreme Novices’.
1.55pm: Ten minutes to go until the Arkle and Sprinter Scare has tightened up in the market. He’s now 4/5 having been Evens earlier today. Paddy was last spotted sitting in the brace position somewhere in the Gloucestershire area.
1.50pm: COUGH WATCH: There was talk of Paul Nicholls’ yard being under a bit of a cloud of late, but there was little evidence of it in the first race. Despite being a big outsider, Prospect Wells runs all the way to the line to finish fifth. A good omen ahead of Al Ferof’s showdown with Sprinter Sacre in Arkle Chase Betting?
1.45pm: We’re up and running. There’s not long to wait until the Arkle. We had Barry Geraghty in Power Tower last week talking about Sprinter Sacre and here’s what he had to say:
1.35pm: It’s a winner for Ronnie Corbett! Cinders And Ashes wins rather impressively, especially considering he kicked the last hurdle out of the ground. The well-backed Darlan hangs on for second and Trifolium grabs third. Steps To Freedom never got going while my tip, Prospect Wells stayed on gamely to tease me into thinking I had a chance of landing a winner. Oh well
1st Cinders And Ashes 10/1
1.30pm: And here we go! They’re away in the Supreme Novices … best of luck one and all!
1.23pm: Jessica Harrington was being interviewed on Channel 4. I swear I was listening, but I was also looking longingly at the cake, so I can’t remember what see said. I assume she said something like “Steps To Freedom is in good form and has a decent chance.”
1.16pm: Here’s a picture of Ronnie Corbett. And no, it hasn’t been photoshopped, he’s genuinely that small.
1.10pm: Twenty minutes to go until the first race and that famous Cheltenham roar. Darlan and Steps To Freedom are currently battling it out for favouritism in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. They’re both 6/1 at the moment. Galileo’s Choice has been tipped up in a lot of places, but he’s been 15/2 all morning. Cake and top quality jumps racing – it doesn’t get much better than this.
1pm: WE HAVE CAKE IN THE OFFICE! Wonderful, weirdly decorated cake!
12.53pm: Over to the betting ring where John McCririck looks like he’s been rummaging through the bags of clothes left outside Oxfam again.
12.51pm: Here’s one we made earlier. In this case, a video featuring the most successful jockey in the history of the Festival, Ruby Walsh and his tips for Day 1:
12.35pm: It’s back over to Channel 4, where Alice ‘Wild Hand Gestures’ Plunkett and Alastair Down kick off the afternoon’s coverage.
12.30pm: Our reporter, Sarah has arrived at the track and she’s already been busy taking photos. In this one, she snaps the jockeys as they get into position their traditional pre-race Can-Can:
Davy Russell (star top), Robbie Power (white top), David Casey, Paul Carberry (Red and black), Andrew Lynch in the black top.
12.28pm: Just over an hour away from the first race and I can feel the excitement building from in my stomach. At least I think that’s what it is. It might also be the Aldi brand Fruit & Fibre.
12.11pm: Champion Hurdle Betting Preview
I’ve been doing something lately that I’m not particularly proud of. And not in that ‘Catholic guilt’ sort of way. You see, I’m a big Hurricane Fly fan. I don’t think he’s at Istabraq’s level yet, but he’s on the way and I’ll be cheering as loudly as anyone if he equals or exceeds the achievements Aidan O’Brien’s hurdling superstar. The confession I have to make is I’ve been toying with the idea of backing Binocular for the Champion Hurdle. Hurricane Fly is absolute quality, but what Binocular did at Wincanton last time out really sticks out in my mind. The fact he had a breathing operation makes me more keen to back him than I would have been and maybe it has turned him into less of an enigma than he was in the past. I’m thinking a forecast – Hurricane Fly to beat Binocular, which – given my history – almost certainly means some other horse will beat them both.
11.58am: If you woke up in a panic this morning because you hadn’t done your Cheltenham homework, never fear, because we’ll let you copy ours. And we won’t even dob you in to the teacher for a flogging. Here’s a nifty little list of our top tipsters’ picks for Day 1 of the Festival.
11.53am: I’m told our roving reporter, Sarah O’Flaherty is eight minutes away from the track. If there’s any big news breaking, we’ll have it. Unless it happens in precisely the next eight minutes, in which case you’re on your own.
11.45am: The JLT Speciality Handicap Chase Preview
The JLT Speciality Handicap Chase Betting is one of those Cheltenham contests that’s an absolute riddle to solve. Hold On Julio is the obvious pick, but Alan King’s words and the trends don’t support his claims. It sounds like King has just about got him ready for the Festival, which is a concern whilst the last 12 winners of this race have been rated 143 or less and at 145, that is a slight negative for Julio. I don’t have a strong fancy, but I won’t be backing The Package mainly because it’s his first run in about a year and a half and it’s asking a lot to be up to the speed of a Festival race first time out. Adopting my usual and not particularly successful tactic, I’m looking for a bit of course form and that just about nudges me in the direction of Mossley. He might be worth an investment, but then again, someone probably said the same about Greek bonds at some point and look how that worked out.
11.27am: Ruby Walsh says Quevega is going to win a 4th David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle Betting, but he throws the opposition a bone by describing Shop DJ as “great value”.
11.20am: A very chuckly Alan King is being interviewed on Racing UK. He’s quietly confident about Montbazon in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Betting and in some quality ‘playing his cards close to his chest’ he says “couldn’t be happier with him”. Hold On Julio has drifted this morning for the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase Betting and that drift is unlikely to stop with King’s comments. He admitted that if Cheltenham had been a week earlier, his horse wouldn’t have made it and as it stands he has just about got him back. Mind you, he was chuckling throughout so maybe he’s not actually that worried.
10.57am: right, I’ve already mentioned Darlan’s drift for the Supreme, but there’s been plenty of activity elsewhere in today’s Cheltenham betting. Tetlami is out to 12/1 after being 9/1 earlier this morning for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Betting. Sprinter Sacre is in to 10/11 for the Arkle after being Evens for a time. There has been lot of movement in the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase Betting, the pick of which is the widely tipped-up The Package is 6/1 from 5/1, Hold On Julio is 13/2 from 6/1 and Pricewise’s selection, Alfie Sherrin is in to 16/1 from 18/1. Hurriance Fly is now rated a 5/6 chance to retain his Champion Hurdle crown. In the Cross Country Chase Betting, Uncle Junior is 5/1 from 4/1. Arguably the busiest race of the day is the final contest of Day 1, the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Hurdle. Carrick Boy is in to 10/1 from 14/1, the well fancied Hunt Ball is on the drift from 7/1 out to 8/1 and the favourite for the race is a little less favourable, with Triolo Dalene drifting out to 13/2 from 6/1
10.37am: There’s a cow crapping on Racing UK now! It’s still better than Everybody Loves Raymond.
10.35am: We’ve had a hugely signification Market Mover already today. Darlan is drifting like an Italian cruise ship in the Indian Ocean for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. JP McManus said he was one of his big chances for a win this week, but the public aren’t so impressed. He’s now available at 6/1 after being 5/1F earlier and touching 7/1 not long ago.
10.30am: Ronnie Corbett is on TV again, this time Racing UK. There’s no funny stories, again, but he does talk about the famous Four Candles sketch so that’s the perfect excuse to post this:
10.15am: Arkle Chase Betting Preview (complete with Shameless Plug)
It’s time to have a quick look at the Arkle Chase Betting – or as it’s being called around Power Tower ‘Operation Goodbye Christmas Bonus’. Our beloved leader, Paddy Power has already been on Channel 4 outlining the scenario and it sounds like having to pick between a massive kick in the nuts or a firm boot in the testicles. We’ve got a great Money-Back Special on all losers if Sprinter Sacre wins the race which means we’re pretty much screwed either way.
As for the betting, it’s hard to oppose Sprinter Sacre, but there is one worrying statistic that stands out like a non-drinker at the Cheltenham bar – only two favourites have prevailed in the last 19 runnings of the Arkle. There’s no doubt that Sprinter Sacre has the class to defy that statistic, but another minor concern is the lack of a win at the course. He finished third in last year’s Surpeme Novices’ Hurdle and clearly handles the track, so maybe the worry is ill-founded. If you are a believer in course form and looking for a touch of value, then maybe Menorah, who has three course victories to his name, is an option. You’re kind of banking on his sketchy jumping being up to scratch, but if he stays on his feet should go close enough.
10.02am: Enda Bolger isn’t exactly oozing confidence about Garde Champetre’s chances on winning another Cross Country Chase. “If he’s in the first four I’ll be happy,” he tells Racing UK in a way that suggests it’s not just false modesty.
9.50am: Dessie Hughes – with a couple of dangerous looking characters in the background who look like they’re about to mug him – is being interviewed by Racing UK. He mumbles a few things, arguably the most interesting of which are his comments on White Star Line in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Hurdle Betting. He reckons he’s “off a nice weight” and pointed out he hasn’t really got the ground he wants for most of the season. He then rips his shirt off, starts beating his chest and shouting “WE’RE GONNA WIN THIS RACE BY 20 LENGTHS! 20 LENGTHS I TELL YA! WE’RE COMING FOR YOU TRIOLO DALENE!”. Er … not quite, he says he’s “not over-confident, hopeful.”
9.40am: To counter-balance my preview of the racing, it feels like the right time to tell you about our cheat-sheets for Cheltenham from people who actually know their stuff. We’ve asked top jockeys Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty, the incredibly knowledgeable pundit John Parrott, commentator Jim McGrath and At The Races presenter Gary O’Brien for their top tips. You can print them out and share them or read them and pass them off as your own.
9.25am: Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Preview
Right it’s time for my first ill-formed and logic-spurning preview of the Festival and I’m coming out swinging for the fences. There’s very little to separate the leading contenders in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Betting and it looks wide open. For those reasons, I think there’s value to be had further down the field. Darlan, Steps To Freedom and Cinders And Ashes have shown their ability already this season and it feels a bit mental going against them. But then again, I’m a sucker for horses with course form at big prices and that’s why I’ve landed upon the name of Prospect Wells for the little known trainer and jockey partnership of P. Nicholls and R. Walsh. He finished a close second to Steps To Freedom at Cheltenham back in November and since then, Paul Nicholls tells us “He has had a breathing operation after trouble with a trapped epiglotis.” I only know what some of those words mean, but that’s good enough for me and in such a competitive race, Prospect Wells a value bet.
9.15am: It’s time for my first Shameless Plug of the week, but don’t worry, it’s a good’un. We’ve gone EVENS on Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle Chase.
9.05am: Just before I grab a bowl of Aldi’s attempt at Fruit & Fibre breakfast cereal, I’ll save you the price of the Racing Post by telling you Pricewise has tipped up The Package and Alfie Sherrin in the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase. He has also previously told us to back Vulcanite and Midnight Game in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Betting, Menorah in the Arkle Chase and Oscars Well in the Champion Hurdle.
9am: It’s the erroneously-named Everybody Loves Raymond on Channel 4 which is the perfect chance to switch over to Racing UK for something actually entertaining. It’s just a load of Willie Mullins’ horses walking in the parade ring, but already it’s better entertainment than that god-awful sitcom.
8.55am: The tips from the Morning Line team that they probably wouldn’t back with their own money are in and here they are:
Robbie Power: Steps To Freedom in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Betting and Oscars Well in the Champion Hurdle.
John Francome: Tetlami in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Betting and outsider Pentiffic JLT Speciality Handicap Chase
Ted Walsh: Dylan Ross in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Tanya: Hazy Tom in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Triolo D’Alene in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Hurdle Betting.
Jim McGrath: Quantitativeeasing in the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase Betting and Hunt Ball in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Hurdle Betting
8.45am: Ronnie wasn’t at his comic best there, but we’ll forgive him because it’s early in the morning. Here’s a reminder of the Two Ronnies at their best:
8.38am: Ronnie Corbett is on the Morning Line!! Cheltenham may have already peaked and we’re still five hours away from the first race. He tells a not very funny story about kind of being a jockey and tips up Cinders And Ashes in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but only because of the theatrical element of the name as opposed to in-depth study of the form.
8.33am: JP McManus – wearing an absolutely spiffing flat-cap and jacket combination – says he’d be “very disappointed” if Darlan doesn’t run “a big race” in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Interestingly, he’s less optimistic about the chances of Quantitativeeasing in the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase Betting despite being the well-fancied 13/2 3rd Favourite for the race. “He has it all to do,” he says, which is JP-speak for “hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell.”
8.21am: The Morning Line soundtrack an interview with conditional jockey, Harry Skelton with ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ by the Libertines. Are they trying to tell him something?
8.12am: Sam Thomas interviews jockey, Paul Townend (that’s him to the right showing off the vase he got his mum for Mothers’ Day I presume) in the Cheltenham canteen. He rides out Hurricane Fly every day and doesn’t think he’ll be beaten in the Champion Hurdle. “It’s gonna take a very good horse to beat him,” he says before mumbling something I can’t make out and finishing with underwhelming “It’s very exciting.”
8.03am: Derek Thompson is out and about bothering people around Cheltenham. He finds out that the going for Day 1 is Good (Good To Soft in places). It’s going to be cloudy apparently, but rain isn’t expected.
7.58am: It’s time for the Morning Line and jockey, Robbie Power is the guest joining all the usual suspects. Not that they’re suspects in the criminal sense. They’re not suspected of any crimes. Although John McCririck may be violating the laws of fashion.
7.54am: Alex Hammond on Sky Sports News tips up Darlan in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Triolo D’Alene in the overly long name 5.15. Don’t scoff – it takes real in-depth knowledge to constantly tip up the favourite in every race.
7.51am: Good morning everyone. ZERO MORE SLEEPS TO GO! It’s finally here and I have to say I haven’t been this excited since I got my first Nintendo. Despite rather a suspect smell on the bus, I’ve made it here safely and I’ll be bringing you all the latest news, views and unnecessary insults from Day 1 of Cheltenham.