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Tuesday 15th March Cheltenham race card - The full schedule for Champion Hurdle day

Jon Wilde in Tues. 14th March 14 Mar 2016
  • Seven races take place on a thrilling first day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival
  • We have details of all the contests scheduled for Tuesday's card
Annie Power (right) is set to start favourite for the 2016 Champion Hurdle (credit: Cheltenhampro.com)

Day one of the Cheltenham Festival is always among the most eagerly-awaited sporting occasions of any year, with the Champion Hurdle providing the highlight of a fantastic afternoon’s action.

Here is the full schedule for the opening day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival:

1.30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 2 miles 87 yards

The famous ‘Cheltenham roar’ will echo around the Cotswolds when the runners line up for the first of 28 races at this perennially mouthwatering meeting, with Willie Mullins aiming to land the curtain-raiser for the fourth year in succession courtesy of hot favourite Min or even second-string Bellshill.

2.10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase – 1 mile 7 furlongs 199 yards

The chasers’ equivalent of the previous race in being a speed test for novices, the Arkle is always a thrilling spectacle and again it’s all about Irish trainer Mullins who aims to follow up Un De Sceaux’s brilliant 2015 victory with last season’s Supreme winner Douvan.

2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase – 3 miles 1 furlong

The first of the handicaps and this one is for chasers who fall just short of being Gold Cup class. It can serve as a Grand National trial and last year’s victor The Druids Nephew was travelling like a winner at Aintree a few weeks later until falling five fences from home.

3.30 Stan James Champion Hurdle – 2 miles 87 yards

Simply the most prestigious hurdles race in the world, this is one of the greatest events on the horse racing calendar. Defending champion Faugheen is unfortunately ruled out by injury, but trainer Willie Mullins looks to have very able deputies in Annie Power, Nichols Canyon and Sempre Medici.

4.10 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle – 2 miles 3 furlongs 200 yards

Mullins has incredibly won seven of the eight runnings of this race, six of them via the remarkable Quevega, and even though Annie Power has been switched to the Champion Hurdle he still looks to hold the whip hand with the similarly promising Vroum Vroum Mag.

4.50 146th Year of the National Hunt Chase – 3 miles 7 furlongs 170 yards

The first race of the meeting confined to amateur riders, this is also the longest of the entire Festival. It is for novice chasers not quite classy enough for Wednesday’s RSA Chase and Jonjo O’Neill, who has an excellent record in the race, saddles the likely favourite Minella Rocco.

5.30 Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase – 2 miles 4 furlongs 78 yards

One of the newer races at the Festival having only been added to the schedule in 2011, this is for novice chasers below the top level. The betting is wide open but among the leading fancies are Warren Greatrex’s Aloomomo, Dan Skelton’s Willow’s Saviour and Tom George’s Double Shuffle.


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Tuesday 15th March Cheltenham race card - The full schedule for Champion Hurdle day

Day one of the Cheltenham Festival is always among the most eagerly-awaited sporting occasions of any year, with the Champion Hurdle providing the highlight of a fantastic afternoon’s action.

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