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Your ultimate guide to an explosive first day of the Cheltenham Festival

Honeysuckle looks nailed on to successfully defend her Champion Hurdle crown.

Winning trainer Gavin Cromwell, left, owner JP McManus, centre, and jockey Mark Walsh after sending out Espoir D'Allen to win the 2019 Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy on Day One of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Sunday World

AN explosive start with the Festival opener, the Supreme Novices - the hottest and most eagerly awaited contest of the week.

DYSART DYNAMO has been declared for this race by Willie Mullins and he has to be the one to watch at 5/2, even though Constitution Hill is 9/4 favourite with Paddy Power.

He was simply awesome in the Moscow Flyer at Punchestown, where some (previously!) highly rated rivals were still turning for home as he flew past the winning post.

Willie will definitely run Kilcruit here and he is seriously respected. And if Sir Gerhard is his first choice, then he becomes the selection.

Two powerful Nicky Henderson contenders are Constitution Hill, a sleek racing machine and a highly exciting prospect, and the tougher and more proven Jonbon.

HONEYSUCKLE (3.30) looks nailed on to successfully defend her Champion Hurdle crown. Fourteen wins from fourteen, Rachael Blackmore in the plate, a 7lbs mares allowance, what's not to like?

Mind you, Appreciate It was only two seconds slower when winning the Supreme Novices on the same day last year, and while we haven't seen him since, he is trained by Mullins, so will still be primed to perfection.

Teahupoo is mighty progressive, certainly looks a Champion Hurdler in the making, but this might be a year too soon, while his stablemate Zanahiyr is not one to lightly dismiss either.

Riviere D'etel has prospects in the Arkle if she does everything right, while the feeling persists that Saint Sam has plenty in the tank but hasn't really cut loose yet. Blue Lord clearly has bags of ability, but the real Mullins's ace could be HAUT EN COULEURS (2.10).

A novicey mistake floored him at Leopardstown the last time, but he was superb at Foxrock at Christmas, when slamming two sharp stablemates - so much that neither are lining up here this week, though both have won in the meantime.

His eye-catching third in the Triumph last year was his first run for Willie, and he is very much a rising star. Edwardstone is a powerful home contender, with his slick jumping a major plus.

The Mares Hurdle looks a cracking contest.

Telmesomethinggirl and Heaven Help Us both excelled here last season, while Mrs Milner also scored at this Festival last year and was clearly out of sorts last time at Newbury.

Stormy Ireland has enjoyed a great revival since returning to the Mullins's camp, and she took the Relkeel over track and trip on New Year's Day in fine style.

But with Heaven Help Us lining up, she won't get her own way in front - and there is a fear that both could be vulnerable at the business end.

Which is where QUEENS BROOK (4.10) can pounce. The way she reeled in Ciel De Neige over this trip at Fairyhouse was impressive, and while she has a length and a half to find with Burning Victory - another major player here - from Punchestown the last day, she looks well capable.

While it's hard to look past the Irish in the National Hunt Chase, Pat's Fancy comes here in hot form and was second to Bravemansgame at Newbury.

Yet he was buried alive in the Albert Bartlett last year, won superbly by VANILLIER (5.30) who can bounce back to form here with the Gavin Cromwell (above) team back in business after a lean spell.

1.30 1 DYSART DYNAMO; 2 Constitution Hill; 3 Kilcruit

2.10 1 HAUT EN COULEURS; 2 Edwardstone; 3 Riviere D'etel

2.50 1 CORACH RAMBLER; 2 Schoolboy Hours; 3 Noble Yeats

3.30 1 HONEYSUCKLE; 2 Teahupoo; 3 Appreciate It

4.10 1 QUEENS BROOK; 2 Burning Victory; 3 Heaven Help Us

4.50 1 THE TIDE TURNS (Nap); 2 Gaelic Warrior; 3 Ebasari

5.30 1 VANILLIER; 2 Pat's Fancy; 3 Stattler


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