Home / News / Cheltenham Festival / Matthew Sutcliffe’s Cheltenham Value Punts – Day 1

Cheltenham Festival

Matthew Sutcliffe’s Cheltenham Value Punts – Day 1

It’s Cheltenham Eve for racing fans across the country. Matthew Sutcliffe has a wealth of selections across Tuesday’s card, including a stablemate who could be played to upset State Man.

Published: 9:30am, Monday, 11th March (Odds correct at time of publication)

Bookmakers not found
Claim Bonus Signup Offer Willie Mullins To Train 1+ Cheltenham Winner – 40/1 With Sky Bet
Claim Bonus
10 Our Score
Excellent Review

1:30 Cheltenham –  Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+) – Mistergif 12/1 1pt EW 3 places 

History will tell you that when backing a Mullins horse in the Supreme, you want one that’s come from Graded company at Leopardstown or Punchestown, but bar Ballyburn, I’ve seen nothing from the Irish novices at those meetings that screams a Cheltenham Festival winner. I’d be seriously concerned about Mystical Power’s jumping, and for all trends are there to be shot at, progeny of Galileo are 0/6 in the Supreme. 

Tullyhill is the mount of Paul Townend, but the race he won last time out was a farce in relation to the animation in the saddle of those in behind, who were evidently minding their marks. I’d be concerned about his jumping too in a strongly run contest, and you won’t see many Supreme winners having won in February. 

Firefox for Gordon Elliott was reportedly lame when a disappointing 4th in the Lawlors of Naas, a race that often unearths clues for the now Gallagher Novices’, but even if you were to draw a line through that, he beat an undercooked Ballyburn by two lengths around a time most of Mullins’ were needing the run, so he’s another in my eyes worth taking on. 

The Irish battalion are always a tricky group to dissect, but visually, I’d have MISTERGIF’s performance at Limerick as one of the most impressive novice hurdling performances I’ve seen this season. In the colours of Simon Munir & Isaac Souede, the son of Zarak won by eighteen-lengths with any amount in hand, posting a higher RPR than when State Man won the race in 2022. While I won’t pretend he’s nothing to find on form with the others, he’s completely unexposed and in terms of jumping, he’s by far the most superior in that department. I was impressed how quickly he lengthened away from the second who joined him two out and Kieran Callaghan could barely pull him up. 

I wouldn’t be all that concerned about his lack of experience in races like this as he had plenty of flat racing before going hurdling so he’ll be well versed with the demands of racing, and he can give Munir & Souede another Cheltenham Festival winner with a hood reapplied.

Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race)
Willie Mullins To Train 1+ Cheltenham Winner – 40/1 With Sky Bet

New customers only. Min/max stake £1. Free Bets credited on top of winnings within 72 hours. First single and e/w bet only. 4 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. Free bets expiry after 30 days. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply.

2:10 Cheltenham – My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+) – Quilixios 7/1 1pt WIN 

QUILIXIOS has had somewhat of a fragmented career since winning the Triumph Hurdle in 2021, placing three times in behind Stayers’ Hurdle favourite Teahupoo in Graded company. He was eventually sent over fences this season when making a winning debut at Limerick in October by a neck over Cool Survivor, battling well after a bad mistake at the last. The step up in trip to three miles at Punchestown in November was a failed experiment, but he regained the winning thread in comfortable fashion back down to two miles at Naas, a race won by the likes of Appreciate It, Blue Lord and Energumene in recent seasons, who all went on to either win or place at the Festival (granted Energumene’s victory was a year later). 

Quilixios’ jumping was foot perfect there and he travelled the best he had done in a while, and the third has since gone in comfortably with the second prominent in the market for the Grand Annual, so a repeat of that effort would see him bang there with little negatives surrounding him. 

My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race)
Willie Mullins To Train 1+ Cheltenham Winner – 40/1 With Sky Bet

New customers only. Min/max stake £1. Free Bets credited on top of winnings within 72 hours. First single and e/w bet only. 4 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. Free bets expiry after 30 days. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply.

2:50 Cheltenham – Ultima Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+) NAP – Eldorado Allen 18/1 1.5pt EW 6 places

ELDORADO ALLEN was advised in my Ante-Post Lucky15 as the Festival NAP on Thursday, but for the sake of clarity I’ll advise a 2pt EW bet at 18/1 given the original 20/1 has gone. 

The reasoning stays the same so I won’t go into detail, but the booking of Freddie Gingell is pleasing as he’ll shave a valuable 5lbs off, and his aggressive, bold style will help our selection. The Tizzard’s have given him a wind operation and reapplied the cheek-pieces to the tongue tie, so given seven of the last eleven Ultima winners have worn one of those aids, that can only be a plus too.

Ultima Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)
Willie Mullins To Train 1+ Cheltenham Winner – 40/1 With Sky Bet

New customers only. Min/max stake £1. Free Bets credited on top of winnings within 72 hours. First single and e/w bet only. 4 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. Free bets expiry after 30 days. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply.

3:30 Cheltenham – Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+) – Zarak The Brave 20/1 1pt EW 3 places 

The Champion Hurdle took a huge blow with the absence of last years’ winner Constitution Hill, and the Mullins camp will be thinking they’ve been gifted a penalty kick with State Man, who is 10lbs higher than the rest of the field and on the balance of his form, should probably win as he pleases. 

However, I don’t think it will be as plain sailing as the market suggests. While he has mopped up in Grade One’s this season, the bare form suggests he’s not indestructible. He’s beaten a rejuvenated Bob Olinger, but even at that one’s peak he wouldn’t be a lively contender in here. He’s also beaten Impaire Et Passe twice, but the Ballymore winner looks a shadow of his former self from last season, highlighted by the fact they’ve swerved the Festival this year. 

It may be somewhat ironic that I’m backing ZARAK THE BRAVE here as he’s a mountain to find on recent form, but it wasn’t long ago he was thought of a Champion Hurdle contender and his earlier form would bring him into contention for at least the placings. The son of Zarak of twice behind Lossiemouth in 2023 giving her 7lbs both times, finishing three lengths closer to her the last time around and the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown. Lossiemouth has obviously progressed at a higher rate of knots of the pair, but she would certainly give State Man a race had she ended up in here (criminal she hasn’t, but that’s another story!), so it seems only natural to suggest Zarak The Brave is hugely overlooked on that basis. 

After his third in a G1 at Auteuill when he was too keen and given plenty to do behind stablemate Gala Marceau, he bounced back to winning ways with a gutsy victory in the Galmoy Hurdle, a race that four-year olds have historically struggled in. That was a smart, career best performance given his age and proved what a tough calibre of horse he is. After being found clinically abnormal at Tipperary, he returned with a comfortable success against Telmesomethinggirl in a G3 at Naas, shaping very much like needing the run. He posted a 3lbs lower RPR than Espoir Dallen did there who went on to win the Champion Hurdle on his following start, and the conditions of the track at Naas would suggest he’s more than capable of going well round Cheltenham. 

He’s undoubtedly got something to find on form, but he comes into the race rated 152, the fourth highest in the contest and I’d shocked had he not the potential to improve beyond that, especially with the majority of these having already played their hand. Irish Point was talked up as a Stayer’s Hurdle horse this season and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was taken off his feet by some quicker types. The rest of the field wouldn’t be out of place in a handicap and the unearthed potential of Zarak The Brave makes him a confident each way play with the field set at the dead eight. 

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (GBB Race)
Willie Mullins To Train 1+ Cheltenham Winner – 40/1 With Sky Bet

New customers only. Min/max stake £1. Free Bets credited on top of winnings within 72 hours. First single and e/w bet only. 4 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. Free bets expiry after 30 days. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply.

4:10 Cheltenham – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+) – Telmesomethinggirl 18/1 0.5pt EW 3 places 

The fate of the Mares’ Hurdle hangs in the balance of whether Lossiemouth will stay the extra distance. She looked all speed last time out when beating last years second Love Envoi by nine lengths, and for all she could well be a class above her rivals, she will have to prove her stamina for this stiffer test and represents no value at 8/13. It would be folly not to chance TELMESOMETHINGGIRL who gave the aforementioned Zarak The Brave something to think about last time out, and she seems to be finding her feet after a rather underwhelming spell over fences. The mare was travelling ominously well two out in this race last season before being brought down, and it was a similar story at Punchestown a month after. Rachel Blackmore retains the faith and this mare has little to prove granted a clear round, and she looks a shade overpriced considering she ran to her best RPR last time out since being brought down two out in this race last season.

Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) (GBB Race)
Willie Mullins To Train 1+ Cheltenham Winner – 40/1 With Sky Bet

New customers only. Min/max stake £1. Free Bets credited on top of winnings within 72 hours. First single and e/w bet only. 4 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. Free bets expiry after 30 days. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply.

Added: 10.15am, Monday, 11th March (Odds correct at time of publication)

4:50 Cheltenham – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered As The Fred Winter) (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo) – Bright Legend 25/1 0.5pt EW 6 places 

Our ante-post selection of Ose Partir has shortened up in the market, so hopefully anyone with a bet365 account backed him at 40s, but the 25s that were advised as a general price means we’re still sitting pretty. Brassil’s is priced accordingly now, but I’m keen to chance another and that’s BRIGHT LEGEND for Denis Hogan.

The imposing son of Zoustar has acquitted himself well in his three qualifying runs, first finishing behind Bunting when given too much to do in rear, with that one going on to finish a two lengths fourth in the G1 Spring Juvenile at Leopardstown next time out. That race at Limerick gave us a couple of clues for the Boodles last season with Byker (fifth) and Metamorpheus (third) finishing second and sixth respectively, with the latter also winning the race that Bright Legend was fifth in next time out. Bright Legend was keen enough in midfield there and was given and eyecatching ride to say the least, finishing strongly under hands and heels after the last. He only finished two lengths behind Boodles favourite Lark In The Mornin there and is 1lb better off, 4lb if taking into Denis King’s 3lb claim. 

Bright Legend was then given a prominent ride at Naas last time out when shaping as if needing to attain the best possible position for a qualifying mark high enough to get into this race. He made all and was clear throughout though a tad keen without cove, and set the race up perfectly for Eagle Fang who sat in behind throughout. Eagle Fang was given a mark of 127 for that success and he’ll have some work to do to uphold that form with Bright Legend who has a 10lb swing in the Boodles. Interestingly, Jazzy Matty was 4th in the race last season when similarly leading, running to an RPR of 119 before winning the Boodles next time out, beating Byker who was three lengths ahead of him that day. 

I doubt we’ll see Bright Legend making the running this time around, but those three races will have accounted for plenty of experience and a return to midfield/rear tactics in a strongly run race will suit this lengthy individual, whose big stride will surely be suited to the stiff test at Cheltenham.

Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered As The Fred Winter) (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)
Willie Mullins To Train 1+ Cheltenham Winner – 40/1 With Sky Bet

New customers only. Min/max stake £1. Free Bets credited on top of winnings within 72 hours. First single and e/w bet only. 4 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. Free bets expiry after 30 days. Eligibility restrictions. Further T&Cs apply.

Matty Sutcliffe’s Cheltenham Value Punts

1:30 Cheltenham –  Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+) – Mistergif 12/1 1pt EW 3 places 

2:10 Cheltenham – My Pension Expert Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+) – Quilixios 7/1 1pt WIN 

2:50 Cheltenham – Ultima Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+) NAP – Eldorado Allen 18/1 1.5pt EW 6 places

3:30 Cheltenham – Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+) – Zarak The Brave 20/1 1pt EW 3 places 

4:10 Cheltenham – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+) – Telmesomethinggirl 18/1 0.5pt EW 3 places 

4:50 Cheltenham – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered As The Fred Winter) (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo) – Bright Legend 25/1 0.5pt EW 6 places


Looking For More Racing Info? Check Out Our Racecards & Top Tips Sections

Today’s Racecards

Today’s Top Tips


Make sure you’re following us on all our social media platforms to keep up to date with all the latest horse racing news and the best tips.