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Cheltenham Festival Day One Review: Honeysuckle hoses up in Champion Hurdle

All the results from the first day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival

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Honeysuckle ridden by Rachael Blackmore following victory in the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle on day one of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham.

Honeysuckle was marvellous in the Champion Hurdle as she maintained her unbeaten record in stunning fashion on day one of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge was a well-backed favourite for the Tuesday feature and it paid dividends for supporters as she breezed to success under Rachael Blackmore.

Defending champion Epatante finished third, with 2020 runner-up Sharjah collecting the silver medal once again.

Epatante and Barry Geraghty after winning the Champion Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival
Defending champion Epatante was unable to defend her crown

Fellow English hope Goshen hung badly right down the back straight and threw away any chance of claiming victory for owners.

Appreciate It was a stunning winner of the Supreme as punters got off to a flying start in the opener.

The Willie Mullins trained gelding travelled fluently and pulled clear of the bend, taking advantage of a mistake by Ballyadam two out.

Appreciate It was a sublime winner of the Supreme under Paul Townend

Stablemate Blue Lord tumbled at the final flight but did rise to his feet in the aftermath, as the Cheveley Park owned Ballyadam rallied for second ahead of For Pleasure.

English beacon holders Metier and Soaring Glory simply failed to fire, and the Irish hotpot Appreciate It quickened away to secure a 24-length success.

The bookmakers look didn’t get any better when Shishkin eased clear in the Arkle under Nico de Boinville, seeing off his small field.

Shishkin and Nico de Boinville jumping a fence at Kempton Park Racecourse
A banker for many, Shishkin was sublime in the Arkle

Franco De Port never landed a blow, while Allmankind and Captain Guinness cut each other’s throats, leaving Eldorado Allen to claim second.

In the Ultima, Vintage Clouds won at the fifth time of asking with a superb front-running display under National winning rider Ryan Mania.

The grey, trained by Sue Smith, saw off 10-3 favourite Happygolucky, with Aye Right and Cepage in third and fourth, respectively.

Mares’ favourite Concertista was turned over in a upset, headed by Black Tears at the line.

Black Tears
Black Tears won at Cheltenham at the third time of asking

Roksana finished third ahead of 2020 Martin Pipe winner, Indefatigable.

There was unlikely many households cheering Jeff Kidder’s 80-1 victory in the Boodles, but Galvin gave his loyal fanbase something to celebrate when winning the National Hunt Chase under Jack Kennedy.

Galvin ridden by jockey Robbie Power (eventual winner background) and Doctor Duffy with jockey Jonathan Burke clear a fence during the (Old) Matchbook Better Way To Bet Novices' Chase (GBB Race) at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Not seen on the track since October, Galvin made no mistake on his return at Prestbury Park in the finale on day one

Be sure to read Reece Charlton’s value picks for the remainder of the meeting.

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.

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