Honeysuckle clears the last in the Champion Hurdle ahead of Epatante

The Off The Fence staff are again with their in-depth Cheltenham Competition preview as Vanessa Ryle, Barry Geraghty and Tony Keenan make their picks for the four-day assembly.

Among the many many headline titles showing on the opening day of the Competition, eyes shall be on Simple Vega, Structure Hill and Honeysuckle – all 2022 winners.

Bromhead’s Henry Honeysuckle misplaced his lengthy unbeaten crown this season and now returns to the Mares’ Hurdle pitch, aiming to convey down dwelling with one other memorable win.

Later within the week, the Stayers’ Hurdle could possibly be one of many Competition races with returning champion Flooring Porter dealing with a number of latest challengers.

The week ends on Friday 17 March with the showpiece, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, as Galopin Des Champs takes on the facility of the Bravemansgame of Paul Nicholls and Grand Nationwide hero Noble Yeats.

Watch Off The Fence reside throughout Cheltenham Competition week each evening from Monday 13 March to Thursday 16 March on the At The Races Fb and YouTube web page.

Impediment of mares

Tony Keenan…

“The one I would not land on is Honeysuckle. I believe she’s going backwards and her kind has dropped since Champion Hurdle’s first victory.

“She was superb final season however not nearly as good and he or she has dropped once more this 12 months.

“I acquired Marie’s Rock in thoughts for it for some time, but it surely looks like she’s not going now. I’d be much less chilly on Épatante however the worth shouldn’t be horrible.

“Brandy Love was doing nicely at Punchestown but it surely’s a fast turnaround.

“I’d go for Echoes within the rain. I believe his kind has improved. The journey would possibly stretch her a bit, however she’s nonetheless stable for 2 miles.”

Echoes In Rain received the Grade One Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in April

Barry Geraghty…

“I’d be the alternative of Tony, I am very good to Honeysuckle. I believe she claims additional.

“In Leopardstown it was a good pitch and so they weren’t going too quick, so she seemed like she did not have the tempo she used to have.

“At Cheltenham, with a bit of little bit of solar in your again, I believe she’s the one to beat.

“Superior might come right here however I see no purpose for her to reverse the shape with Honeysuckle.

“Love Envoi should have an opportunity and Brandy Love must also be fascinating.”

Honeysuckle leads the Champion Hurdle peloton as they return home to Cheltenham
Honeysuckle leads the Champion Hurdle peloton as they return dwelling to Cheltenham

Impediment of the remainders


“I believe it is a stronger race than final 12 months.

“Blazing Khal was superb however nonetheless must step up – he did not take the form of scalps like a few of them.

“Teahupoo was actually good at Gowran and Hatton’s Grace and I do not suppose he’ll be so reliant on the pitch. He will be the one for me.

Teahupoo and Jack Kennedy (right) win Bar One Racing's Grace Hurdle Hatton of Klassical Dream (center) and Honeysuckle (left)
Teahupoo and Jack Kennedy (proper) win Bar One Racing’s Grace Hurdle Hatton of Klassical Dream (middle) and Honeysuckle (left)

“I am nonetheless not satisfied by Dwelling By The Lee and I am unsure how sturdy the type of the Dublin Racing Competition is.

“Flooring Porter hasn’t had the best preparation and often wants his first race, so I query his health.

“If Klassical Dream have been to return in the identical stage of kind as Hatton’s Grace, I believe it might have worth, however Teahupoo is the one I would wish to be on.”


“This race is on a distinct stage from final 12 months’s catastrophe!

“I’ve been a Teahupoo fan for fairly some time now, however you’ve gotten Blazing Khal, Marie’s Rock and Gold Tweet so as to add to the combination now.

“I agree with Barry that Blazing Khal must step up however is shifting in the suitable route.

“Marie’s Rock is a hazard to all of them, however she may be fairly free and whether or not a three-mile slog will go well with her – I am unsure.”

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Searching for Cheltenham Competition winners? The Sky Sports activities Racing staff are readily available to provide you some useful recommendation as you examine the shape.

Gold Cup


“It is a high quality race however Discipline Scamp would possibly simply be a bit higher than the others. I believe he is an actual famous person.

“It would not seem like it’ll be a canter from begin to end, so if there is a query mark over his stamina, he will not be examined to the extent he might need been in different years.

“I am not going to leap on the Bravemansgame bandwagon as a result of it nonetheless hasn’t confirmed itself on the monitor.

“Later Later nonetheless has a protracted method to go after the Haydock bombing. There could possibly be a little bit of enchancment from Noble Yeats and I like Stattler as a possible play in each approach.”

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Jockey Sean Bowen says he has thrilling rides to stay up for on the Cheltenham Competition, headlined by Grand Nationwide hero and Gold Cup contender Noble Yeats.


“I’m not in opposition to the favourite [Galopin Des Champs]worth apart, however I’ll go together with the perfect piece of form left and that is of bravemansgame.

“The King George seemed like an actual race. It was approach above L’Homme Presse.

“Paul Nicholls stated he is been a distinct horse this season and I believe he is proper.”

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