We will be holding a Scoop6 everyday throughout the festival and we start with a combined £1.2million in the funds. We expect a single winner to kop in excess of £1.5million if going on to land the bonus race which will take place the following day.

Also, should you be the only winner placing your bet via any Betfred or totepool channel, Fred will give you an extra £100k.

Leg 1 – 1.30 Cheltenham – Supasundae

It’s time for the all the talking to top and the action to begin as we get underway with the Cheltenham Festival 2016 with the traditional curtain raiser the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

Rich Ricci, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh are looking for their fourth straight victory in the contest and they rely on Min who has long been ante post favourite for this contest. He is unbeaten in two starts since moving from France and has been the talking horse all winter. His form has worked out incredibly well but I think he is vulnerable on this better ground.

Henry de Bromhead

Nicky Henderson saddles two interesting contenders. Altior was impressive at Kempton over Christmas and the form has worked out well also, while Buveur D’Air is an unbeaten hurdler who chased home Barters Hill twice last season in bumpers.

I do think the prize will go to Ireland, but I like two bigger priced contenders. I have sided with Supasundae who put Yanworth in his place in a bumper at Ascot on debut last season before finishing sixth in the Champion Bumper.

He bolted in over hurdles at Leopardstown over Christmas when beating Silver Concord by thirteen lengths. I think Silver Concorde is a huge danger however as he won the Champion Bumper in 2014, is a classy flat performer also and will improve for the better ground here. He is still a maiden over hurdles which is a concern, but he represents each way value for a trainer with an excellent Cheltenham record.

Leg 2 – 2.50 Cheltenham – Kruzhlinin

Twenty four runners will go to post for the Ultima Handicap Chase and it’s as competitive as the numbers would suggest.

Out Sam currently heads the market following a couple of bloodless victories in Novice Company and connections believe he is well handicapped. He does look well treated on his hurdle form when with Nicky Henderson, and novices do have a fair record in this contest. Holywell won this race in 2014 before going on to become a grade one winning chaser. He has not put his best foot forward yet this season, but as a two time festival winner who was fourth in last years Gold Cup, he has to be respected.

Southfield Theatre was just touched off in the Pertemps Hurdle two years ago and he has kept top company in novice chases, including a second in the RSA Chase twelve months ago. Paul Nicholls has never won this race from 18 runners but he could have a well-treated contender this time round. I have plumped for Kruzhlinin however who can follow in the hoof prints of The Druid’s Nephew by taking this on route to a tilt at the Grand National. He looked a much improved performer for the move to Phillip Hobbs stable when winning well at Kempton in January.

Leg 3 – 3.30 Cheltenham – Identity Thief

The feature race of day 1 is the Champion Hurdle and will take us to the halfway point in the Scoop6. Annie Power has been supplemented by connections at a cost of £20,000 and is being labelled as a super sub following the injury to the same connections’ Faugheen. She receives a 7lb mares’ allowance and will be looking to emulate Dawn Run who was the last member of the fairer sex to land the Hurdling Crown back in 1984. However I have a doubt that she has the pace for a 2 mile championship contest and the value lies elsewhere.

Nichols Canyon beat Identity Thief over Christmas at Leopardstown in what turned out to be quite an attrition affair. I expect Henry de Bromheads runner to turn those tables here and take the Champion Hurdle back to Ireland. He travelled extremely well when taking the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle in November beating Top Notch and this fast improving six year old looks the one to be on. Nichols Canyon showed the after effects of that battle with Identity Thief when disappointing behind Faugheen in January, and with him now freshened up, he could be the main danger.

It would be incredible training feat by Nicky Henderson to get My Tent Or Yours to win the Champion Hurdle after almost two years off the track, but he has been well supported in the ante post market and the trainer has a good record in the race.

Leg 4 – 4.10 Cheltenham – The Govaness

The Mares’ Hurdle is leg 4 of the opening day’s Scoop6 at the Cheltenham Festival and Vroum Vroum Mag could complete an excellent day for team Mullins, and she is likely to be a warm order to land this for her trainer who is bidding for his EIGHTH straight victory in the contest. She has won her last eight starts and has been all the rage since Annie Power had her sights altered to the Champion Hurdle a couple of weeks ago.

Her jockey Ruby Walsh will be hoping for a better outcome than twelve month go when falling at the last aboard Annie Power with the race at their mercy. Polly Peachum ran through to be second on that occasion and rates the main danger according to the betting. She has had just two races this season when her seasonal debut second at Kempton was followed by a gutsy win at Sandown early in January.

She comes here with a decent chance of going one better twelve months on, but the horse she beat at Sandown has a decent chance of turning the tables at almost three times the price. The Govaness is worse off at the weights with her conqueror at Sandown but will appreciate the better ground here and has got some cracking form to her name including to course victories. Richard Johnson is an eye-catching jockey booking and she was the subject of a positive mention from her former rider Paddy Brennan at our recent preview evening.

Leg 5 – 4.50 Cheltenham- Noble Endeavour

The longest race of the festival is the four mile National Hunt chase for novices where twenty runners and their amateur riders will do battle.

Minella Rocco has been widely tipped up or this contest since a staying on second in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot last month and represents Jonjo O’Neill and top amateur Derek O’Connor has had his services snapped up for the 6yo.

There are plenty of chances here though. Native River looked good in the early part of the season and was a fair third in the Grade One Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton over Christmas. He looks like he will have no stamina issues and could go well for the Tizzards who have plenty of chances throughout the week. Southfield Royale has won two of his four starts for Neil Mullholland and the trainer has booked Nina Carberry for the ride. He chased home Tea For Two and finished ahead of Native River at Kempton over Christmas and also won a Grade two contest at Doncaster back in December.

He rates a massive danger to my selection, as I have decided to go with Noble Endeavour in this fifth leg. Gordon Elliott could have a very good week and it may start with victory for this 7yo who will be ridden by Jamie Codd. These two combined to take this race last year with Cause of Causes and Noble Endeavour already has good festival form to his name after finishing second in last years Martin Pipe He got off the mark over fences at Down Royal before finishing second in a Grade Two last time and he can appreciate the step up to the marathon trip to score.

Leg 6 – 5.30 Cheltenham – Double Shuffle

The finale is the two and a half mile Novice Handicap Chase with twenty runners going to pot. The last 3 winners have been 6yo carrying 11-7 and only Katgary fits that profile this year, he was unlucky to be second in the Fred Winter two years ago when badly hampered two out but he hasn’t really set the world light over fences.

Aloomomo looks likely to go off favourite for Warren Greatrex. He rattled off a hat-trick over fences at the end of last season, culminating in an impressive victory at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting and he had decent prep run over hurdles at Ascot twenty four days ago when chasing home the progressive Yala Enki and he should go well.

The final selection however goes the way of Double Shuffle. The Tom George trained contender ran a couple of respectable races over fences at Cheltenham, including behind RSA favourite More Of That before getting off the mark at Ludlow in December. He has been put away for a spring campaign as he appreciates better ground and this dual winning hurdler could be ahead of the handicapper.

So there are my Scoop6 selections for day 1 of the festival and don’t forget we have a Scoop6 for everyday of the festival, starting with huge £1.5million in combined funds.

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