The Cheltenham Festival features four days of thrilling action. Each day, there is one standout championship race amongst the rest of the line-up. The biggest names in racing take each other on, and if the favourites win, expect the roof to be blown off Cheltenham racecourse.
Here is a look at the four biggest races of the festival in 2022.
Honeysuckle Leads Champion Hurdle Field
Heading up the field for the first of these four races is Honeysuckle. The wonder mare leads the Cheltenham Festival 2022 betting odds, and she looks as though she will take all the beating. Having won the race in 2021, she comes back to win again, and the field she faces is no stronger than that of last season.
Seen as the banker of the meeting by many people, Honeysuckle headlines day one.
Shishkin the British Banker of the Week
While many of the big challengers come from Ireland, many Cheltenham Ladies Day tips will focus around Shishkin, a horse that is seen as the best UK hope across the entire festival, not just in the Championship races.
His nearest rival is Energumene, a horse that he beat last time out, which will give fans hope that he can do the same again. He won the Arkle Chase at last year’s festival and could be about to dominate the two-mile chase division for years to come.
Nico de Boinville becomes the only current jockey to win the race twice
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 16, 2021
Flooring Porter Looking to Repeat 2021 Success
Flooring Porter put up a huge performance to win the Stayers Hurdle in 2021 and is back looking to repeat that success in 2022. He is the type of horse that either puts in something huge, or struggles to fire, as we have seen in the three races he’s run since.
We have seen him fall, pull up and finish second, showing the best and worst of this horse over the past 12 months. He really enjoyed the festival last season; the course plays into his front running style, and if he is on a going day, he can go close again.
Irish Look to Have Gold Cup Under Control
The 2022 Gold Cup rounds off the meeting on Friday, and Ireland looks to have things fully under control. Five of the six main challengers are from Ireland, with 2021 winner Minella Indo, A Plus Tard, Al Boum Photo, Galvin and Tornado Flyer all turning up with a realistic chance of winning.
A Plus Tard and Al Boum Photo both placed last year, behind Minella Indo, while Al Boum Photo won the Gold Cup in both 2019 and 2020. Galvin is the new horse on the scene; a novice last season, but we have seen big improvement this season, and he could still be going in the right direction. Rounding things off, Tornado Flyer won the King George at Kempton in December and is another capable of throwing his hat into the ring.