OK Corral the Bet of the Day on First Day of the Cheltenham Festival

We have to wait until the final race on the opening day for my strongest fancy on day one of the Cheltenham Festival. The horse is OK Corral, who represents Nicky Henderson in the four mile National Hunt Chase. The race is confined to novice chasers, but there is nothing ‘novicey’ about the jumping shown by OK Corral so far, he has really impressed in that department.

This race is a walk into the unknown for all the runners here, none have faced four miles before, and obviously that means we are guessing or assuming that horses will or will not respond to that. The way OK Corral has ran so far this season, leaves the impression with me that he is crying out for this sort of trip and he is only going to improve for it.

His form over three miles is enough to get him involved in this race and give him a chance of winning it, but when you factor in the chances of further improvement, that is why he is my bet of the day on day one.

He beat Impulsive Star comfortably on chasing debut this season, and there is no reason to think the form will be reversed between those two here. He then went to Warwick under today’s jockey Derek O’Connor, a booking that showed the yard were thinking about this race as his target, and he won even more impressively, coming away from the field to win by six lengths. That was over three miles, he certainly wasn’t stopping and the further he went, the better he looked.

We do need to take a bit of a leap of faith here, as our horse and the others are tackling an extreme distance for the first time. However, I think our horse will relish the challenge, he has some of the best form in the race, certainly one of the best jockeys in the race, and that puts plenty in our favour.

OK Corral is the selection here, and is the bet of the day on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.