IT'S that time again, as the 'World Cup of racing' descends on Cheltenham and punters become far too convinced that this is their year (guilty...).

So without further or do, here are the County Gazette tips for day one of the Festival.

1.30 - Supreme Novices' Champion Hurdle - The fun begins at 1.30pm today and Getabird (15/8) is the clear favourite, with good reason - trainer Willie Mullins has won this race three times in the last five years.

For more value, however, look elsewhere at Paloma Blue (12/1), who has consistently finished in the top three in Grade 1 bumpers and should go well this afternoon.

2.10 - Arkle Challenge Trophy - Just the five horses in this one, with Footpad (evens) very well fancied.

Again we're going left field, though, with Petit Mouchoir (7/2). Having finished third in last year's Champion Hurdle here, this Henry de Bromhead horse again has the potential to mix it with the favourites.

2.50 - Ultima Handicap Chase - For small stake backers like yours truly, races like this - with 18 runners and a 5/1 favourite - are an absolute dream as they can become a lottery which anyone has a chance in.

For all that, I'm tempted to go with Coo Star Sivola (5/1) here having seen him cruise home in the flesh at Exeter a few weeks back. That was, of course, a lower standard field but he can up his game accordingly here.

For an each-way shout, have a look at the Paul Nicholls-trained Vicente (16/1), who has won two Scottish Nationals.

3.30 - Champion Hurdle - The big one of the day is at 3.30 but, in great contrast to the previous race, has a massively odds-on favourite in Buveur D'Air (8/15).

There's no fun in those odds, and having had a bit of joy on Elgin (20/1) at Wincanton recently I am more than happy to back the six-year-old for further success here.

Nostalgic punters will no doubt hope Faugheen (11/2) - who won this race in 2015 - can roll back the years.

4.10 - OLBG Mares' Hurdle - Another odds-on favourite, this time Apple's Jade (4/7), but Kayf Grace (20/1) has shown potential in the past and what better stage on which to prove oneself than the Festival?

4.50 - National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Novices Chase - A bit of a lottery this one, but Paul Hobbs' No Comment (7/1) should go well on the heavy ground while Shades of Midnight (16/1) is already being backed in this morning.

5.30 - Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase - The day closes with this bumper 20-horse field.

It's not been a great week for Whitaker's - James announced he is stepping down as England's chief selector yesterday - but Mr Whitaker (8/1) won at Cheltenham in January and has improved since switching to chasing this season.

So there we have it, day one covered - best of luck whoever you back and let us know how you get on via our Twitter and Facebook pages.

See you tomorrow for day two tips...