Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Tips
Back at it on Wednesday with 7 races to get stuck into!
We’ll include key information like how we think the race will be run and who we see emerging as the main danger (or dangers)
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Grade 1 2m5f
RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase – Grade 1 3m80y
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3 2m5f
Queen Mother Champion Chase – Grade 1 1m7f199y
Glenfarclas Chase – Cross Country Chase 3m6f37y
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Fred Winter) – Grade 3 2m87y
Weatherbys Champion Bumper – Grade 1 2m87y
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle 1.30
For many this is their Cheltenham banker and while I don’t see him as completely bombproof I do think he’ll win. It’s a Ballymore with strength in depth with the likes of Sporting John, The Big Breakaway and The Big Getaway all looking big dangers. I fell in love with The Big Breakaway when he won at Chepstow and while I struggled to go against him the slight set-back he suffered coupled with the fact I think he’s a chaser going forward was enough to put me off in the end. I can see him running well without quite being sharp enough on the day. Sporting John really impressed me at Ascot and backed that up on the clock too so looks the one most likely to give the selection most to think about. ENVOI ALLEN should have all angles covered though. I think he’s a bit of a monster and he should extend his unbeaten run here and make it 4-4 over hurdles. He has passed every test put in front of him and is still open to improvement. He looks uncomplicated and bar his price I can’t really see what’s not to like. At bigger odds Longhouse Poet is a fair yardstick and should run well but the market looks to have this one nailed down and I expect it to be a race the bookies take a bit of a beating on.
RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase 2.10
This race last year served up one of the best finishes of the week as Topofthegame fended off Santini and Delta Work. It looks a strong renewal again with some talented horses lining up. I always prefer a dour stayer for this rather than one with a sexy profile and given his whole season seems to have revolved around this race MINELLA INDO is extremely hard to get away from. He sprung a 50/1 upset in the Albert Bartlett at last years Festival and while he lacks experience having only run twice over fences I think there could be lots more to come. His jumping impressed me when winning at Navan and while it wasn’t massively impressive on the eye the performance was backed up by the clock and I still don’t think he was at peak fitness so improvement is very likely. Champ is fav but he comes into the race off a heavy fall in the Dipper here and that was a mistake that had been coming as he had been a bit chancey in recent runs too. While he is extremely talented I couldn’t back him at that price and the selection is definitely the value in the race. I really fancied Allaho in the Marsh but connections have decided to send him here so he looks the main danger. I also respect Copperhead who is a thoroughly likeable sort who won’t go down without a fight.
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle 2.50
Nicky Henderson took this last year with William Henry and has the first two in the betting in Birchdale and Dame De Compagnie. Both have good chances without jumping off the page and I wanted to try and side with value here given how open it looks. PROTEKTORAT looks capable of more off a mark of 144. He has gradually improved all season initially catching the eye when second at Sandown before winning here on New Year’s Day. He was disqualified after the race before being reinstated following appeal. He took another step forward when finishing third to Harry Senior and King Roland in a Grade 2 here last time and looks a near certainty to be involved on that form. Our second play in the race is FRANCO DE PORT for Willie Mullins. Granted he is inexperienced having only had a handful of starts but he is unexposed and it is eye-catching that Paul Townend chooses to ride over the likes of Canardier and Bachasson. He is open to any amount of improvement and could be extremely well handicapped off a mark of 148. I’m more than happy to take a chance on him at around 16/1! Our final selection is stablemate EGLANTINE DU SEUIL. She came with a late surge to win the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s Festival and while she hasn’t managed to get her head back in front since she ticks plenty of boxes here and could be well treated off 149. She finished third in a Grade 1 at Punchestown over this trip behind the likes of Reserve Tank and Sams Profile and definitely has the ability to get involved. She is a lively each way player.
Queen Mother Champion Chase 3.30
We’ve been with DEFI DU SEUIL all season and he hasn’t disappointed, quickening between horses to win the Shloer and following that up to win the Tingle Creek impressively at Sandown albeit idling at the finish. He then put in a mighty display to win the Clarence House, brushing aside Un De Sceaux emphatically to announce himself as one of, if not the best two miler around. You couldn’t ask for a better prep and it looks all systems go for the big one. As you know Altior is a horse we’ve had great allegiance to ever since he powered up the Cheltenham hill to lower the colours of Min in the Supreme Novice Hurdle back in 2016. Since then he hasn’t looked back winning a staggering 20 of 21 races over jumps. He has so much talent and that turn of foot has got him out of trouble many times. It wasn’t easy opposing him but for me he’s been on the decline since winning this race last year. He looked beat coming up the hill but somehow showed tremendous heart to get back up and beat Politologue. That sort of performance won’t be good enough to win this year, nowhere near, and he hasn’t done much since to make me think he will better it. He looked a deflated horse after getting outstayed by Cyrname at Ascot. That horse hasn’t looked the same since so maybe it took more out the pair than we think? Of course Altior bounced back in the Game Spirit at Newbury last time but his preparation has been far from ideal and I think he is priced up on what he has achieved in the past rather than this season. My heart wants to see him defend his crown but in this game it’s usually your head that wins you money so I have to take him on, as much as it hurts.
Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country) 4.10
Easysland was an impressive winner over C&D in December, backed off the boards, and comes into this a major contender but even still I can’t get away from the legend that is TIGER ROLL. He bids to win this for the third consecutive year and there was nothing wrong with his return over hurdles last month. Obviously he won that by 4 lengths on the bridle last season so a lot of people have started casting doubts about him saying he isn’t in the same form this time around. For me he showed everything you wanted to see and with usual improvement will be extremely hard to beat again. The second fav is the exciting element in the race but how can you oppose the dual Grand National winner? He is just a pocket rocket and bar the price what’s not to like? Connections of Might Bite have chanced their hands at this and given how classy he is he might adapt to this discipline but not for me. The 12/1 makes little appeal even in terms of a place. Yanworth let supporters down when third last time but it wouldn’t surprise me if he perked up again and he might run into a place in third. At a huge price Fact Of The Matter is proven over this C&D and has had a wind op so could have a squeak if bouncing back but he’ll need to. Fingers crossed Keith Donoghue can get the 10yo home in front again.
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 4.50
We have three selections for this race and our main hope is our Value Tip which is EXCLUSIVE to the Oddschecker app (just click the blue link below to get access). Given how competitive it is I wanted to have three selections in the race again in the hope of finding the winner and at least one place. THYME WHITE was in our Notebook when winning at Musselburgh. He looks a talented individual who is improving with his racing. He stepped forward from that Kempton run to beat Group Stage and should have more to come now handicapping off a mark of 133. Nicholls does well in this race so he’d have to have a good chance under Harry Cobden. Our final pick in the race is GALAHAD QUEST at a price. They’ve always held this horse in high regard and he was backed off the boards to win on debut at Warwick before running a shocker behind Allmankind. That obviously wasn’t his true running though and he bounced back when beaten just a neck by Buzz at Taunton. He took another step forward to win here in January and I was really impressed with that performance. He is a big horse and he still look inexperienced but managed to come with a strong late challenge to prevail. With another chunk of improvement likely 20/1 could look a silly price. The JP pair Aramax and Mick Pastor are big dangers obviously and Repetitio and Zoffee make appeal at bigger prices.
National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase 5.30
Willie Mullins looks to hold the ace in the pack here in APPRECIATE IT. He looks an exciting horse who is only going to improve as he gains experience. He swept clear to win by 7 and a half widening lengths at Leopardstown last time and I can’t see any horse living with him here. He has gears and it will be interesting to see what Patrick Mullins does but I think the easiest thing to do will be to bounce him out, let him find his stride and run them into the ground. Obviously it is a bumper so I have decided to stick one up each way at a price too incase anything goes amiss with the favourite. THIRD TIME LUCKI is the each way play for Dan and Harry Skelton. He was very raw when beaten on debut at Ascot but hasn’t looked back since, winning head in chest at Market Rasen. I thought it was so impressive how he took it up on the bit. He then backed that up at Huntingdon last time, doing it easily, and I just like his prep coming into the race. At 20/1 he looks cracking value to hit the frame so fingers crossed for a big run. Others to note include Queens Brook for Gordon Elliott after dotting up at Gowran and Panic Attack, who Willie Mullins sold to David Pipe. She is by Canford Cliffs and ran out a very impressive winner at Market Rasen. She is a lively contender in terms of a place.
Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Selections ADD OUR DAY 2 DAILY DOUBLE STRAIGHT TO YOUR BET365 BET SLIP
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle 1.30 Envoi Allen
RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase 2.10 Minella Indo NB
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle 2.50 Protektorat, Franco De Port and Eglantine Du Seuil
Queen Mother Champion Chase 3.30 Defi Du Seuil NAP
Glenfarclas Chase 4.10 Tiger Roll
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 4.50 Value Tip, Thyme White and Galahad Quest
Champion Bumper 5.30 Appreciate It and Third Time Lucki