Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Tips




WE GO AGAIN! Plenty to look forward to on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival with the Queen Mother Champion Chase the feature. Here you will find our previews for all 7 races.

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). In most races this year we have included an Each Way Saver (at a big price).

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Grade 1 2m5f
Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase – Grade 1 3m1/2f
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3 2m5f
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase – Grade 1 2m
Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase) – 3m6f
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase – Grade 3 2m
Weatherbys Champion Bumper – Grade 1 2m1/2f

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle 1.20


It was a day of mixed emotions yesterday with Appreciate It, Shishkin and Honeysuckle all running out impressive winners. Concertista did break hearts though being nosed out of it in the dying strides as Black Tears stayed on best up that gruelling hill. Hopefully we can fire in some more winners today and it looks another cracker. The day very much revolves around the Champion Chase where Chacun Pour Soi should be tough to beat! We kick off with the Ballymore and while it looks competitive one of my best selections of the week runs in this race.

Key Trends

– 10/12 winners were top-or-second-top rated
– 9/12 winners had won a Graded novice hurdle
– 21/26 winners (including the past 11) had won at least one bumper
– 19/28 winners (including 9/10) were aged 6
– 5/7 winners were unbeaten over hurdles

Cheltenham 1.20 Bob Olinger (15/8)

Exciting horse who came on plenty from his close second to Ferny Hollow on hurdles debut to win effortlessly at Navan; followed up in good style at Naas with Blue Lord readily held in second; one to keep firmly on side.

I try not to let trends shape my opinion on a race but I certainly use them to help me make my final decision and they are quite decisive in this race. 9 of the last 10 winners of this race were aged 6 so straight away that suggests it’s going to be a tall order for Gaillard Du Mesnil to buck that trend. He has looked very talented and I think he is the main danger but I can see BOB OLINGER exploiting the chinks in his armour. The latter has impressed me so much in his last two starts. I’d go as far to say at the prices he is my strongest bet of the week. Obviously Chacun Pour So is the NAP today but Bob Olinger is nearly twice his price so in terms of value for money he is as good as it gets this week. He has looked very raw and has a lot of scope so I’m expecting him to improve again from that last run. If he does then this field will be playing catch-up.

As mentioned above I do expect Gaillard Du Mesnil to run well and it should be a good race but I just think however this pans out Bob Olinger will find more. Bravemansgame has looked impressive as has been compared to Denman in some respects by his trainer Paul Nicholls. For me he hasn’t achieved the same level of form as the selection and the second fav and while he should be thereabouts I think he’s opposable. I’m surprised he’s as short in the betting as he is. Again one of the trends being 21 of the last 26 had won at least one bumper and all of the last 11 winners goes massively against him. His form doesn’t look massively strong to me and I think he is vulnerable at the top level.

With just the 7 runners it makes life a bit tougher as Gaillard Du Mesnil may well be the one to fill second spot but at the prices it might just be worth including BEAR GHYLLS who comes here unbeaten in 4 starts and while he has a fair bit to find he shouldn’t be underestimated. I know they’ve always thought a lot of him and it would be good to see a small yard competing with the big boys.

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Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

Cheltenham Wednesday 1.20 Bob Olinger (best price 15/8) NEXT BEST

Bear Ghylls (best price 16/1) Each Way Saver

Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase 1.55



– 13/14 winners had been first or second in a Grade 1 or 2
– 5/11 winners contested the Albert Bartlett last season
– The past 6 winners were in the Top 3 in the betting
– Horses aged 6 or under have only produced 2 winners

Only the 5 runners turn up to take on the top-class MONKFISH as you can see why other horses have been re-routed with the selection 11lb clear on ratings and it is hard to see him beat, hence his price at 2/5. He has won his last 6 races including the Albert Bartlett last year which is a good trend for this race but the quality of the race looks top class form. He should take all the beating but at the prices I had to look beyond the favourite for at bet.

Fiddlerontheroof is a horse we have always liked but they ran him plenty at the start of the season and I think he may not be at his very best at Cheltenham as he did the same last season and flopped in the Supreme. THE BIG BREAKAWAY looks the most solid option to follow Monkfish home as he clearly stays well. He was beaten by Envoi Allen last year and Shan Blue saw him off last time but that form puts him right up there to go well in this and 2/1 without the favourite looks solid. The main danger is the classy Sporting John who impressed last time at Sandown but this is a step-up in trip again so he still has it to prove but his class may make him competitive. I can’t get out my head how bad he was here last year albeit over hurdles so he also has to prove himself at Cheltenham.

Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

Cheltenham Wednesday 1.55 The Big Breakaway without Monkfish (best price 2/1)

Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle 2.30



– 17/20 winners had run 9 times or less over hurdles
– 10/19 winners were French-bred
– 9/11 winners had run at Cheltenham previously (7 of them finishing in the first four)
– 9/12 winners rated in 140s
– Only 1 of the past 17 winners was favourite

This is ridiculously competitive and I make no shame about it that I’ve backed four in the race. Our VALUE TIP is on the oddschecker app. Given Nicky Henderson has won the last two renewals of this I had to include MONTE CRISTO who ticks a lot of the trends. The issue is Nicky Henderson himself doesn’t think any of his are particularly well handicapped but the latter certainly looks his best chance for me. He left his reappearance run well behind when bolting up at Kempton and if anything he won too well (by 7 lengths) as he has gone up 12lb. That is a fair old hike but if he improves again which he could easily he has to have a chance in here at 14/1! Daryl Jacob should have a couple of winners this week and this may well be one.

My third selection in the race is BOTOX HAS for the Moore’s. This horse hasn’t really made an impact in handicaps yet but given his course form is so strong, most notably beating Langer Dan here in 2019, this stiffer test could spring him back into life. I think he’s worth chancing at 16/1 as he has the potential for a big run and certainly isn’t handicapped out of it if bouncing back. He should be smuggled up and if it drops right he certainly has the ability to get involved in the finish.

My final selection is more of a speculative punt than a well researched opinion I have to admit but at 66/1 SAYO might be worth including. This son of Dalakhani certainly has his own way of doing things and bare in mind he’s been beaten a combined 48 lengths in his last two runs. He does have bits and pieces of form that are worth noting though and if he does bounce back to something like his best a mark of 143 may well be within reach. I just think he catches the eye as one of those horses that probably shouldn’t be as big as that in the betting as if he puts it altogether he is going to run big.

Bet365 are paying an extra place on this race, you can now get 5 places.

Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 3.05



12/20 winners were previous Festival winners
16/22 winners won last time out
14/16 winners ran 2 or 3 times in that season
6 year olds have only won 3 of the last 46 runnings
– Only 1 of the past 42 winners was older than 10

Cheltenham 3.05 Chacun Pour Soi (10/11)

Top-class chaser who made it 3-3 this season jumping and galloping rivals into submission at Leopardstown last month; can’t fault his preparation this time around and compensation awaits.

Altior was pulled out the race at the final declarations stage again which takes a bit of the class out of the race and makes CHACUN POUR SOI look even more solid with the 2-time Champion Chase winner out. Willie Mullins has had plenty of top class horses in the Rich Ricci colours and Chacun Pour Soi looks like he will cement his place right up there with the best. He is 6 from 7 for Willie Mullins and has already won 4 Grade 1’s with plenty more on the horizon starting here in what looks like an average Champion Chase. He is 5lb clear of the field and will hopefully make up for his last minute injury on the day of the race last year.

Politogue will be trying to keep his crown but he won a sub-par Champion Chase last year and his now a 10 year old so it would take a career best to win this renewal. The main dangers to the selection are Put The Kettle on who won the Arkle last year but has been beaten by Chacun Pour Soi already this season and the other is First Flow who really impressed me beating Politologue last time with Waiting Patiently in third I think he may be overpriced in this and has place claims. Sceau Royal is a favourite of ours but he has ran plenty this season which isn’t good from a trends perspective and may not be at his best.

It’s a shame Altior has come out as the prices have contracted a bit but I do think it’s worth having a few quid on FIRST FLOW at 14/1 for Kim Bailey. He was making it 6 in a row when winning at Ascot last time and they don’t look to have got to the bottom of him yet so I think he’ll run better than his double-figure price suggests.

You can get 4 places on this race with bet365 which is ideal for First Flow.

Glenfarclas Chase 3.40



JP McManus horses have won 7 of last 16 runnings
13/16 winners ran at the course previously
5/9 winners hadn’t run for 90+ days
8/16 winners had run in the NH Chase

Cheltenham 3.40 Easysland (5/6)

Top-notch cross-country specialist running out an ultra-impressive winner of this race 12 months ago; below par behind Kingswell Theatre here in November but expected to be back to his best now; hard to oppose.

This race splits opinion with plenty having no interest in it but watching the last two runnings the two wins from EASYSLAND and Tiger Roll were simply brilliant and I am hoping for the same result. The aforementioned horses are streets ahead of these on ratings and you can see why the odds have everything else at double figure prices. Easysland was the talking horse going into the meeting but the heart wanted Grand National hero Tiger Roll to win last year and Easysland routed him by 17 lengths. I do hope it doesn’t dry out too much for him but I think he still has the class to overcome any ground issues. I am not reading a lot into his defeat here last time as he was giving everyone other than Tiger Roll so much weight that day. If anywhere near his best he will win this well off level weights.

Tiger Roll has to be the danger but at 11 you have to question whether he can put it up to the selection as he travels well in his runs but seems to fade pretty substantially lately and will need to find form again to put it up to the improving 7 year old. The rest have a lot to find but the best of the rest looks to be SOME NECK who won a handicap here in December and he will put that experience to good use. He is too big at around 11/1 so might be worth including each way.

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Cross Country Chase

Cheltenham Wednesday 3.40 Easysland (best price 5/6)

Some Neck (best price 11/1) Each Way Saver

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase 4.15



– Last year’s favourite is 3-7 during the past 14 years
– The last 10 winners were rated between 138-150 (9 of them between 138-147)
– 9/12 winners were novices or second-season chasers
– 8/15 winners had run in the race previously
– Only 2 of the past 16 winners were favourite

Chosen Mate won this last year and comes back to defend his crown. Horses that have run in this race before actually have a decent record so he isn’t without a chance but he is 9lb higher and hasn’t shown a great deal this season so he certainly comes with risks attached. Embittered and Entoucas are co-favourites at the time of writing and while both are respected in a race of this nature I can pick holes in both and I’m keen to oppose them. Arguably ZANZA should be shorter in the betting than he is. He has always looked a chaser in the making and he ran an extraordinary race when second to Allmankind at Warwick in November. He was miserably outpaced and lacking fluency when the penny seemingly dropped and he did all his best work late on to power through for a clear second. He quickly built on that to win really well at Newbury and had been yet to be asked an effort when coming down at Cheltenham last time. If he is none the worse for that fall I think he’s going to run huge here and he is my main selection in the race.

US AND THEM finished third in this last year off a 1lb higher mark and while he hasn’t shown much since there is an obvious case to be made that he’s well handicapped and if he can rediscover some form (has gone well here in the past) then he has the ability to get involved at a price. He finished second to Duc Des Genievres in the Arkle so certainly won’t lack a class-edge here. He looks rock solid in terms of a place so has to be included in my selections.

The final play in the race is ON THE SLOPES. This horse looked potentially smart at Kempton this time last year and again while he has lost his way a bit a mark of 140 is potentially lenient. I’m almost certain he has the ability to win a race of this nature. He will be one to look at early in the race as if he gets into a rhythm his odds should collapse in-running. Others that made the shortlist in a wide-open race include Sky Pirate, Ibleo and Amoola Gold.

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Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

Cheltenham Wednesday 4.15 Zanza (best price 15/2)

Us And Them (best price 14/1) Each Way

On The Slopes (best price 20/1) Each Way

Weatherbys Champion Bumper 4.50



– Willie Mullins has trained 10 winners
– 21/28 winners trained in Ireland
– The past 17 winners won last-time-out
– 18/25 winners aged 5
– The past 5 winners ran during February (fitness key?)

The market has this between the top 2 in the betting and after the Gordon Elliott controversy Sir Gerhard was sent to Willie Mullins so he now has the top 2 in the market. Our NOTEBOOK selection is on the oddschecker app. Given the nature of the race it’s worth having an Each Way Saver and I know Willie thought RAMILLIES would run better than he did last time. He finished fifth to stablemate Kilcruit but was sent off just 4/1 for that race and I think he’ll be seen in a better light here. The ground should be drying out all the time and that could suit him. It’s just a case of his price being too big to not include so I’ll be having a few quid each way as the stable do have a record of winning this with a big price.

Weatherbys Champion Bumper

Cheltenham Wednesday 4.50 Ramillies (best price 16/1) Each Way Saver

Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Mega Acca

Cheltenham 1.20 Bob Olinger NEXT BEST

Cheltenham 1.55 Monkfish

Cheltenham 3.05 Chacun Pour Soi NAP

Cheltenham 3.40 Easysland

Cheltenham 4.50 Kilcruit NOTEBOOK

Pays 28/1!

Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Each Way Lucky 15

Cheltenham 1.20 Bear Ghylls

Cheltenham 1.55 The Big Breakaway

Cheltenham 2.30 Botox Has

Cheltenham 4.15 Us And Them

Pays 29,599/1!

I have backed this Each Way as if they all place it will be a very nice return. Obviously I strongly fancy Bob Olinger in the first and Monkfish should win the second but this is a nice saver if the favourites do get overturned