Cheltenham Festival day two best bets – Tips for the second day of the Festival
Cheltenham Festival best bets on day two
After some exhilarating action on day one of the Cheltenham Festival we turn our attentions to the second day where more top-class action awaits; we’ve picked out our Cheltenham Festival day two best bets and tips for every race on Wednesday.
Day two of the Cheltenham Festival is shaping up to be another cracking afternoon of top-class horse racing action featuring four Grade One contests headed by the latest renewal of the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Seven more races will go post throughout the course of day two which also includes the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase as well as the Glenfarclas Chase over the cross-country course and we’ve looked over the day’s racing action on the second day of the ‘greatest show on turf’ where we give our best bets on Cheltenham Festival Wednesday.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY TWO BEST BETS – TIPS FOR THE SECOND DAY OF THE FESTIVAL
1:20 Cheltenham – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Baring Bingham) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m5f
Despite the small field of just seven runners for this Grade One prize the race is shaping up to be a cracker and BOB OLINGER gets the vote to continue his winning run and land a hat-trick of victories.
Henry De Bromhead’s Sholokhov gelding was a Gowran Park bumper winner last March having also won a point-to-point and on his hurdles debut in November he found only Ferny Hollow too strong by one length before impressively landing the spoils next time at Navan.
That performance was bettered when he was again impressive in beating Blue Lord and others to land the Lawlors Of Naas Hurdle by six lengths and that form took a boost when the runner-up finished a good third next time behind Appreciate It at Leopardstown in the Chanelle Pharma Novices’ Hurdle.
Underfoot conditions are unlikely to present an issue for the six-year old and with further improvement anticipated he ought to go close in the day two Cheltenham Festival opener despite taking on the likes of fellow hat-trick seeker Gaillard Du Mesnil, unbeaten Bear Ghylls and triple-winner Bravemansgame in opposition.
1:55 Cheltenham – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Broadway Novices’ Chase) (GBB Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m½f
A few interesting sorts in this contest, none more so than Dickie Diver who makes just his second start over fences following a lengthy layoff; however MONKFISH looks very hard to oppose and Willie Mullins’ unbeaten chaser can win again.
The Stowaway gelding has only been beaten twice since joining this yard from the point-to-point sphere, beaten in a Punchestown bumper and then coming up short behind Diol Ker at Fairyhouse on his first start over hurdles.
He then went 3-3 which included taking the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at this meeting twelve months ago and he’s been imperious in registering another trio of victories this term over the larger obstacles which includes the Flogas Novices’ Chase latest where he romped to an eleven lengths’ victory over old adversary Latest Exhibition.
A repeat of that performance will likely make her very tough to beat and given she still has plenty of potential for better to come she looks the one to side with despite her very short price.
2:30 Cheltenham – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m5f
Hugely competitive handicap action and a case can be made for many in the field; a chance though is taken on TEA CLIPPER who is lightly raced over hurdles but has won four of his six starts which includes the Chepstow Silver Trophy on his seasonal reappearance.
Tom Lacey’s charge won three of his four starts last term, only meeting with defeat when beaten by Cervaro Mix at Huntingdon. That was a decent effort despite losing his unbeaten record and he looked as good as ever on his seasonal debut at Chepstow, winning the competitive feature by two lengths from Flash The Steel where he appeared to do the job a shade readily.
He couldn’t repeat the dose next time at Newbury, racing keenly and his chance was ended by a bad mistake two out which knocked the stuffing from him and he couldn’t recover; eventually he crossed the line in fifth but he’d surely have finished closer but for that error.
Not seen to best effect in a jumpers’ bumper last month he’ll come on for that first run following a break and the likely strong pace in this contest will suit. He could still have some scope from this mark given his lightly-raced profile and any drying of the ground will be in his favour so in a competitive contest he could make the frame at a big price.
3:05 Cheltenham – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m
The late defection of Altior takes a little lustre from the day two feature but the loss of Nicky Henderson’s dual-champion makes the task of CHACUN POUR SOI a little easier and the Policy Maker gelding can give trainer Willie Mullins a first Champion Chase victory.
Favourite for this race twelve months ago before suffering an injury on the eve of the race Mullins’ chaser has only once tasted defeat over the larger obstacles since joining the yard from France. That defeat came at the hooves of the top-class A Plus Tard at Leopardstown last December but he’s since won all four subsequent starts of which three have been Grade Ones.
A ready winner of the Hilly Way Chase where he thumped Darasso by 19 lengths he has downed both Notebook and Fakir D’Oudairies in subsequent starts at Leopardstown with his latest coming when beating the latter named rival by eight lengths in the Dublin Chase.
Impressive that day he sets a very solid standard and on official ratings he has 6lbs in hand of defending champion Politologue. He’s likely to prove very hard to beat if taking to this track and no surprise to see him collect the crown and give trainer Willie Mullins his first win in the race.
3:40 Cheltenham – Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) (GBB Race) Cl2 (5yo+) 3m6f
EASYSLAND was an easy winner of this race twelve months ago and David Cottin’s French raider is likely to prove hard to beat again as he bids to defend.
The Gentlewave gelding had shown a real affinity for these obstacles in the December renewal of this race when running to a seven lengths’ victory over Amazing Comedy which took his winning run to five straight; following another win back in France at Pau he returned here to demolish the hat-trick bid of Tiger Roll in the race last year, scoring by an easy 17 lengths.
Back here again in November he could only finish fourth to Kingswell Theatre but given that run was his first in eight months he may just have needed the outing although he was giving lumps of weight to all bar Tiger Roll who was disappointing and pulled up.
He’s not been seen out since but he has run well and won fresh in the past and he’ll surely be tough to beat off level weights as he bids to defend his crown.
4:15 Cheltenham – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m
The second competitive handicap on the day two racecard and IBLEO could be worth sticking with as Venetia Williams’ charge goes in search of a hat-trick of victories.
The Dick Turpin gelding has been very progressive over fences since wind surgery, winning two of his three starts at Wincanton and Huntingdon before possibly just being stretched by the longer trip back at Huntingdon next time.
Following a couple of runner-up efforts back from a break he’s since I,pressed in wins at Sandown and Doncaster respectively, latterly beating The Big Bite who would likely have won the subsequent Greatwood Gold Cup but for hanging badly left after the last and almost ran out.
The form of his earlier Sandown victory and also that Doncaster success have both been franked by subsequent winners and he could still have scope for better to come despite a further 7lbs rise in the weights.
Improving with each start and representing a yard which continues in good fettle he can make his presence felt here and no surprise to see him firmly in the mix at the business end.
4:50 Cheltenham – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4-6yo) 2m½f
The closing race of day two of the Cheltenham Festival can again go the way of Willie Mullins who saddles five of the 15 runners who will go to post and while Kilcruit looks the real deal on the back of a brace of impressive wins, SIR GERHARD has also been impressive in registering back-to-back wins in bumpers following his move from the point-to-point sphere.
The Jeremy gelding has registered wins at Down Royal and Navan, latterly in Listed company when beating Letsbeclearaboutit who has since come up short behind Kilcruit and on that form there’s little between the two main Mullins contenders which is reflected in the betting for the race.
Meanwhile the form of his debut success is also working out quite well and the move to Mullins from Gordon Elliott might be a catalyst for better although he remains open to plenty of improvement in any case.
These colours were carried to victory twelve months ago by Mullins’ Ferny Hollow and the Cheveley Park Stud colours could again emerge victorious in the day two finale.