Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Preview Part I
Cheltenham Festival Day 2 gets underway with a Novice Hurdle at 1.30pm. Similar to day 1 we have an Irish horse heading up the market. This looks to be a 2 horse race.
SAMCRO comes into the race defending a 100% record on the racetrack. It will be interesting to see how Paloma Blue runs in the Supreme Novices as Samcro defeated him by 9.25l last time out. That would only further frank his form.
Willie Mullins will be hoping that NEXT DESTINATION can continue on his upward curve on the hurdle track. He is 3 from 3 in that sphere. He too has beaten off Paloma Blue earlier in the year by an even more impressive 13.75l!! However I do not believe he has come across a horse in the class of Samcro as yet.
2.10pm sees the Grade 1 RSA Novices Chase. Many past winners of this have gone on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. I am not sure any of these are up to that standard. A horse that is certainly in the form of his life is BLACK CORTON. Paul Nicholls and Bryony Frost have combined to win 7 of his last 8 races. This has included 2 wins at Cheltenham. He already has 1 Grade 1 win to his name this season so will feel this is within his range.
This is another race where Irish horses will be vying for favouritism. PRESENTING PERCY & MONALEE are both likely to head up the market. Monalee has won 2 from 3 over fences. However he did fall on the the 1 time he did not win. His form over hurdles I think was slightly patchy so I think I would swerve him on this. He did have the latter behind him in the Punchestown Festival in April over hurdles so it will be interesting to see the renewal over the larger obstacles.
Presenting Percy only had the Gold Cup bound Our Duke in front of him last time out and has run consistently this season with 2 wins. However there was the disappointing run in November where he was 3rd of 5 runners over 2m 6f and emptied out. With the distance here 3m and the hill to contend with is he a worht favourite?
Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Preview Part II
2.50pm sees a 28 runner cavalry charge over the hurdles. This is probably one of the most open races of the festival. Nicky Henderson has WILLIAM HENRY in fine form. His last run saw him win the Lanzarote at Kempton Park. He has mixed form at Cheltenham having run here 4 times. He has come 2nd twice, PU and won. MAX DYNAMITE currently heads up the market despite having only ran over hurdles once since July 2015! That was in the Galway Hurdle where he came 9th in August 2017. He certainly has the flat speed and has been running in high class flat races around the globe and is an interesting contender for Willie Mullins.
One I like the look of is MOUNT MEWS. Ruth Jefferson send this down from the North and whilst this form figures this season with 1 win in 5 are not overly impressive, last time he did disgrace himself in a Grade 2 race.
3.30pm brings us to the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The good news overnight is that ALTIOR has been declared as a runner. Undefeated over hurdles and fences it is hard to see him being defeated here. Winner of the Arkle last year and the Supreme Novices in 2016 he will be aiming to complete a festival hat-trick.
If his colours are to be lowered then they are likely to be lowered by either of Willie Mullins runners, DOUVAN & MIN.
Min was defeated in that Supreme Novices race by 7l but has since only tasted defeat once. However he has not raced outside of Ireland since that race and is only rated at 160 compared to 170 for Altior.
Douvan is running for the first time since appearing in this race last year. Like Altior he had won a Supreme Novice in 2015. He then won the Arkle in 2016. It was somewhat of a shock then that he ran so disappointingly in last years QM, trailing in 7th of 10 runners. This still remains his only defeat on a racetrack. If the real Douvan turns up then odds of 3/1 will look very big but it is a big ask I think to expect a horse to come and win a Championship race after a year off.
Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Preview Part III
The Cross Country Chase takes place at 4.10pm. As seems the norm JP McManus has the favourite for the race. CAUSE OF CAUSES ran an absolute stormer in coming 2nd in the Grand National at Aintree. He has won here for the last 3 festivals and but for a last fence blunder in 2014 it would have been 4!
Therefore it is going to take a monumental effort to get past this 10y old. I think that a horse that may be able to do this is AUVERGNAT. He also has experience of Cheltenham. Last year he came 4th in this race and I believe that he will come on for that experience. A slight concern is that he fell in a trial for this race in November but I am willing to overlook that.
Others to look out for are CANTLOW who has previous experience of this race and BLESS THE WINGS who has been laid out for this race by Gordon Elliot.
The Fred Winter is at 4.50pm. 24 runners go to post. I like the look of MITCHOUKA. He has run consistently this season with 4 wins from 7 runs. Also he has the experience of running in Graded races already which should stand him in good stead.
The Bumper finishes off Cheltenham Festival Day 2. Numerous horses arrive here protecting 100% records. I think that BLACKBOW will confirm the the form with RHINESTONE. My concern with FELIX DESJY is he has had no runs since the 3rd November and will he be fully match fit?
Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Tip of the Day
My tip of the Day for Cheltenham Festival Day 2 is BLACK CORTON EW
Generally available at 8/1 at most bookmakers first 3 places 1/4 odds