The opening day of the Cheltenham Festival was an exciting one, with three favourites in Buveur D’Air, Footpad and Coo Star Sivola causing damage to all bookmakers.
Day two is upon us and it’s where we can all witness the greatness of Altior showcasing his brilliance, the reputable Samcro is ready to let the jump racing world know just how good he really is and in the Cross Country Chase, Cause of Causes will be hoping to make it a fourth year in a row winning on the biggest stage of jump racing.
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1:30)
Attention can’t be taken away from the exciting Samcro at 4/5. He boasts an impressive seven wins from seven races but the big question arises of whether he’ll be able to cope with the pressure and the ordeals of the festival.
Willie Mullins’ Next Destination, who finished fourth in last year’s Champion Bumper, has managed to build on his form over hurdles, winning impressively at Naas in January prior to today’s race, we can expect him to dig deep if required.
Brahma Bull (25/1) – Automatically drawn to the Willie Mullins horse purely on the name, reference to Wrestling legend The Rock. The seven year old has a 4/4 win record, yes it may be early days and clearly Cheltenham is a huge step for Mullins’ mare but I fancy him at 7/2 on SkyBet to finish in the top three places.
RSA Steeple Chase (2:10)
At what’s been branded as one of the clashes of the week, Presenting Percy and Monalee go head to head, in a race that typically depends solely on stamina can be challenged as proven last year when ability overrode that statement last year, Might Bite who won in one of the most dramatic finishes in recent Cheltenham Festival history was a perfect example of this and Monalee at 7/2 can definitely replicate Might Bite’s success.
Elegant Escape, who is known for being a good stayer, could run a good race at 9/1 and also Ballyoptic can’t be disregarded in terms of ability but his inconsistency could prove to be his downfall.
Monalee (7/2) – Henry De Bromhead’s mare won very closely in his last race at Leopardstown in February and can’t be overlooked especially coming second in last years Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle closely behind Willie Mullins Penhill.
Coral Cup (2:50)
Le Breuil at 12/1 has been highly regarded by many different bookies and has still got plenty of improvement to come. A race featuring both Topofthegame (11/1) and William Henry (8/1) will be interesting as the last time both were in the same race William Henry won tightly with Topofthegame coming in fourth.
Topofthegame (11/1) – The way in which he ran at Sandown travelling with ease and staying on strongly showed a mare that is definitely classed as a fine performer, and will thrive off being able to turn the tables after losing to William Henry at Kempton last year.
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (3:30)
This is the one all racing enthusiasts will be looking forward to.
Despite facing a late injury scare, the favourite Altior is certainly the one to beat. Winning in fine fashion bolting past Politologue to win by four lengths at Newbury. Douvan has it all to prove after to many people’s surprise finished seventh in the same race last year. Willie Mullins’ Min cannot be underestimated after a quality win at Leopardstown in his last outing.
Altior (11/10) – After dominating Min convincingly in the Supreme Novices Hurdle by seven lengths, it’s hard to look past Altior emerging victorious.
Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase (4:10)
In what is a tricky course, experience is key and there is a breadth of proven performers in this one with Bless The Wings (10/1), The Last Samuri (5/1) and Josies Orders (15/2) all having valid claims to nick a victory in the Cross Country chase.
Cause of Causes (3/1) – The time of year Gordon Elliot’s mare comes to life, aiming for an extraordinary fourth consecutive festival winner in a row, at 3/1 it seems like a no brainer.
Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (4:50)
The more rigid track at Cheltenham will suit The King of May (9/1) after he ran an impressive race at Musselburgh staying third, even at 2/1 to place in the top five places wouldn’t be the worst shout in the world. Turning Gold and Mercenaire have good claims to place at 7/2 and 4/1 respectively.
Act of Valour (14/1) – Paul Nicholls holds this mare in very high regards, back on track coming in a close second in Musselburgh.
Weatherbys Champion Bumper (5:30)
Acey Milan (6/1) is the most experienced of those in the final race of the day and has shown impressive speed for a bumper horse. Gordon Elliot’s Felix Desjy (7/1) has had impressive wins last year at Down Royal and Punchestown and will hope to take this form into the Champion Bumper.
Blackbow (5/1) – Willie Mullins mare won Ireland’s best bumper of the season at Leopardstown beating Rhinestone. He’s also unbeaten so far winning three out of three races.
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