Day 2 picks:
1.30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle
Champ has been favourite for this race for quite some time after two impressive Newbury wins. The last of those was in the Challow Hurdle but it should be noted that the winners of that race have a terrible record when trying to follow up here. He’s plenty short enough for me and I would have liked to see some form on this course.
Irish novice form came out clearly best in Tuesday’s opener and that may well affect prices of their challengers here. Lack of course experience (and possibly soft ground form – though he promises to be better suited by it) lightly puts me off their main hope, Battleoverdoyen, at his current price. He’s a big horse and while he has plenty of scope to improve, I’m always a bit cautious about the ability to handle the track for horses of his size.
City Island is owned by the sponsors and has been trained for this race all year. His form might be below others here but he could do no more than win so shouldn’t be underestimated. I’d be slightly more on his side of the Irish challengers here at current prices
I don’t like to see an ‘F’ on last run before coming here which puts me off Brewinupastorm
At a bigger price I’m more interested by Bright Forecast whose form is all at 2 miles but who promises to improve at this trip
Seddon hasn’t quite delivered on early promise this season but of all the really big prices he’s the one who could outrun those odds – if anyone went 6 or 7 places on this race I’d become interested
Not a race to go heavy on but a small bet on Bright Forecast might be my play
2.10 RSA Novices Chase
Santini looked the ideal type for this race to me since his 3rd at Kempton but his preparation hasn’t gone to plan and a week ago he looked an unlikely starter
I think he’s better suited to the course than Topofthegame with whom he’s closely matched on that last run.
Delta Work was a winner at the Festival last year and has become favourite in the last week with an unblemished record over the bigger obstacles
Of the bigger prices the Ascot 1-2 of Mister Malarky and Now McGinty, plus Irish raider Mortal, should all appreciate the softer ground. I can’t help thinking all three would have had better chances on Tuesday’s 4 mile race but easy to see any of them running into the frame if this develops into a stamina test
With the uncertainty over Santini, I’m unlikely to getting too involved here
2.50 Coral Cup
A highly competitive handicap but Just one horse to mention here that stands out to me. I doubt connections thought that JOKE DANCER would have got into the race 2 days ago but he made it right at the bottom of the handicap and could be very well in
He’s a very scopey type who is well regarded by his astute Northern trainer and I’m sure he would be a lot shorter price than 33/1 is trained by someone more ‘fashionable’.
He came back from a wind op to score impressively at Newcastle as his prep for this and only being raised 5lbs seems quite lenient on that….he’s now on a mark of 132 but I think he could be a 140+ horse
This is a rise in class and a new trip but one that promises to suit
I definitely think he’s good value at 33/1+
Joke Dancer EW 33/1+
3.30 Champion Chase
Hard to see past reigning champ Altior here but that is reflected in his short odds. He’s beaten Min twice here at Cheltenham before and that one looks the likeliest to follow him home again.
With Sceau Royal and Gods Own likely to need better ground – and Politologue never showing his best form at the track, Castlegrace Paddy appeals as some value for each way bets at 33/1
Soft ground looks to be a positive for this one and with Davy Russell doing the steering I could see this one being ridden more for a place than to beat the favourite
Castlegrace Paddy EW 33/1
4.10 Cross Country Chase
The enigmatic Tiger Roll will be hard to beat for sure but as stated in previous years this isn’t really a race for me
4.50 Boodles Juvenile Hcap
It used to be very profitable to follow the highest rated flat horse in this race. Lethal Steps is clearly that and has to be on the shortlist with the only downside being a possible stamina issue
Stamina is also the worry for likely fav Band of Outlaws. He was a very impressive winner last time out but on this course and in soft ground it has to be questionable that a horse who didn’t get more than a mile on the flat will get home up the Cheltenham hill.
Preference is for Joseph O’Brien’s other runner FINE BRUNELLO. He has good course form and looked to have more to come on that run. Stamina and soft ground won’t be issues here
Fine Brunello EW
5.30 Champion Bumper
A smaller field than usual here might mean they don’t go the usual breakneck pace. That might not help stamina laden favourite Envoi Allen.
I think he’s plenty short enough.
Ask for Glory is a rare runner in this race for Paul Nicholls and has done little wrong in his career so far. His best days are ahead of him but he’s one to keep on the right side of
At bigger odds, The Glancing Queen powered up this hill to win earlier in the season and shouldn’t be underestimated getting her mares allowance. I think her course form looks better than Master Debonair but that one is a shorter price
Ask for Glory
The Glancing Queen
Thanks for reading once more – and good luck