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    Cheltenham Festival : Day Two    
    DATE POSTED: 15/03/2016    
    The RSA and Champion Chase head the races of interest for Wednesday's meeting at Cheltenham, although the Bumper at the end of the card is always of interest for those with young hopefuls for the future.

Day Two brings forth another chance to enjoy seven scintillating races and possibly a chance to make a few bob or of course add to the losses. Remember the saying, “A racehorse is a thing that can take thousands of people for a ride at the same time”. Either way, enjoyment is the name of the game and we will try to provide a few helpful hints.


1:30. Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle
There are few statistics to help split the runners. 7year-olds are favoured, and around the last twenty winners had at least a 4 week break before running here, but these aren’t exactly critical stats. The Alan King-trained 6yo YANWORTH was 4th here last year in the Champion Bumper (O O Seven 16th) and showed he has the speed to deliver on good ground as well as the heavy ground he encountered when easily winning here in January. He looks a solid favourite and will be hard to dismiss. A huge danger is sure to be Yorkhill, another 6yo, who skipped the Supreme Novice race yesterday in favour of this one. He is unbeaten apart from unseating his rider on his PTP debut, won a Grade 1 at Sandown (OO Seven and Welsh Shadow behind him) and has the Mullins factor on his side. Willie has three other runners in this race and we think that A Toi Phil is likely to be right on the premises at the end and so suggest him as the each-way proposition.

2:10. RSA Chase
Only 8 runners contest this 3m chase but there is plenty of quality in the field. Gordon Elliott saddles No More Heroes who is officially rated 5lb ahead of the rest and is unbeaten over fences, having shown some impeccable jumping skills along the way but we worry that he might prefer softer ground. His main rival is MORE OF THAT, who was the first horse to actually beat Annie Power when winning the World Hurdle in 2014. After a year off due to injury, he has won 2 novice chase on this course and Jonjo O’Neill is sure to have him spot on for this. We like the look of Vyta du Roc who will certainly get the trip and could possibly add to Nicky Hendersons tally of Festival winners.

2:50. Coral Cup
This race is a graveyard for favourites with only one winning in the last 20 years, and little wonder as it always attracts big fields, with a lot of the entrants having been carefully prepared with one eye on the handicap ratings. For this reason, the winner usually comes from the lower half of the field. There seems to be a bit of a gamble on the Willie Mullins runner Blood Cotil who has been running with some success in chases and is taking advantage of a hurdle mark some 10lb less than his chase rating. Willie has three other runners who could similarly have been laid out for this race. Politologue is a French import now with Paul Nicholls. The 5yo won a 17-runner hurdle in France, unseated Sam Twiston-Davis when going well here on his English debut and had a bloodless victory at Exeter last month. He could be anything, but it wouldn’t be a shock if he was in the shake-up here. DIAMOND KING was original with Don McCain but has responded very well to a switch over the water to Gordon Elliott. He seems to be at a fair price even though he is favourite and so we will give him our vote, but this is not a race to put your shirt on.

3:30. Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
This 20 runner event looks quite a race in prospect. It would be a huge shock if Just Cameron, trained at Middleham by Micky Hammond and formerly with Phil Kirby was to feature in the result as he is rated between 5lb-22lb below the rest but will give connections a day out to remember, especially young jockey Joe Colliver.  12yo Somersby is unlikely to roll back the years, 2015 winner Dodging Bullets and 2012 winner Sprinter Sacre have both been troubled by injuries and it seems wise to be cautious about them this time round. The same applies to Sire de Grugy, but on their day they would certainly all be leading contenders. We desperately hope that the Sprinter Sacre of old turns up tomorrow (Nicky Henderson admits the horse may not be quite as good as he was but is fighting fit at home) and he could to set the pulse racing and be a good value each-way bet. The stats show that the Arkle winners from the previous year have a great record with the last dozen finishing either first or second the next year. This adds further fuel to our belief that last years Arkle winner, winner UN DE SCEAUX, who was unbeaten over hurdles and is 5 wins from seven chases, is the likely winner tomorrow. The only caveat is that he fell in the two chases that he lost, so we wouldn’t like to back him at odds-on.

4:10. Glenfarcas Chase
We will look no further than JOSIE’S ORDERS, in the capable hands of Nina Carberry, to take this marathon cross-country chase. They are both well acquainted with winning over this course and distance and look set to provide owner JP McManus with more cash for his coffers. It would be great to see Balthazar King make a successful come back from his horrendous fall in the 2015 Grand National, and we are sure that Philip Hobbs wouldn’t be running him if not fully fit. Both these horses seem to love these distance races and it is usually a case of who jumps best wins.

4:50. Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Another graveyard for favourites, and restricted to 4year-olds, make winner selection hard to come by, especially with twenty two runners. We were disappointed to find that Paul Nicholls’ French import, DIEGO DU CHARMIL has appeared at the top of the betting because we think he could be a handicap snip. Clearly we aren’t the only ones, and Paul has won this race twice in the last 6 years, so we will have to hope the he can break the hoodoo for us. Nearer the top of the handicap is Voix du Reve, who was much too keen for his own good last time out at Fairyhouse and could settle better in this big field and now hooded for the first time. There is no better hurdles jockey at Cheltenham than Ruby Walsh and we believe he’ll give the horse every chance We are also tempted to have a little each-way on Akavit who has taken pretty well to hurdling after his Flat career, and could provide a bit of excitement for Newmarket trainer Ed de Giles who doesn’t enter NH territory very often. The horse is on the upward curve, easily won (an albeit) small Sandown race last month and is in the right weight bracket according to the stats.

5:30. Weatherbys Champion Bumper
This race usually provides cash-back for the Irish, they’ve supplied the winner on 17 of the 23 runnings, with Willie Mullins saddling 8 of those. Surprisingly perhaps, the current favourite is the English-trained Ballyandy for the Twiston-Davis family, but closely followed by a couple of the Mullins runners. To be honest, the Form Guide isn’t usually too informative in these races and we can only say that we’ve heard good things about The Graham Wylie-owned 5yo AUGUSTA KATE, who has easily won her 2 Irish Bumpers and is thought to have a big future. We also offer Jessie Harrington’s New To This Town, who overturned Mullins hotpot in Avenire Du Vie in a Gowran Park Bumper in January and looks to be something special. Basically we wouldn’t put anyone off having a little flutter on any of the runners as anything could come out of the pack at the end of this two-mile dash.

Enjoy Day Two of the Festival, and we hope you are in profit after Day One!

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