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    Cheltenham Blog  -  Day Two, Wednesday 16th March 2011    
    DATE POSTED: 15/03/2011    
    With two winners and two seconds on Day One, private handicapper Ryan H now moves onto Day Two's Festival Blog with his views, selections and horses to consider...

Day two of the Cheltenham festival follows on from a successful and exciting first day. The first race of the second day is the four mile NATIONAL HUNT CHASE. Not a race to get too stuck into because of the calibre of rider and amount of runners. However a chance is taken each way on PEARLEY STEPS at 18/1. He handles quick ground, stays a trip, has not finished out of the first three on all four chase starts and has a very experienced amateur on board in the shape of Tom Greenall.

The NEPTUNE NOVICE HURDLE provides the second race on the card. There is little form on offer but this is a smart race none the less. SO YOUNG - 5/2 is taken to continue his unbeaten run over hurdles. The ground is a complete un-known but it is the same for most in the race. He also has the benefit of coming from the inform yard of Willie Mullins and will be ridden by the man of day one Ruby Walsh.

One of the days feature races and one of the events I have most been looking forward to is the RSA CHASE which is the third race on the card. TIME FOR RUPERT - 11/4 is simply the best horse in the race, handles good ground, has done all is running and winning over fences at the track and he ran well at the festival last year finding only the mighty Big Bucks too good. He was always going to be a top class staying chaser, now is his chance to prove he is the best.

The main event of day two is the QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE. I am of the opinion that more often than not the best horse wins, in this case that horse is MASTER MINDED. A former dual winner of this race who has looked back near his best this term. His form from last year can be thrown away as he had an interrupted and rushed campaign. He has done nothing wrong this season, winning all three starts. I hope at a nice price of 7/2 he can regain his well deserved crown.

A competitive CORAL CUP is the fifth race on the card. 28 runners makes it quite a task to find the winner but AEGEAN DAWN is probably a graded horse running in a handicap so therefore is value at the available 13/2. He has done everything asked of him in good style this year and should give a good account again despite trying good ground for the first time. He also has the services of his usual and useful pilot David Bass who is also good value for his 3lbs claim.

The sixth race on the card is the FRED WINTER JUVENILE HURDLE. Always a tricky race to work out with the horses only being lightly raced. PLAN A at 13/2 is my selection as he has progressed well over the season and has been campaigned with this race in mind. He won snugly last time and looks to be off a fair mark. He has run well here before in grade 2 company which is always a bonus if you know they already handle the track.

The final race on the second day is the CHAMPION BUMPER. This is not a race that I have or ever will be betting on, it is simply far too tricky! There are a lot of good, well bred horses with lots of winning form on offer. Trying to work out just how good the form is, is extremely difficult. There are no clues either to be gained from the pedigrees of the horses, as the last eighteen winners have been sired by eighteen different sires. The only clue we really have is that the Irish normally win this. I simply can't find a selection in this race.

Lets hope we have another good day and see some quality horses powering up that steep run-in. As many of you who have visited Cheltenham will know, the TV simply doesn't do that hill justice. I stood at the foot of it yesterday for the Cross Country race and the horses must have been running on pure guts and determination to be able to tackle that finish after contesting a race of almost four miles.


I really like the chances of TIME FOR RUPERT, who could write his way into the history books today.  One who is already there, but has perhaps been overlooked by some pundits is MASTER MINDED, who I believe hasn't done with winning at the festival just yet. 

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