Cheltenham Festival 2019 – Day 2

An eventful first day, but a winning one thanks to some big luck with Roksana and a fine performance from A Plus Tard. Hopefully all horses and riders come back in one piece, which is all we can ask for.




1.30 – 2m5f (Old) Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Baring Bingham) (Class 1)(4yo+): This has a trappy feel to it. Challow Hurdle winners have a poor record trying to follow up – the curse even beat Denman – but Champ has done nothing wrong and has both speed and stamina to boot, so is a worthy favourite to beat Battleoverdoyen, who has impressed but looked like a speed horse so far. That’s not a bad attribute to have given the nature of the race, but this ought to be more of a slog. That could go against City Island, who has impressed so far, and play into the hands of Sams Profile, who was second in the Lawlor’s behind Battleoverdoten when doing his best work late. This stiffer test, step up in trip and softer ground ought to help him and he looks some each/way value.


Advice: 1 pt each/way Sams Profile (11/1 general)



2.10 – 3m½f (3m80y) (Old) RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+): Our ante post position with Santini looks rocky now after a worse preparation than George Best, but if he can run to form he ought to have a big chance. Delta Work has been hugely impressive in his three wins so far, and is a deserved favourite after a comprehensive success at Christmas. The only issue for him – like with Battleoverdoyen – is the disappointing day Gordon Elliot had on Tuesday and it will be fascinating to see what the market says.



Topofthegame is a maiden over fences but the form of both his efforts since finishing a close second in the Coral Cup stands up to the closest scrutiny and he ought to be going very close here. A low strike rate is perhaps a slight worry, but not many horses would have gotten the better of La Bague Au Roi in a tight battle, and she has since won at Grade 1 level. On The Blind Side was a taking winner at Kempton last time but his one poor run in six starts has come on soft ground which is a worry. Mister Malarky, a dour stayer who got the better of Now McGinty last time in the Renyoldstown, will enjoy a slog here and Drovers Lane and The World’s End will want more cut.


Advice: 1 pt win Topofthegame (10/3 general)

Already Advised: 1 pt each/way Santini, RSA Chase (12/1 general), 26th August



2.50 – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+): Horses as inexperienced as Dancing On My Own normally don’t win Coral Cups but on two of his four runs he’s finished behind Klasical Dream, Aramon, and Vision D’honneur. That form has obviously been boosted massively, but the ground is a concern for Henry De Bromhead’s five-year-old.



William Henry was fourth in this last year off the same mark before finishing fourth at Ayr when perhaps feeling the effects of that run and whilst he’s been seen out just once this season – when pulled up on Boxing Day – he’s had a wind op since then and and it’s interesting that Nico De Boinville rides.



Of the hordes that do deserve consideration, one eyecatcher that has already been noted by Ben Linfoot is Knight In Dubai, who was switched back to hurdles after a fall here in October and ran a very eye-catching race to just be touched off by I’m A Game Changer at Newbury over Christmas. He acts on soft and might be looking for a stiff test on soft ground – his last win was a taking novice success at Wetherby in December 2017 – and he’s worth chancing each/way.



Advice: 1 pt each/way William Henry (33/1 Hills for 1/5, 28/1 Bet365 for ¼), 1 pt each/way Knight In Dubai (33/1 general)



3.30 – 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+): How far for Altior, but the bet is Min without. Evens is fair price for Willie Mullins’ crack chaser, with Sceau Royal, Saint Calvados and Polotlilogue interesting each/way bets in that market.


Advice: 5 pts Min w/o Altior (evens)




4.10 – 3m6f (3m6f37y) (X-Country) Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) (Class 2) (5yo+): Tiger Roll is lovely but too short. Chance Ultragold staying the trip and Urgent De Gregaine coming back to the form of his second last year.


Advice: 1 pt each/way Ultragold (11/1 general), 1 ot Urgent de Gregaine (11/1 general)



4.50 – 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered As The Fred Winter) (Grade 3)(Class 1) (4yo): Fine Brunello appeals if he handles this surface.



Advice: 1 pt each/way Fine Brunello (9/1 general)





5.30 – 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4-6yo): No bet here, one to watch.


Advice: No bet.