We’re at the halfway point of the festival!
Day 2 was another cracker for spectators. Bob Olinger won very easily for the De Bromhead – Blackmore partnership. Our pick Keskonrisk struggled to keep up with the front three, and ended up 6th.
Monkfish won the second race very very easily. He was miles from his best and still routed the field. Our pick Fiddlerontheroof ran a gallant 2nd at a whopping 40/1!
Heaven Help Us led them all a merry dance in the Coral Cup, with one of our picks Craigneiche following him home in second. Our other two picks were very disappointing, but at this point we’re a few quid up for the day!
Politologue unfortunately got pulled out of the Champion Chase, so the likelihood is we won’t see him back at Cheltenham. The rain didn’t come for First Flow, and really struggled.
Tiger Roll was exceptional. I was completely wrong, like many others. He looked back to his very best today. Hogan’s Height got backed in from 40/1 to 25/1 on the day, however like many on the cross country course, struggled.
Ibleo managed to grab us a place at 16/1, having also been backed into 9’s, but still struggling to find that elusive winner.
1.20 – Marsh Novices Chase
There’s only one name on everyone’s lips for this race. The unbeaten Envoi Allen goes to Cheltenham after a disruptive few weeks, with the whole Gordon Elliott scandal. Now with a new trainer, in a new yard, it’s easy to forget how good he actually is.
It really wouldn’t surprise me to see him rout the field, and win by half a furlong.
However with a risk free £10, I’ll be going for a juicier priced horse.
You never know what Fusil Raffles is going to turn up, but on his day he’s a very smart animal. At the prices he would be my choice with the money back £10, but I fully expect Envoi Allen to destroy them.
WIN – ENVOI ALLEN – 8/11 – F
EW – FUSIL RAFFLES – 16/1 – 2ND (PLACED)
1.55 – Pertemps Network Final
One of the toughest handicaps of the week, so finding the winner will be some effort.
There’s a number of these who have outstanding chances. The Bosses Oscar is as consistent as they come, and there’s no doubting he’ll be bang there at the finish.
Brinkley is only 6 races into his career, and very much going the right way. He looked very strong last month at Exeter, and looks like he’s got more in the tank.
At a slightly bigger price, I really like the reserve Milliner. Currently 25/1, he’s ran twice since a near 3 year layoff, and both starts were very promising. If he can get in the race, and come on again, I’d really like his chances.
EW – BRINKLEY – 14/1 – 12TH
EW – MILLINER – 25/1 – 4TH (PLACED)
2.30 – Ryanair Chase
One of the most open Ryanair’s in recent years. Willie Mullins has another strong hand, with 3 of the top 4 in the market.
Allaho seems to be the best of the trio, having won a grade 2 fairly easily last time out at Thurles. Min is one of the best horses to ever run at Cheltenham, however age is catching up to him, and an awful mistake saw him pulled up last month.
Imperial Aura had been going from strength to strength before unseating David Bass early at Kempton in January, and probably is the horse I fancy the most here.
An each way play has to be Dashel Drasher. Currently 16/1, he won the Grade 1 Ascot Chase last month, and looked very strong at the finish.
WIN – IMPERIAL AURA – 13/2 – PU
EW – DASHEL DRASHER – 16/1 – NON RUNNER
3.05 – Stayers Hurdle
The standout performer has to be the great Paisley Park, having dominated the stayers over the previous years.
Flooring Porter is going from strength to strength, and was impressive at Leopardstown over Christmas, beating a couple of these in the process.
At a slightly bigger price, Fury Road looks like he’s going to peak at the right time. He ran a massive 3rd in last years Albert Bartlett, and the form for that looks rock solid.
WIN – FLOORING PORTER – 6/1 – WON
EW – FURY ROAD – 12/1 – PU
3.40 – Paddy Power Plate
Another tough handicap to predict here. So many Irish raiders have massive chances, but I’m going to firstly pick Happy Diva for Great Britain. 33/1 just seems a big price for a horse who has gone close in tougher races before.
The best of the Irish will have to be Farclas. He’s always there or thereabouts in these massive handicaps, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him pop up and win this.
EW – HAPPY DIVA – 33/1 – 11TH
EW – FARCLAS – 7/1 – 2ND (PLACED)
4.15 – Partnell Properties Mares Novices Hurdle
Definitely the toughest day of the festival, another awkward betting event here.
Mighty Blue was behind a couple of these last time out, and is unexposed over hurdles. Being better off in the weights, I’d really fancy her to go close here.
Allavina is another at a big price I like, having won her last two relatively easily, albeit being in lesser events.
EW – MIGHTY BLUE – 16/1 – 3RD (PLACED)
EW – ALLAVINA – 33/1 – 13TH
4.50 – Kim Muir Challenge Cup
The final race of a tough betting day at Cheltenham, and the favourite is currently 6/1, showing how tough it really is.
Mount Ida has been contesting much tougher races than this, and I really think she will go very very close here.
Shantou Flyer loves the festival, and I expect this 11 year old to be bang there also.
At a huge price I like Cobolobo at 40/1. He’s been in excellent form, and still relatively well treated in the handicap.
WIN – MOUNT IDA – 8/1 – WON
EW – COBOLOBO – 40/1 – PU
We need winners, so hopefully we can land one or two today, ahead of the final day tomorrow!