Cheltenham Festival: ones to watch on day two
- Credit: PA
Day two of the Cheltenham Festival features the best two-mile chasers in action as the Queen Mother Champion Chase takes centre-stage.
Willie Mullins has never won the Grade One event, but saddles hot favourite Chacun Pour Soi and, with the likes of Politologue First Flow and Nube Negra in opposition, it promises to be a fantastic spectacle.
Here's a preview of the action with a race-by-race guide:
1.20pm Grade One Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
A cracker to open proceedings in which Somerset trainer Paul Nicholls saddles the progressive Bravemansgame. He is unbeaten in his last three starts and impressed with the manner of his win in the Challow at Newbury last time out. However, Bob Olinger could not have been more impressive at Naas last time out. He brings solid form to the table and he can get the better of Gaillard Du Mesnil who had a tough race at Leopardstown last time out.
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Selection: Bob Olinger 2/1
1.55pm Grade One Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
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Monkfish should take the world of beating here. Successful in the Albert Bartlett at last year’s Festival, he has been spectacular in three starts over fences this term. There’s lots to like about his profile and he could be a serious contender for the Gold Cup in 12 months’ time. He can remain unbeaten over fences here with The Big Breakaway, a winner at Cheltenham earlier this term, an each-way player.
Selection: Monkfish 1/2
2.30pm Coral Cup
An ultra-competitive renewal of this event in which the Willie Mullins-trained Koshari has been the subject of bullish support in the betting markets following an eye-catching sixth last time out. He looks sure to go close along with the likes of Monte Cristo, a recent winner at Kempton and Grand Roi who shaped with promise when a fine second in Graded company at Naas last time out. However, the one of interest is Craigneiche. The lightly-raced seven-year-old has won two of his three starts over hurdles and cruised to victory at Ascot last time out. A mark of 139 might still underestimate him and he looks a dascinating
Selection: Craigneiche 10/1
3.05pm Grade One Champion Chase
Two-time winner Altior was ruled out of the race earlier this week which has made the task for Chacun Pour Soi somewhat easier. Willie Mullins’ charge is having his first run at Cheltenham, but the track should hold no fears and he has looked sensational in three starts this, including when dotting up in Grade One company at Leopardstown last time out. Nube Negra has emerged as a contender for this event following his win at Kempton last time out but this demands a career best. Politologue won this event 12 months ago, but comes into the race on the back of a loss to First Flow at Ascot, which makes Chacun Pour Soi the most solid option. He has put up some monstrous efforts this term and impressed at Leopardstown last time out. He can provide Willie Mullins with a first success in this event.
Selection: Chacun Pour Soi 4/5
3.40pm Glenfarclas Chase
Tiger Roll is targeting a fifth Cheltenham Festival win and a third success in this event. However, he has failed to sparkle so far this term and Easysland, who beat him in this race 12 months ago, can confirm the placings having come into the race off a nice pipe-opener on his seasonal debut. He makes plenty of appeal.
Selection: Easysland Evs
4.15pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual
Sky Pirate makes appeal here. A winner at the track, connections have decided to run in this handicap rather than a Grade One and that could be telling. There’s scope for more improvement off a mark of 152 and whilst the well-touted Zanza looks a danger, Sky Pirate can let his class do the talking.
Selection: Sky Pirate 7/1
4.50pm Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Willie Mullins has won 10 runnings of this event and can make it 11 with Sir Gerhard. This £400,000 purchase is unbeaten in two starts and was very impressive in Listed company at Naas last time, a race won by the great Envoi Allen back in 2018. He takes on stable companion Kilcruit who cruised to victory in the manner of a potential superstar at Leopardstown last time out. However, Sir Gerhard may not have the flashier profile, but he has all the credentials needed to run a big race in the finale.
Selection: Sir Gerhard 2/1
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