Inside today’s main piece I’m looking at the four Grade 1’s on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival. Plus, there some more race stats and at the end some suggestions if you’re playing the Scoop 6 an/or Placepot.
First, a few quick thoughts on yesterday’s action.
Day 1 Highlights
What an hour for the sport? First, Constitution Hill made some good hurdlers look very ordinary when strolling home to victory in the Champion Hurdle.
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If he stays sound Constitution Hill could turn out to be the greatest horse National Hunt horse in history.
The word superstar is overused in the sport of horse racing. Well Constitution Hill is a superstar and let’s enjoy him while he’s around.
Fairy tale’s do happen! Honeysuckle ended her career with a win in the Mares Hurdle. Proving her doubters including me wrong.
Perfectly placed in a slowly run race she had too much pace after the last for Love Envoi.
Honeysuckle had to dig in to win but she's always found a way to win her races. Ok she was the class horse of the race but still she had to deliver, and she did.
What a day for conditional jockey Michael O'Sullivan. The 3lb claimer gave Marine National a cool ride to win the Supreme and then followed up later with a win on Jazzy Matty in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. His claim is a steal and he’s going to the very top of the jockey ranks.
I said earlier in the week that the Cheltenham Festival had to deliver to save the jumps season. Well, it’s done it in one day. The performances of Constitution Hill and Honeysuckle made it the best day of racing at Cheltenham in a long time and one that will live long in the memory.
For the many of you who joined the Victor Value service for the week Corach Rambler’s win in the Ultima Handicap Chase enabled us to break even on the day. If you had given me that at the start of the day, I would happily have taken it.
Cheltenham Festival – Day 2
It's going to be hard to top yesterday for action but I'm expecting more great performances and exciting finishes.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase (3:30) is the feature race of Day 2. The going wasn’t too soft on Tuesday, but the ground was gluey and testing. It was raining by the end of the first day so hopefully that will help open the ground and least take away that glueyness.
Last year’s Arkle winner Edwardstone takes last year’s winner Energumene. Editeur Du Gite who finished ahead of the pair here last time shouldn’t be underestimated either. I don’t think its race I will be having a bet in but I’m hoping we’ll see Energumene back to his best on softer ground.
The novice hurdlers get the action underway in the Ballymore (1:30).
Willie Mullins saddles four of the ten declared runners and has the favourite in Impaire Et Passe. An impressive winner at Punchestown last time the 5-year-old has been the subject of plenty of ante post support.
I think Gerri Colombe is a future Gold Cup horse and he’s the one to beat in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (2:10). The step up to 3m will suit the 7-year-old, as will the soft ground.
It’s a day where the bookies could take a real caning if the market leaders come in. Besides Impaire Et Passe we have a strong favourite in Delta Work in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (4:10). It’s not a race that I will be having a bet in but if I did, I wouldn’t look past last year’s winner.
When I wrote my preview on the race last week. I was really sweet on the chances of A Dream To Share in the Champion Bumper (5:30). The recent rain has been a slight concern as son of Muhaarar doesn’t lack speed and has yet to race on ground worse than yielding. He remains my pick but I’m not sure if I will be backing him until I know what the ground is like.
Here are few day two stats.
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
Odds SP: 9/1 & bigger – 1 winner from 132 runners -117 10 placed.
Willie Mullins is 5 winners from 31 runners -11.27 14 placed in the race since 2008. All five winners won their last start and were returned 9/1 & under – 5 winners from 15 runners 33% +4.73 11 placed. Three of the trainers four runners are likely to qualify using those criteria.
Horses who failed to win last time out are – 0 winners from 91 runners 4 placed.
Willie Mullins has won the race 7 times since 2008 but he thrown plenty of darts at the race 61 to be precise. This year he saddles 10 of the 24 declared runners which is 42% of the total runners.
Cheltenham Scoop 6/Placepot
1:30 – Impaire Et Passe & Good Land
2:10 – Gerri Colombe
2:50 – HMS Seahorse, Captain Conby & Good Risk At All
3:30 – Energumene
4:10 – Delta Work
4:50 – Andy Dufresne, Coeur Sublime & Global Citizen.
Good luck with your Cheltenham bets.