Day 2 of the Cheltenham jump-fest today, with the meeting surviving a precautionary inspection owing to potential gales.
Highlight of the card is the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at 3.00, when Altior attempts to make it 18 wins in a row and is 2-5 so to do.
Frankly we hope that happens and are content just to watch and, hopefully, admire.
Action starts at 1.30 with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle which has a field of 16, headed by Champ at 7-2.
Allegedly named after the legendary Sir AP McCoy, this horse has a serious engine and is unbeaten in four starts this season, all over today’s trip. With a rating in the 150s, this will be hard to beat, so we will start with a win bet.
Dangers as ever abound, however and with four places on offer from our friendly bookmakers, we also recommend each way bets on Brewin’upastorm (15-2) and City Island (9-1).
Brewin’ may well have won a Grade 2 on this track at the end of January had it not gone butt over mammary at the last, while City Island has yet to be fully tested this season, winning both starts with ease.
The RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at 2.10 has three horses at the head of the market and it’s 12-1 bar those three. Of the market leaders we prefer the Paul Nicholls‘ trained Topofthegame at 7-2. This 7-y-o already has a verdict over Santini, when narrowly beaten by the amazing La Bague Au Roi at Kempton on Boxing Day and has been kept for today ever since.
With the doubts surrounding Santini’s well-being after a troubled run-up, we also suggest an each way bet on NJH‘s other runner, On The Blind Side, which is available at 12-1. Something of a monster over hurdles before injury struck, this 7-y-o showed it would be a force over fences with a demolition job at Kempton at the end of January and, if its jumping holds up, could cause a surprise.
The Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle at 2.50 is a simple 25-runner affair – simple because it contains a Willie Mullins trained ‘plot horse’ which goes by the name of Uradel. “Ah, I get the headline, now” “Well done, dear”.
Rated 102 on the Flat, stays longer than your mother-in-law and tuned up for this over 2 miles, Uradel could make a mockery of a mark of 137 and we take it to do just that. Glory be, we can also back it each way with at least 6 places on offer, so 11-2 it is, then.
In case something goes wrong, we’ll also have modest each way bets on Tully East at 20-1 and Highest Sun at 18s.
The final televised race is the odious Cross Country rubbish at 4.10 and we are unable to give a selection in this for two reasons:
Reason 1: We can’t be asked.
Reason 2: Tiger Roll will win it.
Champ 1.30 Cheltenham 4pts win @ 7-2
Brewin’upastorm 1.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (4 places)
City Island 1.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (4 places)
Topofthegame 2.10 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 7-2
On The Blind Side 2.10 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 12-1
Uradel 2.50 Cheltenham 3pts e/w @ 11-2 (6 places)
Tully East 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 20-1 (6 places)
Highest Sun 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (6 places)