Day 2 of Chelters has the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase as its centrepiece at 3.30 and, in the absence of Altior this race looks a match between Defi Du Seuil and Oirish raider Chacun Pour Soi.
This is very much reflected in the market, which has these two trading at 11-10 and 11-8 respectively and 14-1 and upwards the rest.
The big two have crossed swords before, back in May last year, when CPS beat DDS by just over 4 lengths at Punchestown, but there are reasons for thinking that revenge will be taken this afternoon.
This season, Dear Old Defi has been a different horse, impressing with its latest two Grade 1 wins and is also 6-8 at its beloved Cheltenham, whereas Chacun Pour Soi has yet to experience the delights of Prestbury Park.
Firmly on the side of Philip Hobbs‘ charge, then and a serious whack is recommended.
The meeting starts at 1.30 with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, which sees the appearance of the Emerald Isle’s Banker of all Bankers Envoi Allen.
Unbeaten in all previous eight races, Envoi Allen‘s recent form received some tremendous boosts yesterday with the runs of Abacadabras (just touched off by our selection Shishkin in the Supreme Novices) and Darver Star (3rd in the Champion Hurdle, no less), both of which were comfortably beaten by Gordon Elliott‘s star in December.
Recommending bets at 8-11 is not what we do, but we do recommend a double with Defi Du Seuil which currently pays out at just over 5-2.
If there is a horse that might give the fav a run for its money it could be The Big Breakaway, which has been visually very impressive in its two hurdle runs, so we suggest a small each way on this one at 10-1.
The RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at 2.10 brings us to the enigma that is Champ. There is little doubt that Nicky Henderson‘s 8-y-o possesses bundles of talent but a fair few quirks as well. Usurped as favourite for this race by Minella Indo, we think that, at 7-2, we’ll take a deep breath and keep the faith, possibly from behind the sofa.
At 2.50, the first of the week’s ‘impossible’ handicaps takes place, aka the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle with a small field of just 26 going to post.
Without boring you with details of the hours of analysis that’s gone into this, we’ll chuck three darts and hope for the best.
Step forward Dame De Compagnie (9-2), Top Moon (16-1) and Cracking Smart (40-1).
Televised coverage is completed by the odious Glenfarclas Chase at 4.10 and regular readers will be aware of our aversion to these cross country affairs.
However, at the risk of raining on Tiger Roll‘s parade, we are going to suggets a modest win bet on the French trained Easysland at 7-2 – so there.
Back tomorrow, when we will NOT be opposing Paisley Park.
Envoi Allen 1.30 Cheltenham/Defi Du Seuil 3.30 Cheltenham 6pts win double
The Big Breakaway 1.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 10-1
Champ 2.10 Cheltenham 4pts win @ 7-2
Dame De Compagnie 2.50 Cheltenham 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (6 places)
Top Moon 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 16-1 (6 places)
Cracking Smart 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 40-1 (6 places)
Defi Du Seuil 3.30 Cheltenham 8pts win @ 11-10 (if Envoi Allen is beaten)
Easysland 4.10 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 7-2