THE RETURN MATCH

THE RETURN MATCH
March 16, 2022 Lee Bolingbroke

Centrepiece of Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival is the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at 3.30 which will see Shishkin and Energumene lock horns again, after their epic battle in the Clarence House at Ascot at the end of January.

Shishkin came out on top that day and, with this course much better suited to its run style, we expect the same result this afternoon.

So too, unfortunately, do the bookmakers and at 5-6 we are content to watch the Henderson superstar strut its stuff. No bet.

Action commences with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 1.30, which has another odds-on favourite, name of Sir Gerhard.

This one we are prepared to take on with the Henry & Rachel runner Journey With Me, which is available at 6-1.

This 6-y-o has an outstanding piece of form from December when thrashing Minella Crooner and Kilcruit at Leopardstown, since when the son of Mahler has cruised to victory at Naas last month in preparation for today. Trip and ground should be perfect and a decent each way bet is suggested.

At 2.10, the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase has brought together a plethora of top quality youngsters from both sides of the Irish Sea, but our eye is drawn to L’Homme Presse.

The fragrant Venetia‘s 7-y-o is 4-4 over fences, improving a stone plus each time and culminating in a 21 length destruction of its rivals in a Grade 1 at Sandown. Stepping up to 3 miles for the first time today may well eke out even more improvement, in which event, it will win. Take the 4-1 on offer.

Now we come to the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle at 2.50 which usually is a case of trying to spot which of the Irish trained runners has been most expertly laid out. Luckily, there are only 15 to choose from and our trusty pin has landed on Drop The Anchor and Fastorslow as the two to be with. Have an each way bet on both at 15-2 and 18-1 respectively.

The remaining televised ‘race’ is one of those Cross Country affairs and doubtless there won’t be a dry eye in the house if Tiger Roll triumphs, but regular readers will be aware of the anathema felt about these races and not be surprised that we swerve with a capital S.

More of a betting day tomorrow, so see you then.

Summary:

Journey With Me 1.30 Cheltenham 1.5pts e/w @ 6-1 (Ladbrokes/bet365)

L’Homme Presse 2.10 Cheltenham 3pts win @ 4-1

Drop The Anchor 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (7 places)

Fastorslow 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (7 places)

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