Brendan Duke’s Day Two dispatch and Day Three picks from the Festival

Our man on the ground, Brendan Duke, has a bit of a muddled head due to a combination of good grub and better company...

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Cloudy in more ways than one here today.

My head is a little muddled. Through a combination of good grub and better company the night got away from me ever so slightly. Dinner was provided by the good people at ‘113’. Have always been a little wary of places that go by a number. A painful incident from my youth involving a 7-11 slush puppy has proven difficult to forget. Initial impressions of ‘113’ weren’t filling me with optimism. A little too warm and noisy. My fears proved unfounded though.

They served up a savage feed.

Having to queue outside the Beehive wasn’t ideal either. Turns out they didn’t know who I was. Hard to believe I know. We didn’t have to wait long though and a few drinks with fellow race fans is always a tonic for the soul. I’m in good spirits and hopeful heading into day two.

Head over to PaddyPower.com for the latest betting on the 2018 Cheltenham Festival

The Irish banker goes in and all is right with the world. The packed stands cleared their voices as the spectre of Samcro loomed up on the home bend. A deafening roar carried him up the hill. The area in front of the stands resembled Cape Canaveral with hats, papers and scarves launched skywards as the phenom crossed the line.

Glorious scenes. Oh baby. If Samcro was deafening, Altior was ear-splitting. His tendency to hit flat spots, particularly on this course, lends the horse a Houdini quality. With three to jump a hush fell over the crowd. They needn’t have worried and as the faithful saw the final lock being unpicked approaching the last they rose to him as a man.

Well, not quite to a man. The rails bookmakers took down their boards before the race. They are surely close to hoisting the white flag after it. Between Topofthegame and Carefully Selected things could be going better. They will. On to tomorrow.

Race 1: JLT Novices Chase – 13:30

Terrefort should relish the testing ground. His victory over Cyrname at Sandown is probably the best form on offer here.

Race 2: Pertemps Handicap Hurdle – 14:10

Very difficult race. Marginal preference is for A Great View. A repeat of his Leopardstown second should see him go close.

Race 3: Ryanair Chase – 14:50

Frodon is proven on the track in heavy ground. His handicap romp earlier in the season was paid a handsome compliment in the Ultima on Tuesday. I greatly fear win-machine Un De Sceaux so will play Frodon in the betting w/o market.

Race 4: Stayers Hurdle – 15:30

The rain will prove challenging for Supasundae. I think he’s a better horse this year though and will cope.

Race 5: Brown Advisory Plate – 16:10

Last Goodbye put up one of the handicap performances of the season at Leopardstown. The handicapper was watching but with festival form in the bag and the ground no issue expect a big run.

Race 6: Mare’s Novices Hurdle – 16:50

Cut The Mustard could just be coming to herself and looks a viable each-way play against her short-priced stable mate.

Race 7: Kim Muir Handicap Hurdle – 17:30

This race promises to set up perfectly for Final Nudge. Forgive his latest run. Has a massive chance, based on his Welsh National run.

Head over to PaddyPower.com for the latest betting on the 2018 Cheltenham Festival

What do you think?