It’s Altior day at Cheltenham on Wednesday, where the defending champion chaser has the chance to give himself a rating that matches his ability.
Yes, Day Two is all about the Queen Mother Champion Chase over 2m at 3.30pm on ITV. The extraordinary ALTIOR is out to add a second success in the main event to a CV which already includes Festival wins in the Supreme Novices Hurdle and Arkle Chase. He should just win.
The second day kicks off with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over 2m 5f at 1.30pm. This is a wide open contest, so I’ll have a few quid each-way on BREWIN’UPASTRORM, who was closing down Champ when fourth in the Challow at Newbury and then would have beaten Birchdale at Cheltenham last time but for falling at the last.
Richard Johnson takes the mount again and he was seething after that fall. He owes trainer Olly Murphy one!
Next up is the RSA Chase over an extended 3m at 2.10pm. I’m all over DELTA WORK and Davy Russell, who is just a genius in the saddle. Last season’s Pertemps Final hero has done nothing wrong over fences. I was at Fairyhouse when he won two outings ago and he did really well despite a mistake in the closing stages. He stays, tries and has talent. Could be one for Gordon Elliott.
There’s a cavalry charge for the Coral Cup after the RSA over 2m5f at 2.50pm. I’m guessing here, but WILLIAM HENRY has had a wind operation and is perfectly capable at this level if it has worked. The nine-year-old has run really well in this before and was fourth last year off the same mark.
It’s Tiger Roll time in the Cross Country Chase at 4.10pm as the Grand National hero returns to the 3m 6f race he won last year on the road to Aintree glory. He will take all the beating, but I’d rather back JOSIES ORDERS for a place. He was back to his best at Punchestown last time and loves it here. Should give Mark Walsh a great spin.
The penultimate race on the card is a juvenile handicap hurdle over an extended 2m at 4.50pm. LETHAL STEPS has run really well in big fields at Naas and Punchestown on his last two starts and might well enjoy the make-up of this field. Davy Russell on board is a bonus for Elliott. Could be well handicapped.
And proceedings close with the Champion Bumper over an extended 2m at 5.30pm. I love ENVOI ALLEN who has size and scope and should be a nice horse for the future. The excellent Jamie Codd rides and he can make it five wins out of five in his racing career for connections.
So once again best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?