ONE day down, but still three to go as we try and take some Cheltenham cash off those horrible bookies.
Wednesday at Cheltenham is all about the Champion Chase at 3.30pm, and I can’t tell you how gutted I am Altior is not in the field. I got Paddy Power shop punters a great deal on him and I fully expected the Nicky Henderson-trained start to hack up. So gutted.
As Altior is out, I will switch to DEFI DU SEUIL over Chacun Pour Soi. Trained by the master Philip Hobbs, Defi has crucial Festival experience and is better than ever this season. He has two powerful weapons in a turn of speed and stamina, and I would think Barry Geraghty will just stalk and pounce. I spoke to AP McCoy on Tuesday and he feels he will take all the beating as well.
Chacun Pour Soi could of course be very good for the champion of Ireland Willie Mullins, but he lacks experience for the Cheltenham Festival. A small field will help him in that area.
- Ruby Walsh’s Cheltenham Festival Cheat Sheet
- Frank Hickey’s 3 horses he fancies who are well handicapped
- Paul Jacobs 4 value plays to save the day
- 5 Irish runners to back at the Festival
Day 2 kicks off with the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs at 1.30pm. It does not take a genius to work out Envoi Allen will take all the beating, but I will have a few quid on THE BIG BREAKAWAY each-way.
He’s a lovely chaser in the making for Colin Tizzard, and has looked good at both Chepstow and Newbury. Mentally he’s not all there yet, but he’s got a mighty engine.
The 2.10pm is the RSA Novices’ Chase, a Grade 1 over an extended three miles. Champ has strong claims, but again I will be eachway with the Tizzard runner here in COPPERHEAD. He really excited me at Ascot last time where he jumped and stayed strong in the Reynoldstown Chase. He’s a proper chaser.
As always the Coral Cup is a bit of a nightmare over 2m 5f at 2.50pm. The one that interests me each-way at a big price is CHAMPAGNE WELL, trained by Fergal O’Brien with a bit of seconditis.
Champagne Well drops back in trip a little bit and with the exuberance and enthusiasm of a novice might do a bit better than his price suggests!
It should all get a lot easier at 4.10pm with the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase featuring the dual Grand National hero TIGER ROLL.
Quite simply he’s the best horse in the race for Gordon Elliott and should hack up under Keith Donoghue. if you want an each-way player look at French challenger Urgent de Gregaine.
It’s the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at 4.50pm, and it’s not easy to sort out! My feeling is that the Elliott challenger TRONADOR is going to be suited by a big field, as he was when scoring at Thurles and when fourth at Leopardstown in December. I’m hoping for a late thrust!
And finally the Weatherbys Champion Bumper is upon us at 5.30pm over about two miles and all eyes here on APPRECIATE IT. He’s considered hard to beat by the champion of Ireland Willie Mullins and has his excellent son, Patrick on board. Two wins at Leopardstown have suggested that this galloping son of Jeremy is very useful indeed.
So best of luck again and let’s give Paddy a day to forget. You hear me Paddy?
*Prices and entries are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change.