Cheltenham Tips: Matt Chapman’s best bets for Wednesday at the 2022 Festival

Ding, ding, round two!

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13:30 Sir Gerhard

Day 2 of Cheltenham 2022 gets under way with the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over 2m5f. I can’t see a shock here. SIR GERHARD would have had a huge chance in the Supreme for Willie Mullins and this looks easier. There is a slight doubt about stamina, but the bumper winner from last year has looked a smart prospect this season and there is a good chance his jumping – which has been a little iffy from time to time – will be better at a slightly slower gallop over a longer trip. Won a point to point over three miles and should be very hard to beat under Paul Townend.

14:10 Bravemansgame

Another Grade 1 here in the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase over an extended 3m. Many will point to the fact BRAVEMANSGAME was only third behind Bob Olinger at last year’s Festival when disappointing in the Ballymore. However, he’s come into his own over fences and just looks a natural. Stamina does not seem to me an issue and he’s already a Grade 1 winner this term when defeating Ahoy Senor at Kempton. Sure to be hard to beat for the champion Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden.

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14:50 Gowel Road (each way)

A Grade 3 handicap hurdle now over 2m5f. This is wide open. I’m having a few quid eachway on GOWEL ROAD for Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies. My selection gave a stone and a beating to Unexpected Party earlier in the season and because that horse has done well since now only have to concede 3lb. Since that victory Gowel Road has been beaten over 2m at Newbury and Lingfield. But he’s back to his Cheltenham winning distance here and might surprise a few people at decent odds.

15:30 Shishkin

The big one. The Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase over 2m. This won’t take long as I have long banked on SHISHKIN to come out on top from the days he was odds against. Nothing this season has changed my mind, and the delay to the campaign is probably to his advantage. The Nicky Henderson runner is already a Supreme and Arkle here at Cheltenham and I think he will come up the hill too strongly for the others under Nico de Boinville.

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16:10 Diesel D’Allier (each way)

Time for the funny fences here in the Cross Country Chase over 3m6f. If the big guns perform here then my selection will struggle, but I’m still going to risk DIESEL D’ALLIER eachway for Richard Bandey and Harry Banister. He has a mountain to climb on ratings with the likes of Tiger Roll, Delta Work, Brahma Bull and Easysland, but there are reasons why all of those might run below form and my hope will bring something to the table. A good winner over these fences last time and at a good age to maintain his form.

16:50 Thyme White (each way)

Another handicap chase here in the Grand Annual Challenge Cup over 2m. This is tricky! THYME WHITE really came good over fences at Doncaster last time and has eachway claims for Paul Nicholls and Bryony Frost. My hope has run in a Boodles and County Hurdle before, and was not disgraced off 141 when ninth in a Hurdle at Newbury. He’s 142 here so if he’s finally coming good the handicap mark might be workable. Should be able to sit just off what is sure to be a strong gallop.

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17:30 James’ Gate

Finally the Grade 1 Champion Bumper over an extended 2m. A bit of a guessing game. Cleary Facile Vega and American Mike both look very good. I’m chancing JAMES’S GATE for Willie Mullins and Sean O’Keeffe. The Shantou gelding looked good when hacking up at Punchestown on debut and he might be good enough – he might not! Ditched by Patrick Mullins.

So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas. You hear me Paddy?

Cheltenham Festival Tips today

13:30 Sir Gerhard
14:10 Bravemansgame
14:50 Gowel Road (each way)
15:30 Shishkin
16:10 Diesel D’Allier (each way)
16:50 Thyme White (each way)
17:30 James’ Gate

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