Cheltenham Tips: Mick Fitzgerald’s Day Two best bets for Cheltenham 2022

Mick's back after bagging FIVE winners on Day 1.

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Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (13:30) – Journey With Me

A lot will depend on how much rain we get and that may have an effect on Sir Gerhard’s chances. He will have a lot more time over this 2m 5f trip to get on the right stride as his jumping was hit and miss when he won at Leopardstown. He looked like he got outstayed at Punchestown last Spring over 2m and that would be just a little concern for me.

When he quickened away from Kilcruit last year at Cheltenham, he was clinging on in the end. If the rain comes, Journey With Me will really come into his own. He is a very strong stayer, he is relatively unexposed, looked really good when winning his two races this season and he represents the connections that won this last year with Bob Olinger. Stage Star had the clock watchers cooing after his win in the Challow Hurdle and has to be respected.

Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (14:10) – Ahoy Senor

I love Bravemansgame but I am struggling to erase the memory of him been beaten at last year‘s Festival. He got very warm before the start of the Ballymore Hurdle and I felt he definitely compromised his chance. With the big crowds returning this year, it might be too much for him.

There is no doubt about his ability plus his jumping prowess. One horse that we also have slight concerns over is Ahoy Senor. He is a strong stayer as he showed when winning at Aintree last year. He has missed one or two in his races this season, but he didn’t really handle conditions at Kempton.  If his jumping holds up he will be a player.

L’Homme Presse is a very good jumper. He has been impressive in his races this season and the step up in trip to three miles is interesting. He has not shaped like he needs it, but it could make him hard to beat with his slick jumping. I am taking a punt on Ahoy Senor not making many mistakes and winning this.

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Coral Cup Hurdle (14:50) – Good Risk At All

Good Risk At All needs one of the others to drop out to get a run. Let’s hope that is the case because he jumped super last time at Ascot. He took a bit of a hike up the weights but as it turned out, it wasn’t enough of a hike to get an automatic place in the line-up!

He was a very good bumper horse last season and is still handicapped to win off his present mark. If he does not get in then Camprond is of real interest for trainer Philip Hobbs. He was fourth in the Greatwood Hurdle at the track in November and stepping up from two miles to this trip will really suit. He is the one, if Sam Thomas’ charge does not get in.

 

Champion Chase (15:30) – Shishkin

I have never hidden my affection for Shishkin and he had to be really brave at Ascot in the Clarence House to beat Energumene. He got on top near the finish and he is a strong stayer. He has won an Arkle Chase over the course and distance plus a Supreme Novices Hurdle. Energumene is the choice of Paul Townend and it would have been a major surprise to me if he had chosen Chacun Pour Soi instead. Willie Mullins has always said he would always favour Chacun in Ireland, but in his two runs in the UK, he has been found wanting. Shishkin will get it done.

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Cross Country Chase (16:10) – Delta Work

Tiger Roll could be the story of the week and it would be a hell of a reception for him were he to win. He is a legend having won this race previously on three occasions and finishing runner-up in 2020. He has also won a Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham. His record at the track is impressive and throw in his two Grand National wins and wow, what a horse! There are no easy rides here though and Delta Work could spoil the party. His last 15 runs have been in Grade Ones! He is just the sort that could thrive.

Grand Annual Chase (16:50) – Sky Pirate (each way)

I was all for tipping Before Midnight but I went back and watched the race that he won at Cheltenham and I couldn’t help but notice that Sky Pirate was six lengths behind him and is now 15lbs better off. Throw in the fact that Sky Pirate won this race last year off and is only 4lb higher in the ratings and he has to be of interest again at an each-way price.

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Champion Bumper (17:30) – Facile Vega

This is always tough and Willie Mullins has seven entries but there was never any doubt that Patrick Mullins would ride anything other than Facile Vega. The one he is most afraid of is stablemate Redemption Day and it wouldn’t be a surprise to him if there was not much between them at the line. Facile Vega looked so good at Leopardstown it’s hard to not go for him. American Mike from Gordon Elliot’s stable is very strongly fancied and this looks like it is heading to the Irish as usual.

    Mick Fitzgerald’s Tips

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