It’s day two at Cheltenham and the big races include the RSA Chase and the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Of course, Grand National fans will be focused on the Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase, where 2018 Aintree hopeful Cause Of Causes is pitted against stablemate Bless The Wings.
1.30 pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race 2m 5f
SAMCRO is the headline act in the opening race on Ladies’ Day and understandably so. Gordon Elliott’s exciting six-year-old extended his unbeaten record to six with an eye-catching display in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last month. Bookmakers rate him an 8-11 chance to take top honours.
The Alan Spence-owned On The Blind Side, who is three from three over hurdles, having also won his bumper and a point-to-point, has not been seen out since landing a Grade Two race at Sandown in December. Nicky Henderson will be hoping his runner can lower the colours of the hot favourite.
2.10 pm RSA Steeple Chase 3m ½f
BLACK CORTON and Bryony Frost are definitely the story of the season and they could well round off their remarkable campaign together with victory in the RSA. Since setting out together in the summer, the pair have faced the starter eight times together and only met with defeat once, at Newbury in December. Monalee is also prominent in the ante-post market for the Henry de Bromhead team.
2.50 pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle 2m 5f
Paul Nicholls’ Topofthegame is an interesting type in this race and his Sandown victory last time was most impressive. The six-year-old is likely to be arriving on the premises late.
Malton trainer John Quinn quite often pops up at The Festival with a winner that most people have overlooked in the betting. One such candidate this year is the JP McManus owned PROJECT BLUEBOOK. He is entered in this, the Martin Pipe and the County Hurdle. A winner of a Grade Two hurdle at Fairyhouse’s Irish Grand National meeting last April, it could prove profitable to give him a second look.
3.30 pm Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m
ALTIOR will be bidding to stretch his unbeaten record to 13 races in this year’s Champion Chase and is regarded by many as the baker of the meeting. Ordinary World was in the process of running a great race in the Coral Dublin Chase before making a juddering mistake at the last. He could easily outrun his odds in this.
4.10 pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase 3m 6f
The 152 rated ten-year-old is naturally going to be very hard to oppose, however, his veteran stablemate BLESS THE WINGS may represent better value in the race.
The thirteen-year-old saw off several of these rivals in the December version of this race and he expertly knows how to plot his way around this course and could do it blindfolded.
4.50 pm Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap 2m 1½f
LISP trained by Alan King looks well overpriced at 20/1 to take the spoils in a very open looking Fred Winter Juvenile. After wins at Plumpton and Fontwell Lisp headed to Haydock for the Victor Ludorum Hurdle where he came a creditable third despite a serious mistake at the second last.
That was a good race by four-year-old standards with the first and second horses looking like useful yardsticks. Scottish Triumph Hurdle runner-up Act Of Valour is also of interest given Paul Nicholls’ fine record in this race.
5.30 pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m ½f
Anthony Honeyball’s ACEY MILAN looks a prime contender for the closing race on the card on Wednesday. The four-year-old has won three of his NH flat races to date, the latest in Newbury’s Listed Bumper. That came on the back of his win at the same level at Cheltenham. He looks like he should run yet another big race.
Willie Mullins’ Tornado Flyer has Hurricane Fly blood in his pedigree and will be a popular choice amongst the Irish punters in the lucky last.