Cheltenham tips: Best bets for day two of the Festival
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13.30 – Novices’ Hurdle
I simply can’t see how any of this field are going to beat SAMCRO .
He’s one of the most impressive novices of recent times with a perfect six from six, and I firmly expect him to add another Grade 1 to his collection.
However, our money-back offer on the first race means you might as well take him on, and I’m going to do so with BRAHMA BULL .
Trained by Willie Mullins, this seven-year-old is also unbeaten with four from four, including a National Hunt flat race on debut and a victory by 11 lengths in a maiden hurdle at Thurles.
He’s certainly a nice each-way shout.
14.10 – Novices’ Chase
I really like the chances of BLACK CORTON here to give Bryony Frost another Cheltenham memory following Pacha Du Polder’s win last year.
The talented jockey has grabbed the attention of the racing world during the last few months and has a fantastic record on this horse – winning seven from a possible eight with the exception a second place to Elegant Escape.
A brilliant jumping performance to win the Kauto Star Chase on Boxing Day was then followed up with an eight-length victory over yesterday’s runner-up Ms Parfois at Ascot last month.
Proven to stay and with the best form in the race, he looks a huge price.
14.50 – Coral Cup
Given we’re offering six places in the first big handicap of the day, I have two fancies here.
The first of those is MOUNT MEWS who finished a respectable third to Black Corton at Ascot last time out.
The seven-year-old has a decent record with six wins, three seconds and two thirds from 12 runs and has won on both soft and heavy ground.
With the trusty Brian Hughes already riding a winner this week, I think he’s a good shout to get another here.
The other one I like is MISCHIEVIOUS MAX for Joseph O’Brien.
Despite a poor run last time out, his form prior to that was excellent (121-222), including a runner-up spot on this course in the Intermediate Handicap Hurdle.
I’m a massive fan of JJ Slevin and tipped him last year on board the big-priced Champagne Classic.
The six-year-old is well-handicapped and, with Slevin’s 3lb claim, he’s a big each-way punt.
15.30 – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
I was there last year when Douvan finished a remarkable seventh as a 1/4 favourite and, with his long-absence, I don’t think he’ll threaten here.
That’s purely because I can’t see anyone getting close to ALTIOR .
He’s won his last 12 in a row and his jumping to beat Politologue last month at Newbury was simply majestic.
A two-time Festival winner after easing to the Arkle last year and destroying Min in the Supreme the year before, he looks a banker.
16.10 – Cross Country Chase
In one of the most exciting races of the year, I reckon last year’s winner CAUSE OF CAUSES can retain his crown.
The 10-year-old absolutely loves Cheltenham with victories at the last three Festivals, including a nine-length demolition here 12 months ago.
A valiant second in the Grand National proves there’s no problem with his stamina, so it looks like ‘The Coddfather’ could be in line for another huge victory.
16.50 – Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle
This is tough one to call but I’ll plump for another from Gordon Elliott’s yard in MITCHOUKA .
He comfortably won his last two at Fairyhouse on soft ground, so the conditions here should suit him nicely.
In good form and with the impressive Davy Russell on board, he’s a good each-way bet.
17.30 – Champion Bumper
In the final race of the day, I really like the chances of Anthony Honeyball’s ACEY MILAN .
After finishing second on debut, the four-year-old has responded emphatically with three wins on the bounce.
A course-and-distance win by 3¾ lengths on New Year’s Day in a Listed flat race was then bettered with an 11-length victory at Newbury last month.
He’s won on both soft and heavy ground, so conditions are in his favour, and he’s also nicely handicapped at 10-11.