Yesterdays racing was dominated by two trainers, Henderson and De Bromhead. To kick off the day, luckless Shiskin put in a stellar performance to beat the Irish raider Abracadrbras. Everything went wrong for him, yet sheer class prevailed and once he arrived at the last, he always looked sure to get up.
Arkles are never easily won and this year was no different, Put The Kettle On caused quite the upset by claiming victory over Fakir D’oudairies. Once again, the mare's allowance had a major effect on a race and such was also the case with the Champion Hurdle.
Mares are given an allowance of 7lbs over their gelding counterparts and it is showing up as a major advantage, especially on soft ground. Epatante was well backed and provided JP McManus with a 4th Champion Hurdle success in as many years. Sharjah travelled powerfully throughout but was unable to live with the finishing kick of the worthy winner.
Today’s card has four short priced favourites going to post with the exciting Envoi Allen heading the field in the Ballymore and the course specialist Defi Du Seuil seeking three festival wins on the trot.
Cheltenham Tips, Day Two:
RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m80y Going: Soft
Minella Indo heads the market in what is a strong renewal of the RSA. His gutsy performance in last year’s Albert Bartlett demonstrates that he is a thorough stayer and will relish underfoot conditions. Rachael Blackmore will be reacquainted with him and his previous run in Navan has been well advertised by the second placed horse. Many of the horses going to post have taken each other on in novice hurdles with Allaho finishing behind Minella Indo in the Albert Bartlett and Easy Game finishing well behind Champ in last year’s Ballymore.
Allaho and Easy Game’s form ties in directly and both will certainly see out this trip quite well. Paul Townend has chosen Allaho as his mount and this demonstrates that he is the favoured of the two.
Colin Tizzard sends two to post with the fast-improving Copperhead shorter in the betting than his stablemate Slate House who has Grade 1 winning course form. Both are not without their chances, but it looks like Barry Geragthy and Henderson will yet again team up to supply the winner. Champ has been laid out all year for this race and will relish this step up in distance. His fall last time out can focus his attention and he will give his trainer a third victory in this race.
Selection: Champ (WIN)
Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m87y Going: Soft
Willie Mullins has an outstanding record in the bumper and has won three of the last eight renewals. Appreciate it will start as warm favourite and has been one of the most tipped horses in the lead up to Cheltenham. Generally, when Mullins has a good one in the bumper it will be bang there at the finish. However, there are several unexposed horses that could spring a surprise, Panic Attack has changed stables recently to David Pipe’s and he won the race with a similarly unexposed Moon Racer in 2015.
It pays to look for value as not all runners will be suited by the going. Darling Daughter has a number of positives to her name, she is very well bred, will relish underfoot conditions and will receive the mare’s allowance of 5lb from the favourite. A big run is expected, and she is most certainly the value bet of the race.
Selection: Darling Daughter (EW)
Selections for the Day
1.30: The Big Breakaway 15/2 EW
2.10: Champ 4/1 WIN
2.50: Dame De Compagnie 9/2 WIN
3.30: Defi De Seuil 4/11 WIN
4.10: Tiger Roll 4/6 WIN
4.50: Zoffee 20/1 EW
5.30: Darling Daughter 16/1 EW