The Cheltenham Festival – Day Two Preview

It was an enthralling opening day of The Cheltenham Festival, now it’s time for Ladies Day!

Here is our race by race preview, don’t forget to view all of the fantastic offers from our betting partners at the bottom of the page!

1:30 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle

Gordon Elliot’s unbeaten novice Samcro is a strong favourite to take the opening race on Ladies Day, especially on the back of a convincing display at Leopardstown last month. Yet to go off odds against, there is a belief that this is just the start ahead of future Championship race challenges.

Willie Mullins’ Next Destination has been victorious in trials at Navan and Naas, and history is in favour of the six-year-old given that the race has seen seven Irish winners in the last 11 years.

The best each-way shout could be Vision de Flos, who is likely to be suited to the heavy ground. His stable is in fine form and he was impressive in poor conditions at Exeter last time out.

2:10 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase

The Bryony Frost/Black Corton combination has been breath-taking since last summer, and the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase winner on Boxing Day is more than ready for a first stab at The Festival after consecutive triumphs at the course at the end of 2017.

Monalee arrives in good form after beating race rivals Al Boum Photo and Dounikos in the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown and he will look to go one better after being pipped to the Albert Bartlett Hurdle by Penhill last year.

Presenting Percy is set to go off as favourite having won three in five this season, and last year’s Pertemps Network Final winner could provide Patrick Kelly with another winner.

2:50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

No favourites have triumphed in the Coral Cup for over a decade, and this year’s renewal is as wide open as ever.

Max Dynamite is the bookies’ favourite with two placed finishes in the Melbourne Cup in the past, while Lanzarote Hurdle winner William Henry is also expected to challenge.

Topofthegame was a Grade 3 winner at Sandown last time out, with Ruth Jefferson’s Mount Mews also looking like an attractive handicap over testing ground.

3:30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

Providing he starts at 100%, Altior is the one to beat on the back of a sensational unbeaten run. He has the opportunity to build on victories in the Arkle Chase and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in the last two years, but comes up against some stern opposition here.

Special Tiara is back to defend his crown after his triumph in last year’s race, whilst Min arrives in form after winning the Coral Dublin Chase.

But the one who could pose the biggest threat to Altior is Politologue, who was four lengths behind the former at Newbury last month.

Since a fourth-place finish in the JLT Novice’s Chase last year, the French superstar has gone from strength to strength, including a comprehensive Tingle Creek victory.

4:10 Glenfarclas Chase

2017 winner Cause of Causes was second in the Grand National behind One for Arthur and goes off as favourite for this one despite just one outing since Aintree last April.

Josies Orders has plenty of experience at Cheltenham and won this race two years ago, while The Last Samuri is also a former National runner-up and was only defeated by Blaklion at Aintree in December.

4:50 Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Paul Nicholls’ Act of Valour began the season in fine form at Newcastle before an underwhelming showing in the bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster at the back end of 2017.

Style de Garde has the potential to shine in an unexposed field, while the overall form of Nube Negra represents one of the more classier juveniles.

5:30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

Willie Mullins unbeaten Blackbow impressed when landing a Grade 2 at Leopardstown last month. He should keep improving over the next couple of years and the yard has done well in previous Champion Bumper races.

Rhinestone was just behind Blackbow in second in February and JP McManus’ five-year-old will be hopeful of impressing in a first outing at Cheltenham, while Acey Milan’s ability to handle difficult conditions should stand him in good stead.

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by Matt Gibbs at Rewards4Racing

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