After a thrilling first day at the Cheltenham Festival we’re on to Day Two at Prestbury Park, which includes Tiger Roll in the Cross Country and Defi Du Seuil v Chacun Pour Soi in the Champion Chase.
We’re primed and ready for another rip-roaring afternoon in the Cotswolds. And you can enjoy it all live on ITV and Racing TV with the help of our Cheltenham Tips…
13:30 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Envoi Allen (NAP)
It’s hard to see past Envoi Allen in the opener. Gordon Elliott’s charge won the Champion Bumper last term and has made a seamless transition to obstacles, racking up three wins from three over hurdles.
That includes a pair of taking successes in Grade 1 company over 2m and 2m 4f, with the way he quickened towards the line last time out at Naas before being eased down suggesting that 2m 5f should be no problem.
He has a huge engine and we think there’s plenty more to come from the Cheveley Park-owned gelding, who should take all the beating in this.
14:10 – The RSA – Minella Indo
We’ve been sweet on Champ for a while. But his novice chase campaign has not been quite as straightforward as it might have been. That’s why we’re siding with last year’s Albert Bartlett winner Minella Indo instead.
The selection sprung a 50/1 shock at the Festival last year. He’s proved that was no fluke with two more subsequent victories at 3m, including at Navan in January, to take his record to 4/5 over the distance.
This looks like the perfect test for Henry De Bromhead’s runner, who possesses both pace and the ability to stay. And with conditions also set to suit, it’s hard to look past the seven-year-old against the field.
14:50 – Coral Cup – Champagne Well
Trying to find the winner of the Coral Cup is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But Champagne Well is one who we think can run a decent race at a nice price for Fergal O’Brien.
The seven-year-old has not been disgraced in Graded company this term, which usually bodes well in this competitive 2m 5f renewal, while he’s a course and distance winner from the Showcase Meeting too.
He’s dropped back to this distance for the first time since that run, and off a relatively attractive mark of 141, should give a good account with Paddy Brennan on board.
15:30 – Champion Chase – Defi Du Seuil (NB)
With Altior a notable absentee, this should come down to a straight battle between Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil. We’ve run the rule over the pair of them here, with the latter our pick to record a memorable win.
Philip Hobbs’ charge has impressed this season with victories in the Tingle Creek and the Clarence House. Yet it’s his Cheltenham record of six wins from eight, plus a pair of Festival successes, that makes him so attractive.
This is Defi’s playground. And while Chacun may have beaten him at Punchestown last year, that was at the end of a long season for the selection, who can reverse that form on the Irish challenger’s first run in the UK.
16:10 – Cross Country – Tiger Roll
Can anyone stop Tiger from roaring to an incredible fifth Festival success? It’s difficult to make an argument they can, as Gordon Elliott’s star goes for a hat-trick in the Cross Country on his way to the Grand National.
Last month’s return in the Boyne Hurdle should leave him spot on for this, and if he’s in top working order as we are led to believe, it’s difficult to see a way in which he gets beat.
Top French performer Easysland will give him most to think about, although David Cottin’s runner – now in the famous green and gold of J.P. McManus – still has plenty to find on the favourite.
16:50 – Boodles Handicap Hurdle – Blacko (Lively Longshot)
Six of the last eight winners of the Boodles have come at 33/1, 33/1, 25/1, 33/1, 25/1 and 40/1. So we’ve looked down the field and picked out the progressive Blacko at what should be a nice price.
The four-year-old has won on both starts for Alan King, with a prominent ride and a strong jumping performance ahead of smart-looking The Pink’n at Warwick last time suggesting he may enjoy this test.
He looks ideally suited to the demands of a big field Handicap and has a lively each-way chance.
17:30 – Champion Bumper – Queens Brook
The Irish have developed a taste for the Champion Bumper in the last few seasons. Messrs Mullins and Elliott have won it each of the last three years, and the latter could be set to make it four with Queens Brook.
Our selection produced an emphatic performance to win by 21l on debut and should enjoy the testing conditions under top amateur Jamie Codd, who has partnered Elliott on his last two wins in the race.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication