Cheltenham day two tips: time for Chacun Pour Soi to earn overdue Champion Chase win?
It’s perhaps a day to sit back and admire the performances with four very short-priced favourites in Monkfish, Chacun Pour Soi, Easysland and Kilcruit and another bound to feature in bet permutations, Bob Olinger.
For those who prefer something a bit more challenging then the Coral Cup and Grand Annual are the races for you.
Solving the riddle of a 26 runner handicap hurdle and 20 runner handicap chase will test the old grey matter but for what it’s worth there could be some each way value in Koshari and Guard Your Dreams in the Coral Cup and Moonlighter in the Grand Annual.
Of a seven race card, six will be shown live by ITV Racing and we’ve previewed the three most significant races of the day in our latest daily Cheltenham tips.
Plenty of noted judges have nailed their colours to Bob Olinger, the Henry de Bromhead representative who will be ridden by Rachael Blackmore.
He suffered the only defeat of his career at the hands of last year’s Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow on his hurdles debut but has won both starts impressively since.
He won his maiden without breaking sweat and then on his return to a higher level, easily won a Grade 1 at Naas to establish his credentials as the one to beat here.
Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame, perhaps Paul Nicholls’s best chance of having a winner at this year’s Festival, will have their supporters.
With Ferny Hollow sidelined, Gaillard Du Mesnil carries the main Willie Mullins stable hopes, but as progressive as he has shown himself to be in two wins at Leopardstown, he looks to be one for the forecast.
Could we be seeing next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner here? That’s certainly the direction Monkfish appears to be heading in after a faultless transition to chasing this year.
The horse who scrambled home in last year’s Albert Bartlett has looked a whole different proposition over fences, winning all three starts.
In two more starts against Latest Exhibition, who he beat by a neck at Cheltenham last year, he dispatched that rival by three lengths and then 11 lengths.
Latest Exhibition hasn’t turned up for another head-to-head and there appears to be nothing of his calibre among Monkfish’s five opponents.
If there is a future superstar on display at Cheltenham this week, Monkfish could be it.
A lot rests on the shoulders of Chacun Pour Soi here, arguably the best two mile chaser in Britain or Ireland but yet to prove himself at Cheltenham.
Not only has he not won at the Festival, he’s never run there, so there is an understandable nervousness in the camp around this challenge, as he travelled over last year only to be scratched on the day of the race.
Beaten just once in all chases under Mullins, he has been sublime this year and passed his latest test in a tactical running of the Dublin Chase with flying colours. There is no reason to think he can’t do the same at Cheltenham.
With both Chacun Pour Soi and Altior missing last year, Politologue won a substandard edition and though he is back to defend his crown, he and the rest of the field do not look in the same class as the favourite.
ITV Racing Schedule, Wednesday 17th March
13:20 Cheltenham – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
13:55 Cheltenham – Brown Advisory Novices’s Chase
14:30 Cheltenham – Coral Cup
15:05 Cheltenham – Queen Mother Champion Chase
15:40 Cheltenham – Cross Country Chase
16:15 Cheltenham – Grand Annual Chase
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.