Shortlist: Cheltenham Festival 2018 – Day 2

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Baring Bingham) (Grade 1) (1) 2m5f26y – 12:30am

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 171 169 165 165 158 (Avg 166)

Betting Forecast

$1.67 Samcro, $5.5 Next Destination, $13 Black Op, $17 Duc des Genievres, $29 Vision des Flos, $51 Brahma Bull, $51 Gowiththeflow, $51 Scarpeta, $67 Mind’s Eye, $101 Ahead of The Curve, $101 Coolanly, $101 Knight In Dubai, $151 Aye Aye Charlie, $251 Diablo de Rouhet

Analyst’s Verdict

Samcro has passed every test to date with flying colours and will be very hard to beat once again. Fellow Irish raiders Next Destination and Duc des Genievres, who chased home the selection in the Deloitte, look sure to be involved in the battle for minor honours, with Black Op clear pick of the home contingent.

RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (1) 3m80y – 1:10am

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 167 170 178 167 187 (Avg 174)

Betting Forecast

$3.75 Presenting Percy, $4 Monalee, $9 Al Boum Photo, $9 Black Corton, $10 Dounikos, $13 Elegant Escape, $17 Ballyoptic, $26 Bonbon Au Miel, $51 Allysson Monterg, $81 Full Irish

Analyst’s Verdict

The Irish have a very strong hand here with both Presenting Percy and Monalee arriving on the back of career-best efforts in deep races. The former’s length second to Gold Cup hopeful Our Duke edging him the vote. Al Boum Photo and Ballyoptic are also considered.

Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (1) 2m5f26y – 1:50am

Betting Forecast

$9.5 Max Dynamite, $11 William Henry, $15 Le Breuil, $17 Topofthegame, $19 Burbank, $19 Mount Mews, $19 Voix du Reve, $26 Barra, $26 Diamond King, $26 Red Indian, $26 River Frost, $26 Royal Vacation, $26 Springtown Lake, $29 Fixe Le Kap, $29 Stowaway Magic, $29 The Organist, $34 As You Were, $34 Bleu Berry, $34 C’est Jersey, $34 Flemcara, $34 Mischievious Max, $41 Abbyssial, $41 Bastien, $41 Dusky Legend, $41 Graceful Legend, $41 Jeannot de Nonant, $500 Kildisart

Analyst’s Verdict

In a typically-competitive renewal, it could be worth chancing Voix du Reve, who looked very likely to land the Fred Winter here 2 years ago (travelling best when fell last) and may have bounced after an encouraging return in December. William Henry is feared most after his Lanzarote victory last time, whilst Mount Mews, Topofthegame and Max Dynamite are also much respected.

Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (1) 1m7f199y – 2:30am

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 203 177 172 183 175 (Avg 182)

Betting Forecast

$2.38 Altior, $4 Douvan, $5 Min, $11 Politologue, $34 Special Tiara, $51 Charbel, $81 Ar Mad, $81 God’s Own, $126 Ordinary World

Analyst’s Verdict

Altior looked as good as ever when returning from wind surgery to beat Politologue in the Game Spirit and can extend his unbeaten chase record to 8. Douvan would be more than capable of mixing it with Nicky Henderson’s charge at his best but he hasn’t been seen since a tame run in this race last year and a bigger threat may emerge from stablemate Min, even though Ruby Walsh sides with the former.

Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country) (2) 3¾m37y – 3:10am

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 164 163 158 157 168 (Avg 162)

Betting Forecast

$4.5 Cause of Causes, $7.5 The Last Samuri, $8 Tiger Roll, $8.5 Josies Orders, $10 Auvergnat, $10 Bless The Wings, $17 Cantlow, $21 Urgent de Gregaine, $29 Hurricane Darwin, $51 Beeves, $51 Federici, $51 Saint Are, $51 Vicomte du Seuil, $81 Chic Name, $81 Urumqi, $126 Belamix Dor

Analyst’s Verdict

To say that Cause of Causes comes alive at this meeting would be a gross understatement, and following last year’s ready win in this race, he is selected to make it a remarkable fourth Festival win in a row. The Last Samuri is the pick at the weights so is a huge threat if taking to this discipline at the first time of asking, with Josies Orders perhaps the pick of the Enda Bolger trio.

Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (1) 2m87y – 3:50am

Betting Forecast

$8.5 Act of Valour, $9 Nube Negra, $13 Mitchouka, $15 Lisp, $15 Style de Garde, $17 Esprit de Somoza, $17 Look My Way, $17 The King of May, $23 Eragon de Chanay, $23 Oxford Blu, $26 Casa Tall, $26 Padleyourowncanoe, $29 Embole, $29 Turning Gold, $29 Veneer of Charm, $34 Grand Sancy, $34 Knight Destroyer, $34 Solo Saxophone, $41 Eureu du Boulay, $41 Mercenaire, $51 bar

Analyst’s Verdict

Lisp shaped very well when third in the Victor Ludorum at Haydock last time, and would have gone close but for a late blunder. He appeals as the sort to excel in a big-field handicap scenario such as this, and remains capable of better. However, the list of dangers is extensive, headed by Act of Valour, Nube Negra and The King of May.

Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Standard Open National Hunt Flat) (Grade 1) (1) 2m87y – 4:30am

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 146 139 138 139 138 (Avg 140)

Betting Forecast

$6 Blackbow, $9 Acey Milan, $9 Felix Desjy, $10 Rhinestone, $13 Carefully Selected, $13 Didtheyleaveuoutto, $13 Tornado Flyer, $23 Know The Score, $29 Crooks Peak, $34 Relegate, $34 The Big Bite, $34 Thebannerkingrebel, $41 Colreevy, $51 bar

Analyst’s Verdict

Plenty of unknown quantities as usual, but the one that makes most appeal is the progressive 4-y-o Acey Milan, who is the pick on form and should relish the stiff finish. It often pays to follow Willie Mullins, the leading trainer in this race with 8 wins, with Blackbow and Tornado Flyer making most appeal of his quintet.


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