Thursday’s ITV Racing Tips: Six live races from Chester and Worcester
It's Ladies' Day at the Chester May Festival and, while racing continues to be held…
Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival features the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the 2021 event takes place on Wednesday 17th March. What are the other betting tips for the second day of the Festival?
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The opener on Day 2 is a cracker. The Ballymore Novices Hurdle ran over 2m4f and arguably the three best novice hurdlers this season all take on each other here which is great to see. Bravemansgame represents the Paul Nicholls and we all know the horse is held in very high regard by connections. He is going to be some chaser next season I have no doubt but I do worry about the substance to his hurdles form this season and I’m happy to take him on on this occasion.
The one for me is BOB OLINGER NAP (15/8 with Betfred). I think this horse is a serious tool and he appears to be going from strength to strength with each run. On his first run this season he finished second to Ferny Hollow over the 2m distance but the pair pulled way clear of the third that day and Ferny Hollow is obviously a Grade 1 animal himself. Bob Olinger then stepped up to what looks his optimum trip of 2m4f where he won a maiden hurdle before going on to comfortably win the Grade 1 Lawlor of Naas Novices Hurdle last time out in pretty decisive manor. I like that De Bromhead decided to skip the Dublin Racing Festival and keep Bob Olinger fresh for this. I rate him the nap of the week as touched on in the Antepost preview earlier in the season.
Selection: BOB OLINGER NAP (15/8 with Betfred)
The 1:55 race from Cheltenham is the 3m Novice Chase and we have seen some fine winners of this race over the years. Many Gold Cup winners win this the year below Gold Cup glory and that may well be the case this year too.
I think MONKFISH (4/9 with Bet Victor) is the best staying novice chaser we’ve seen for a long time. He is getting better and better with every run and is just a natural over the larger obstacles. He obvious won the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle here at Cheltenham last season so we all knew he was a classy individual back then. However, he looks even better over fences. His jumping has been really slick and efficient and if he runs to the form he’s been showing in Ireland, I think he’ll win this and win it well. Really hard to look past him with only 5 runners taken him on.
Selection: Monkfish (no bet)
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Next up, is the competitive Coral Cup ran over 2m4f. They always go a serious gallop in this contest and you need your horse to be able to hold it’s position on the early stages and obviously jump well as one mistake is likely to ruin their chances given the nature of the race. 2m form can be a positive as it often proves to suit the speedier sorts more than the stamina specialists.
The one I have landed on is KOSHARI EW (17/2 with William Hill) for the Willie Mullins team. He really caught the eye last time out at Leopardstown and went into many notebooks I’m sure. He was held up off a strong pace and he was doing all his best work at the end of the race despite making an early mistake. He won a maiden hurdle prior to that run on his first run for nearly three years and I suspect this has been the target for quite some time. I imagine the strong pace will suit and I have no concerns about him on the ground. He could well be up to winning a race of this nature off this current mark and he’s a good each way bet in my opinion.
Selection: KOSHARI EW (17/2 with William Hill)
The feature on Day 2 is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a personal favourite of mine, you can’t beat watching the top chasers strut their stuff over 2m at a strong pace. Red hot favourite is Chacun Pour Soi and he has done everything right this season. He is a worthy market leader but at a shade of odds on, I’m happy to look elsewhere given the fact Willie Mullins has yet to win this race and the horse has never ran here at Cheltenham.
The one for me is NUBE NEGRA EW (8/1 with William Hill). The Skelton team can’t do a lot wrong recently and I don’t think his win at Kempton over Christmas in the Desert Orchid Chase was a fluke at all. He travelled powerfully on ground that would have been soft enough for him and he picked up well after the last to win pretty easily in trust be told. I like that he’s been kept fresh since that run in December as he’s always run his best races when fresh. Skelton talked about how much the horse has strengthened up over the winter and I think he can sneak into this coming from off the strong pace and really serve it up to the jolly in the home straight. Another good each-way bet.
Selection: NUBE NEGRA EW (8/1 with William Hill)
The great Cross Country Chase is next up and hopefully, we get to see Tiger Roll run a decent race as it could well be the last time we see him on a racetrack. He has been a fantastic servant to our sport and I wish him well but sadly it appears age is finally catching up with the legend.
The one for me has to be EASYSLAND NB (5/6 with Bet Victor). Comfortably the best horse in the race on ratings he was mightily impressive when destroying the field in this race last season. If he returns to anywhere near that form he won’t be beaten. His run in November was underwhelming over course and distance but the ground would have been quick enough for him on what was his reappearance run. Trainer David Cottin has always been working towards this day with him and I expect he’ll be at peak fitness and ready to defend his crown.
Selection: EASYSLAND (5/6 with Bet Victor)
The 4:15 race is the Grand Annual handicap Chase over 2m. Another race where they’ll go off at a hectic pace from flag fall and you can guarantee that there will be plenty of market movers on the day. Joseph O’Brien holds a strong hand in what is a wide open betting market and I’m sure the money will come for at least one of his.
However, the one I like is SKY PIRATE EW (15/2 with bet365). Sky Pirate may not have much room for error off his current handicap mark but there is no denying this race is absolutely perfect for him. They’ll go off like a wild cat out in front and Nick Schofield will hold Sky Pirate up off the strong pace. He travels strongly and jumps nice and efficiently which is absolutely key for this contest. He has ran some great races this season including when winning here at Cheltenham over 2m back in December in a race that’s worked out well. Great bet.
Selection: SKY PIRATE EW (15/2 with bet365)
The finale on Day 2 is the Champion Bumper. Willie Mullins holds a strong hand with Kilcruit who hosed up at the Dublin Racing Festival as well as new recruit to the yard Sir Gerhard who’s looked equally as impressive in his two bumper wins this season.
I’d chance THREE STRIPE LIFE EW (13/2 with bet365) here though at the prices on offer. He’s only had the one bumper run this season where he won by 9l at Naas but he certainly wasn’t asked for maximum effort that day by Jamie Codd. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t much substance to the form there but I think it’s significant that the money continues to come for him and he’s now around the 7/1 mark. Connections must think a lot of him and I’ve heard a little rumour that his homework has been very encouraging in the build up to this race. Another nice each way bet for us to round off Day 2.
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The day 2 card gets underway with the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, followed by the RSA Chase. Two Grade 1 events for novices. With day 2 at Cheltenham being ladies day, there are some spectacular sights both on and around the track, with female racegoers encouraged to wear all their finery around Prestbury Park.
The RSA Chase is often a good clue to future Cheltenham Gold Cup winners. The Coral Cup is always a tricky race to predict the winner of but we’ll be on hand with all our Cheltenham Festival predictions as we look to solve various conundrums across the four days.
The Cross Country Chase race is another brilliant spectacle on day 2, where the horses jump a number of unique fences including the Cheese Wedges, Canal Turn and the Bushes. Easysland won the race last year and he’s fancied to win again before having a tilt at the Grand National.
The final race of day 2 is the Champion Bumper, where the Irish raiders from the Willie Mullins and Gordon Eliott yards are normally near the head of the betting odds.
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