Cheltenham 2023 Tips – Cheltenham Ante-post Lucky 15 Bet Returning up to £375,000
With the Flat Season almost in the rearview mirror, attention turns the National Hunt game…
Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival features the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the 2022 event takes place on Wednesday 16th March. What are the other betting tips for the second day of the Festival?
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Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival features the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the match-up everybody wanted between Shishkin and Energumene at 3,30pm. Elsewhere, Tiger Roll is looking to win at Cheltenham again and Sir Gerhard is a well-backed favourite.
Wednesday’s action gets underway at 1.30pm with the Ballymore Novices Hurdle and the Champion Chase is at 3.30pm. One of the best races of the week is the Cross Country Chase and there will be no more popular winner than Tiger Roll.
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The opener on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival is the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, a Grade 1 for the novices over the 2m5f trip.
It’s hard to oppose SIR GERHARD (8/11) here. This doesn’t look the deepest of renewals and I don’t see much pace in the race which will suit his potent turn of foot. He’s the speediest horse in the line-up and will be suited by getting a lead today instead of having to do his own donkey work. Stage Star has to step up again in my opinion and Journey With Me may need further. I’d expect Three Stripe Life to chase the favourite home again, just like he did last month.
The 2:10 from HQ is the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices Chase, a real test for the Novice Chases over an extended 3m trip.
The one for me is AHOY SENOR (11/2) NAP. Although he was beaten by the favourite Bravemansgame comfortably on Boxing Day at Kempton, today will be a different ball game. This type of stamina test round Cheltenham will suit an awful lot more than the sharp Kempton track they raced on that day. He’ll relish the Cheltenham hill which has to be a doubt for the two market rivals in my opinion given they both look speedy sorts. Ahoy Senor is much better going left-handed than right and if he can cut out any silly novicey mistakes, I think he’ll win this and outstay the others.
The first handicap on Day 2 is the forever competitive Coral Cup where 27 runners are set to go to post for this cavalry charge over 2m5f.
The one I’ve landed on is THE SHUNTER (8/1) EW. He absolutely hosed up in the Plate here last year despite making a mistake at the last and the return to hurdles for this years Cheltenham Festival bid can hopefully prove no problem. We see a lot of horses these days returning year on year and running their best races of the season and I think the same can be said for this lad. He has a fantastic record here at Cheltenham which includes a victory in the competitive Greatwood Hurdle over hurdles and I’d expect this 2m5f trip to suit him well. He’s ran at Grade 1 level last season and wasn’t disgraced by any means. He’s a classy sort running in a handicap and he’ll be able to go the pace comfortably and will have no issues handling the big field size or the occasion.
The feature on the second day is the eagerly anticipated renewal of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Grade 1 contest for the speedy chasers over the minimum 2m trip.
This is an interesting race and you could watch this race easily without a bet. I’d be happy to chance ENERGUMENE (7/2) at the prices. This race is 2f less than the Ascot contest Shishkin beat him by a length and although he got the run of it, Shishkin hit 8/1 in play that day and if he didn’t jump the last two fences perfectly, I doubt he would have got up. Energumene didn’t have the ideal preparation for that either, having a slight setback over Christmas so you could argue he was entitled to improve slightly for that effort. I think Townend will actually go slower today on him and try and use that turn of foot which could prove decisive.
Next up at Cheltenham is the unique Glenfarclas Chase ran over the Cross Country course. Only cross country specialists need apply.
I’m predicting a fairytale victory for TIGER ROLL (13/8) in his final race. This has obviously been the plan again this year and conditions have certainly come right for the old boy. He’ll get the quick ground he needs to show his best form and if he is anywhere near the level of form he showed us last season here, he’ll win again doing handstands. The market vibes have been positive for him over the last few weeks which suggest connections are really happy with him. Has to be tough to beat.
The 4:50 from Cheltenham is Grand Annual Chase, a thrilling handicap to watch as they go a right gallop over the 2m distance.
I have liked BUDDY RICH (7/1) for this race for a while now. This has definitely been the plan all season and I’m adamant he’s a lot better than a mark of 144. He’s ran well here at Cheltenham earlier in the season which was likely an eye-opener and to get him used to travelling. He’s been kept fresh for it since running a great race behind Dunvegan back in November. That horse has since boosted the form running well in decent graded races. Davy Russell takes the reigns for this and he’s the master round this track, especially in handicaps.
The finale on the second day is the eagerly anticipated Champion Bumper, a Grade 1 National Hunt flat contest over 2m. This years renewal looks a cracker.
The one I like here is AMERICAN MIKE (5/2) NB. He’s looked a real star in the making for the Gordon Elliot winning his two bumper runs decisively including a 17l romp last time out. He’s very well regarded and it’s easy to see why. I think he should be closer to Facile Vega in the market as I find it hard to split them. I think recency bias has played a part in that. He’s a real big imposing sort to look at and I think he’s going continue to improve and improve. The front two look good but he’s the value.
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The Coral Cup is always a tricky race to get a handle on and it has seen some big priced winners in recent years (including last year’s 33/1 winner Heaven Help Us). Only 1 favourite has won this (Dame De Compagnie 5/1 2020) in the last 10 years.
GOWEL ROAD was impressive when beating Unexpected Party at Cheltenham in November giving him 14lb. The latter is 2nd favourite currently and is worse off at the weights now. My selection now only has to give Unexpected Party 3lbs.
He didn’t show much in the Gerry Fielding at Newbury the next time but that was at 2m which we know is an inadequate trip for him. He was 2nd to Meltier last time out at Lingfield but again was over a trip too short. He has had a nice break now and should come here fresh
He disappointed in the County Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival but I’m happy to forgive that as that was over 2m and he was only a 5yo. I believe he has improved this year for the step up to 2 ½ miles. His win in November was on the old course which is the course the Coral Cup is run on and that’s a huge bonus. I believe this has been the target since his win here in November and at a general 14/1, he is overpriced and worth a stab at.
Selection – Gowel Road (14/1 with Coral)
For me, this is very easy. Shishkin would have to underperform to lose this. At Ascot, it was Energumenes’s chance to beat him but now with the conditions and track in Shishkin’s favour, I can’t see how he overturns the form. There are massive doubts over Chacun Pour Soi and the rest just aren’t good enough. The way the race will be run with Energumene or even Chacun Pour Soi going out in front it will fall into Shishkins lap and it should be a comfortable win with Shiskin charging up the Cheltenham hill.
SELECTION: SHISNKIN (4/6 with Paddy Power)
Very much of a marmite race this, you either love it or you hate it. I have known people to go to the bar in this race, but I personally love it, the variations of jumps from the cheese wedges to the banks, to the canal like turn. It takes a very genuine, adaptable horse to take to these fences. And once again the field looks wide open. Tiger Roll the absolute Cross-Country king who managed to regain his crown from Easysland last year who I am sure if he did there would be no one who would begrudge him from doing so, however at this very minute it does look unlikely.
Easysland had his first run for his new trainer Jonjo O’Neil when he was pulled up at Sandown over hurdles over the weekend looked a shadow of himself, albeit it was over hurdles but with the problems the horse has had you wonder if they are able to bring him back to his 2020 form.
You then have an unknown in the name of Prengarde who has taken the French Cross-Country scene by an absolute storm which has seen JP McManus buying him and moving him toMr Cross Country himself Enda Bolger. But as we have seen with French horse Easysland being one the going is all important and it seems Prengarde has done all his winning on Soft or worst so will the spring ground be a problem to him? He is apparently due to make an appearance over hurdles in a warm up for March.
Then we come to my pick MORTAL, who has a similar sort of profile to Cause Of Causes, he has the back class previously finishing second to Delta Work in a Novice Chase and even winning a big handicap last year off 147. Interestingly he was bought by Gordon in the sales (previously owned by Gigginstown) and horses re bought by Gordon from Gigginstown can be a very good angle to follow with the likes of Smoking Gun and Folsom Blue all doing very well. He was brought over in December to Cheltenham by Gordon for what was obviously a sighter and he took to the fences very well finishing 4th that day.
He was out the back for a lot of the race which really isn’t the place to be round the course as it is a very sharp track with some tight turns and can be a bit of sprint turning for him. However, he was given plenty time that day and plenty of sight at the fences, which would have been the aim. He did, however, after three out just suddenly seem to spring a pair of wings and absolutely flew home, he did slip round the home bend and ended up fading before the line to miss out on third. He then ran at the DRF in the 2 1/2m handicap which you have to think would have a been pipe opener for March.
Since his run in December, he has been brought over again for a schooling session over fences with Jamie Codd on board so you have to think he will be on board which really there is no better man. He performed better on his first run over these fences than the likes of Tiger Roll and Cause Of Causes. The race in March isn’t a handicap so he won’t be conceding weight this time around and with different tactics in a much more positive ride I can see him going very well and being very hard to beat.
Selection: Mortal (12/1 with 888Sport)
The Grand Annual is a handicap that is not necessarily won by an unexposed, improving horse as some other handicaps can be. Last year’s winner Sky Pirate had a very open campaign last year and didn’t hide anything from the handicapper, winning off a 10-year high rating of 152.
My selection BEFORE MIDNIGHT has a rating of 148 and is a very experienced chaser with 11 career starts over fences. He has course & distance form having won at the October meeting, beating Sky Pirate in the process and can go on all sorts of ground.
He has since won a competitive handicap at Ascot, was a well-beaten 4 of 4 to Shishkin in the Desert Orchid over Xmas and been beaten a length by Funambule Sivola (who has since franked that form by winning the Game Spirit at Newbury) at Doncaster.
Only 1 winner in the last 8 years has carried under 11st and that was 12yo winner Crocco Bay in 2019. I believe the Sam Thomas trained 9yo is underestimated and will be coming into the race slightly under the radar. He is overpriced to me and he has a massive chance in this.
Selection: BEFORE MIDNIGHT EW (14/1 with bet365)
The Irish have dominated this race in previous years, winning the last 5 in a row and look pretty much guaranteed to make it 6 on the bounce. This year’s renewal looks hotter than last year’s and performances from the 3 horses at the top of the market have all been electric.
Redemption Day has had just the one run in his career but could not have done it any better, he seems to be all speed. Patrick that day never had to ask him any questions and did everything with such ease.
His stable mate and market leader Facile Vega could not have impressed any more than he did last weekend in the DRF, the way he ran from the front, quickened up and then put a few lengths between him and the second Sandor Clegane who would himself is no mug pulling a long way clear of the third too. The action of Facile Vega, the way he hits ground with purpose shows he is a top-quality horse.
However, my pick is AMERICAN MIKE and I have been a huge fan of his this season. With the performance of Facile Vega over the weekend the selection is starting to be slightly overlooked.
American Mike started off life in winning a point to point and was then bought in the sales for £195k and has won his two bumpers with the ultimate ease, including last time out giving 7lbs and beating Battling Bessie by 17 lengths on the bridle, who has since come out last weekend and boosted the form in losing by a nose in a Grade 2 bumper at the DRF.
What is interesting is before Sir Gerhard moved from Gordons last year, this fella has followed the same path as the forementioned did and It has been made of no secret that the Elliot think he is a very special horse.
In an interview with Jamie Codd, he said, “American Mike will win by the length of the straight” and although he maybe exaggerating a little bit, you could sense that he is a special horse and when he is let loose, he will be very hard to beat indeed.
Selection: American Mike (3/1 with Paddy Power)
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