Day two of Cheltenham is in my opinion the best days’ racing of the four days, the 2015 festival is no different with some fantastic betting heats and no major “Banker” favourites so plenty to have a go at, so to follow on from Day One here’s my Cheltenham Festival 2015 Day Two Preview and tips.
Cheltenham Festival Day Two Ante Post Picks
1.30 – Neptune Novices Hurdle – Tell Us More (14/1)
2.05 – RSA Chase – Don Poli (9/2)
2.40 – Coral Cup – Le Mercurey (16/1)
3.20 – Champion Chase – Sprinter Sacre (11/4)
4.00 – Cross Country Chase – Any Currency (5/1)
5.15 – Champion Bumper – Livelovelaugh (25/1)
Cheltenham Festival 2015 Day Two Preview
Neptune Novice Hurdle
Race one on day two is the Neptune Novices Hurdle which looks a great race in prospect. I am a big fan of Parlour Games whose form took an even bigger boost by Blue Heron’s win last the weekend over Champion Hurdle hopefuls Irving and Sign Of A Victory. Rated 145 I don’t think he is unbeatable but the way he has won his races show he is improving and he looks to have a great chance in the opener.
Kilcrea Vale could have a big say should he be allowed an entry, connections believe this horse is of the highest grade and I would recommend taking the 12/1 with Boylesports NRNB, as if he does take his chance he will be a shorter price on the day. My only worry would be that he suffered a minor setback earlier on this year so may be primed for Aintree rather than Cheltenham.
The RSA Chase this year looks a great renewal with the market headed by Don Poli. He is not guaranteed to run in the race but if he does he would be a worthy favourite. I have been very impressed with him and will be very surprised if he isn’t a household name in the years’ to come and if lining up he would be the selection.
Kings Palace is the closest rival in the betting and although looking impressive in his races this term, the form to me is sketchy at best and I’m not convinced that the big field would play to his strengths, for me he can be overlooked. Coneygree has great form and has been a consistent horse this term, he could be hard to peg back if allowed an easy lead however I very much doubt in this company he will be allowed to dictate.
The Coral Cup is usually a tricky betting affair and one that for me is small stakes only however there is one horse I do like the look of (again, only if lining up) and that is Le Mercurey.
A staying on 3rd to Baradari last time out that doesn’t look the greatest form in the world, however I liked the way he stayed and he took a wide course that day so to get within 6 lengths I was pretty impressed. The extra two furlongs will help and I for one very much doubt we’ve seen the best of him. He could be well handicapped.
The Champion Chase
The Champion Chase is arguably the most intriguing race of the festival. The market is led by Sprinter Sacre who is there based on his old form and anything near that form would see him win this well, however he has been through a lot and to get back to the level he was would be a monumental achievement.
I really hope he does as he is a star of the game and there will be thousands of happy racegoers should he win this. If he doesn’t fire I have to be on Champagne Fever.
He has naturally progressed at Cheltenham, winning the Bumper in 2012, the Supreme in 2013 and narrowly coming 2nd to Western Warhorse in last years’ Arkle so there is no reason to suggest he won’t go close in the 2015 Champion Chase. He has been tried and tested from two miles to three miles but I firmly believe he is best over 2 miles. He has the form in the bag to go close if entered and he would be a live contender no matter where he goes.
Cross Country Chase
The Cross Country Chase is another race that I try and shy away from as a betting heat so my selection is tentative, however I was really impressed with the way Any Currency led from the front last time out and stayed well repelling Quantitiveeasing and Carruthers, both of whom are well known names in the game. He would certainly be the each way pick in the race.
The Champion Bumper has produced some huge names over the years, Champagne Fever, Dunguib, Cue Card amongst others and it would be no surprise if this year doesn’t throw up another.
Willie Mullins (unsurprisingly) holds the key to the race for me with Bordini, Up For Review, Au Quart De Tour, Pylonthepressure amongst others heading the market for the Irish trainer. I am hoping he allows another of his string take his chance in Livelovelaugh who won at Punchestown in December. Although the win was not as taking as his stable mates I love a horse in a Bumper who responds when asked a question and he certainly did that and although the form doesn’t look that great on paper, it’s very hard to assess the form of any of the Bumper contenders.
For me the manner in which he won gave me the same feel of a horse called Cork All Star in 2002 who ended up winning the Bumper by 4 lengths. If allowed to take his chance I would be very coy on his chances.