Cheltenham Day 2 betting tips and preview
Brought to you by Russell Blair Racing
1.30 Ballymore 2m5f Novices Hurdle Grade 1
Champ sits at the top of the market after 2 great displays around a similar course at Newbury, his last race was in the Challow where he was visually impressive with his jumping, he looked in trouble briefly when Getaway Trump looked to travelling much better, but Champ pulled away well in the final furlong, at the time he looked the horse to beat after that win, but the form hasn’t worked out very well at all with the closest rivals Getaway Trump, Kateson & Brewin’upastorm all getting well beat since, plus winners of the Challow have a real bad record in the Ballymore and 7 year olds have only won this race once in it’s 47 year history, a lot against Champ in this but no doubt one for the future over the larger obstacles.
BATTLEOVERDOYEN however has no real negatives, he won his maiden very stylishly on yielding ground and went straight for a crack at a Grade 1 in the Lawlor’s where he was almost foot perfect over his hurdles except for little niggle at the last, he was a little green coming off the bend, but just his 2nd run over hurdles, it’s to be expected and he looks to have so much raw ability and he’s such a huge horse that has the most scope of the field, plus all his form is on good ground but his action wants soft ground and will see him step up again, the time he clocked too was very impressive and for me looks a future chasing superstar.
Brewin’upastorm was 4 lengths behind Champ in the Challow and looked likely to improve for the run, he went off fav for a trial for this race at Cheltenham where he was going well upfront until getting challenged at the last where he got it all wrong a took a big fall which just before the festival, isn’t ideal, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him run a big one, but I’m still happy to oppose.
City Island is the 2nd highest rated at 147 in the field which is hard to fathom, he beat Dallas des Pictons on his penultimate race by 3 lengths, DDP has gone on to win his next 2, the last off a mark of 130 in a weak handicap, City Island next win came in a weak novice hurdle where he did win well but the form is very weak and the mark of 147 looks very inflated.
Sams Profile needs a second look after his 2nd behind Battleoverdoyen LTO, he done plenty wrong but still managed to get within 3 lengths off the winner, it’s hard to back him with any confidence on how many mistakes he made, but if his learnt a lot from that run, he’ll be a big threat.
2.10 RSA 3m Novices Chase Grade 1
Delta Work already a festival winner when winning the Grade 3 Pertemps Handicap Hurdle, he was a 152 rated hurdler after his last race when a close neck 2nd to Next Destination in the Grade 1 Punchestown Novice Hurdle last year, he’s carried on his form and progression very well over the larger obstacles and has added 2 novice Grade 1’s to his name already, the first when beating Le Richebourg by half a length after the jockey lost his iron, LR boosted that form when picking up 2 Grade 1’s himself since going back in trip, Delta Work went the opposite way and went up in trip to 3 miles where he again improved visually to win his next Grade 1, the form of the race isn’t anything special, but he won in 2nd gear almost, jockey Davy Russell only used the whip after the last fence just to make sure the job was done. He looks the class act but he has a tough challenger.
Topofthegame looks the toughest opponent for Delta Work, he was higher rated than Delta Work over hurdles but is yet to win over fences, that doesn’t discredit him as both was in tough races, the first when losing plenty of ground at the start but finished just over 3 lengths off Defi Du Seuil future Grade 1 scilly Isles winner, then he went up to 3 miles in the Kauto Star at Kempton where again 2nd to La Bague Au Roi who went on to win another Grade 1 in Leopardstown in the Flogas. So, while not winning he still brings in top class form, he’s obviously not straightforward and does have to be played at the right time, but if they get that right, I’d say he has the better chances of the 2 at the top of the market.
Santini is the lay of the race for me, he’s been the buzz horse for this race since the start of the season and looked the part on his debut in the John Francome, he won convincingly and looked plenty more to come, however things haven’t gone well since, he could only finish 3rd the Kauto Star 2 lengths off Topofthegame, the sharp track the excuse, yes the Cheltenham track will suit more, but he will still have to show more speed than he did at Kempton to be competitive in this, which I don’t think he has, plus he missed his prep for this race because of Fluenza and he even had a worry last week when losing a shoe causing bruising in the process, which obviously isn’t a huge deal but both combined will of upset his training to add to previous doubts.
DROVERS LANE looks the ew play of the race, he won on debut before tackling a good race at Aintree where mistakes was costly, he put that behind him quickly and improved just as quick to win his next 2 races, the last over this course in December, he looks like he still had a lot to learn when last seen, but if he’s progressed well again since, he’ll have a big say in this race, plus he’s had a wind op which may bring further improvement from the gelding.
2.50 Coral cup 2m5f Handicap Hurdle Grade 3
An absolute minefield that’s headed by Uradel at the top of the market whose hard for me to get a grip on his chances, he’s mainly been ran on the flat where he’s ran a few big races, he beat Limini at Galway but had a big weight advantage on her, he then ran a bigger race in the Cesarewitch and just missed out by half a length to stablemate Low Sun, he was given a mark of 102 on the flat, he made his season reappearance when going off fav in a big handicap at Leopardstown over minimum 2 mile trip where he travelled through the race well and was eye catching in his finish, 2m5f may see plenty more improvement and I’m sure his mark has been protected over hurdles, but I’m not convinced he’s all that well in off 137 compared to his flat mark and I’ll be looking at for a more unexposed runner.
Brio Conti is lightly raced, only 2 races over fences since his novice days, he won at Ascot LTO beating Honest Vic by a head, he was last coming around the final bend and stylishly took the field and took the lead jumping the last, he did run about a little on the run in which is a worry over a more testing course and trip, further behind was Ballyandy and Malaya who boosted the form when looking very well handicapped in the Imperial Cup at Sandown the weekend just gone, Brio goes up 5lb for that success which leaves him looking still well in, but there was one in behind him that loos better treated.
Cracking Smart is another hard to gauge, his novice form is very good with his 2nd to Next destination in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s early last year the standout, he was rated 150 for that and after a year off he disappointed in a hot race at Leopardstown but he did show old promise in a Grade 2 at Navan last month, the ground is turning in favour for this gelding and he could look very well treated if he can build on last performance, but for me hasn’t showed enough to say he’s ready to improve again.
Farclas won the Triumph last year but form since is very weak and he looks out of sorts, he does have a few positives as in the ground , course and even the step up in trip looks right, but he looks far from well treated on handicap debut and one I’d take a big swerve away from.
BALLYANDY is a horse that pleases the eye and is a lovely price, especially if you fancy Brio Conti, Ballyandy was under 5 lengths off BC LTO, he was travelling very well in the race and had his head in front before jumping the last slow and not quickening under a gentle ride, the vet said he suffered with heat stress after the race which obviously wouldn’t of helped and his performance needs marking up considerably, he has a 5lb swing with BC in this and barring no problems he’ll positively reverse the form.
3.30 Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m Grade 1
Altior is the superstar of the festival and while I always believe no horse in unbeatable, I contradictory think backing against this beast is throwing money away, so with that being said, the fun bet would be trying to guess the tricast and not very original but I think it could mirror last year’s finish, last year’s runner up Min has returned this season in fantastic form and has picked up 2 Grade 1’s, he looks the obvious biggest threat. Last years 3rd God’s Own who was well beat but still put in a brave effort and was strongest of his rivals in the finish to claim 3rd, last year’s soft, borderline heavy conditions wasn’t ideal and this years soft at present ground still isn’t ideal, but the weather over the next 24 hours looking much better and the ground could dry out well under the strong winds to predicted good to soft. God’s Own has looked well this season and won the Haldon Gold Cup while giving away weight to his closest competition. His last race was also pleasing when 2nd to Charbel giving away weight at 2m4f. This step back to 2 miles looks a plus and hopefully he’s best of the rest to complete our tricast.
4.10 Glenfarclas 3m6f X Country Chase Class 2
Not a race I get firmly involved in, but there’s a horse I’ve had a close eye on for a long minute, Amazing Comedy went off 50/1 in this 2 years ago, the good ground was well against that day but he ran a huge race and at one point he looked like he was going to nick a result when he pulled 3 lengths away coming to the final bend, he quickly tired on the firm ground but claimed a respectful 5th, since he’s moved yards which is very close to home, he now runs for for the ex trainers son who is a 3 time ex French champion jockey in his own right and has really hit the ground running. The gelding romped a good race on his home soil on very soft ground before coming over here for another crack at Cheltenham or perhaps prep for this race, he was very well backed from around 16/1 the day before to 7/2 fav, again, he looked the winner when travelling through his race effortlessly but unfortunately found nothing when applied pressure and jumped the last 2 wrong, again the ground was against and he finished a creditable 4th, the softer ground will be a big plus and his 40/1 is very enticing and has big claims for a piece of the action and place to boot.
1.30 Battleoverdoyen 4/1 Sams Profile 11/1 ew (4places)
2.10 Drovers Lane 20/1 ew
2.50 Ballyandy 25/1
3.30 Altior/ Min/ God’s Own (tricast) 15/1
4.10 Amazing Comedy 40/1 ew
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