Day 2 Review – Sprinter Sacre Steals The Show
The bookies clawed their way back into things on day two of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, despite Willie Mullins striking early by winning the opener with Yorkhill.
First Blood To Mullins
Although the bookies paid out to second favourite backers when Yorkhill won the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at 3/1, it would have been worse had the 11/10 favourite and eventual runner-up, Yanworth, managed to catch the winner. The manner in which Yanworth finished strongly suggested the World Hurdle could suit next season, while the unbeaten, Yorkhill, could be Champion Hurdle bound.
It was a victory that also took the Prestbury Cup scores to 4-4, while also taking Ruby Walsh to the top of the jockeys’ leaderboard courtesy of four winners. He already looks set to retain the crown.
Twiston-Davies’ Lion Roars Home
Mullins’ followers were almost on the scoreboard in the following RSA Chase, but Shaneshill just failed to hold off the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained, Blaklion. The winner showed plenty of guts and loved the good ground, while Shaneshill was the bridesmaid at this festival for the third year running, but could gain compensation at Aintree or Punchestown (as he did in 2014 & 2015).
Elliott’s King A Diamond
Gordon Elliott ensured the Brits didn’t get too far ahead when landing the Coral Cup via Diamond King at 12/1, though Nicky Henderson’s…
Sprinter Sacre, stole the show in the following Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Sacre Champion Again
The admirable 10yo made it a second win in the race having won it in 2013, and who’s to say he won’t make it a third in 2017, while the runner-up, Un De Sceaux, was just found out by the faster ground. He’ll be winning again when the mud is flying, and has twice won at the Punchestown Festival when there was ease in the ground.
There weren’t many racing fans who could disagree with Any Currency earning a much deserved first win in the Cross Country Chase, having finished runner-up in it twice.
Josie Will Be Back!
There were some punters, though, who were cheering on the unlucky second, Josies Orders. Enda Bolger’s 8yo was heavily punted beforehand, but was hampered during the race before flying up the hill – the post arriving just too soon. A winner at the Punchestown Festival 12 months ago, Josies Orders looks sure to gain compensation at the same meeting, and has time on his side to come back here for another crack.
Paul Nicholls recorded his first win of the festival when Diego Du Charmil took the penultimate race of the day, the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle. This was an excellent training feat to get the ex-French performer to win on his debut for the yard, in the process putting the Brits 8-5 ahead in the Prestbury Cup.
Twiston-Davies To Land Thursday’s Opener?
A strong Willie Mullins team in the concluding Champion Bumper wasn’t enough to prevent the Brits dominating day two, as Nigel Twiston-Davies recorded a memorable double with Ballyandy (5/1). Twiston-Davies’ runners are in superb form at present,
…boding well for Bristol De Mai in tomorrow’s opener, JLT Novices’ Chase, where odds of 9/2 look very tempting.
*Prices correct at time of publication.