Paul Callaghan’s Day 2 Cheltenham Tips
Paul Callaghan takes a look at Cheltenham Day 2 and gives his tips on who he thinks will win.
1.20 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) over 2m 5f.
Only 7 runners declared for the opener on day 2 but a race not lacking in quality. I think the market has got it right. I think Bob Olinger will take the beating.
He followed up his Maiden Hurdle victory at Navan, with a polished display to win the Grade 1 Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle in January.
He looks uncomplicated as far as tactics are concerned, so despite the small field, I don’t think it will worry jockey Rachael Blackmore and trainer Henry De Bromhead too much what the others decide to do.
Gaillard Du Mesnil is an obvious danger having won very impressively at the Dublin Racing Festival, but I could see a bigger threat coming from Bravemansgame, who jockey Harry Cobden rates as “his best chance of a winner” at the festival.
Don’t discount the Nicky Martin trained Bear Ghylls from getting involved in the closing stages. He has a fair engine but his jumping can lack fluency on occasions. If he gets his jumping together I think he will outrun his odds.
1.55 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) over 3m.
One for the multi bets as I think Monkfish is still improving. He wasn’t bad when scoring at Leopardstown over the Christmas period, but his performance at the Dublin Racing Festival was something else. Barring disaster, Monkfish wins.
Sporting John, a Grade 1 winner at Sandown on his latest outing might be worth a small wager each way, and Eklat De Rire is a horse on the upgrade and looks set to run a nice race.
I’m surprised connections of The Big Breakaway haven’t reached for headgear.
He’s a talented individual who seems to lack concentration at vital stages of his races, costing him any chances of winning. I think headgear might just keep him sharp, helping him jump and travel and also help his jockey throughout the race.
2.30 Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) over 2m 5f.
I’m staying loyal to last time out Lanzarote winner, Boreham Bill for the trainer, jockey combination of Emma Lavelle and Ben Jones.
He’s stepping up in Grade and running off a 7lbs higher mark than that, of his Kempton success. But he rarely runs a bad race and I think Boreham Bill will reward each way backers once again.
3.05 Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) over 2m.
I think Chacun Pour Soi’s victory in this year’s Dublin Chase was visually better than his win the same race 12 months earlier. This will be his first run at Cheltenham which I don’t see as posing any problems. Another one for those multi bets!
Put The Kettle On is an incredible mare, she’s been fantastic for connections and has some great course form which you can’t ignore.
I wouldn’t discourage anybody from having a small each way wager on Aidan Coleman’s mount. The same can be said for the David Bass ridden First Flow, who always runs with his heart on his sleeve.
Politologue is also worth a mention, as he bids to defend his 2 mile crown partnered this year by jockey Harry Cobden.
4.15 Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over 2m.
With 5 places up for grabs for each way backers, I’m siding with my former boss, Tom George, as he sends out Bun Doran partnered by jockey Jonathan Burke. He’s not getting any younger and found life tough in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot on his last run, where he pulled up.
Bun Doran finished third in last year’s Champion Chase and he runs here off a handicap mark of 150, he’s won off 156 in the past and has raced of a mark as high as 158.
He will need to bounce back but there is every chance that he will and on his best form, I think he’s worth a few quid each way.
4.50 Champion Bumper (Grade 1) over 2m.
Kilcruit has improved on all three starts in bumpers. At Clonmel on his racecourse debut where he finished second, when trained by Tony Mullins, he looked all at sea when push came to shove, which given his engine, I’m not surprised as I’m guessing it was probably the first time he was taken off the bridle.
He was good at Navan when winning at the second time of asking and that form was boosted, when the third horse came out and won at Leopardstown at Christmas.
He then demolished the field in a Grade 2 bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival where he could be called the winner some way from home.
This is a race his current trainer, Willie Mullins has done exceptionally well in, and I think Kilcruit will boost those statistics further. He was the intended mount of the trainer’s son Patrick, but due to restrictions, is partnered by stable jockey Paul Townend.