CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY 2 PREVIEW 2020
1.30 BALLYMORE NOVICES’ HURDLE (GRADE 1) (REGISTERED AS THE BARING BINGHAM) (Class 1) (4yo+) Winner £70,338 12 runners 2m5f Soft ITV4
Much of the talk for this race is around Envoi Allen and whether he can live up to the hype or not. I think there is plenty of value in this race and Willie Mullins has a fascinating contender in THE BIG GETAWAY. This horse has taken his time to act his act together over obstacles but he was very impressive at Naas last time out when he broke his maiden by 17 lengths. The 2nd and the 6th from that race have come out and won since so that makes the form look a little better. Patrick Mullins was asked about this horse in a recent interview and he said that he will be a better horse for making the running. If you watch the race at Leopardstown he was clumsy at his hurdles and looked all over the winner before tying up in the closing stages. He will be a much better chaser next season but I think he could be the one to give Envoi Allen most to do.
2.10 3m½f (3m80y) (Old) RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Willie Mullins could be off the a very fast start on Day Two with the Cheveley Park owned ALLAHO and I think he looks a prime contender here in what is a trappy enough contest. Allaho seen the back of Minella Indo on numerous occasions last season and this time around I am hoping that the placings can be reversed this time around. Allaho was second to Easy Game at Leopardstown and Easy Game went on to frank that form when he finished a very close second to Faugheen at the Dublin Racing Festival. Allaho went on to be very impressive at Fairyhouse next time out and is up at the head of the market for this race. Paul should get him into a decent rhythm and he should go very close here.
2.50 2m5f (Old) Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)
The trend of Willie Mullins winners on Day Two could be set to continue here with the very nicely handicapped CANARDIER who has recently joined the Mullins battalion from Dermot McLoughlin. This horse has been in my notebook for a while now and he has been recently been campaigned over fences and now reverts back to hurdles for a second attempt at this race after he finished fifth in it last season. He is rated 145 this time around and was rated 141 when he ran in this race last season. The 4lb rise looks very lenient considering the company he has kept over fences. He was going well at Navan when he fell and he must be in strong contention to go close here. He comes good at this time of the year and ran a very good race when third at Aintree last season to William Henry under Barry Geraghty. This horse looks like he has been primed for the race and looks solid each way value at a double figure price.
3.30 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)
The feature of day two and if this goes to plan it could be a four timer for Willie Mullins with the exuberant CHACUN POUR SOI. This horse burst onto the scene with an effortless victory at Naas where he beat Portmore Lough by a mind blowing 31 lengths. Paul Townend was gobsmacked by the manner of the victory and said that a step up in grade was surely to come. He went to the Punchestown Festival and under Robbie Power he took the step up in grade in his stride to beat Defi De Seuil by 4 ½ lengths. Robbie Power was very impressed. He returned this season and finished second to A Plus Tard at Christmas before beating stablemate Min at the Dublin Racing Festival. The softer ground should prove no issue to this horse and he should go very close. It looks somewhat of a match with Altior not taking his place due to being lame. It should prove to be a very good race but Chacun Pour Soi looks to have the ability to come out on top.
4.10 3m6f (3m6f37y) (X-Country) Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) (Class 2) (5yo+)
While all the focus will be on Tiger Roll I am taking him on with the French horse EASYSLAND who was very impressive in a handicap over the cross country course at Cheltenham back in December. He beat fellow French rival Amazing Comedy by seven lengths and it looked a very good performance. He went to Pau on the 2nd of February and was workmanlike in getting the job done over the Cross Country course but it was another step forward in his progression. He has been recently purchased by JP Mc Manus and he loves nothing more than having the winner of this race as we seen Nina Carberry aboard Spotthedifference (2005), Heads on the ground (2007), Garde Champetre (2008 & 2009), Josies Orders (2016) and Cause Of Causes (2017). Easysland will have to produce a very good performance to beat Tiger Roll but he looks the one that will give him most to do.
4.50 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered As The Fred Winter) (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo)
With many unexposed individuals in this race it looks hard to try and pick something with a bit of value about it. Many of the Cheltenham Previews over the last couple of weeks said that Gordon Elliott was sweet on the chances of TRONADOR and that will do for me. He was fourth to Leagan Gaeilge at Leopardstown where he as hampered and then made up plenty of ground to finish fourth. He then went and broke his maiden at Thurles by eight lengths. The third and fifth from that race have come out and won since so that gives a solid look to that form. This race will be all about getting luck at the right time and this horse will travel away and hopefully get there going well and see it out strongly. He was third over 2m 2f last time out behind stablemate Floueur where he was doing his best work at the end. You couldn’t have a better jockey on board than Denis O Regan to sit and play the waiting game and that could be exactly what this horse needs. Each way value in a very competitive contest.
5.30 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4-6yo)
Anyone who has looked at my antepost previews will know that I am very hopeful of a big run from the David Pipe trained ISRAEL CHAMP. He really impressed me at Cheltenham earlier in the season when he set his own pace and galloped his rivals into submission. He went to Ascot last time out with a penalty and won very nicely to set him up well for a crack at this. Both his wins have come on a softer surface so that will hold no fears here. His Point to Point win at Monksgrange was where he started his career and he absolutely bolted up. He gets in here under the radar and for me his form is up there with the horses higher in the market. The double figure price entices me even more and he should give his backers a big run for their money.