Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival and more top-class racing from Prestbury Park. Plenty of fancied contenders, but Nick Luck is taking the majority on…
Don’t forget, William Hill are top price guarantee on all four Championship races at this year’s Cheltenham Festival!
THREE STRIPE LIFE looks the play at 13/2 in the Ballymore (1.30pm), particularly if the rain falls in reasonable quantity. He would have finished a little closer to Sir Gerhard but for a scrappy leap at the last at the Dublin Racing Festival, but the angle in here is really that I am convinced he’s crying out for this trip and a bit of cut, while I am unconvinced the same applies to Sir Gerhard. There’s a chance they could get going a little early here, which will suit the wily Davy Russell.
GAILLARD DU MESNIL looks just a silly price at 16/1 to take the Brown Advisory (2.10pm). He has a very commendable portfolio, with top level wins at Leopardstown and Punchestown over hurdles, a second (one place in front of Bravemansgame) to Bob Olinger here last year, and a very creditable run behind Galopin Des Champs at the Dublin Racing Festival, when given a very quiet ride round the back and taken very wide. His form is really not far off the best here, and he is coming to the boil at the right time. Very solid each-way material.
UNEXPECTED PARTY (11/1) and CHRISTOPHER WOOD (40/1) will both be getting some of my attention in the Coral Cup (2.50pm). The first named has chiselled his way through the ranks with his form working out really nicely, putting it all together with a very fluent win at Ascot. I’m not sure the handicapper has overreacted. Meanwhile, the huge priced Christopher Wood can build on his excellent stable debut on what should still be slightly better ground. If Good Risk at All fails to get a run, this horse should run well enough to further infuriate his backers.
ENERGUMENE is selected to reverse the form with Shishkin in the Champion Chase (3.30pm) at 7/2. He is a well-balanced horse who should have no issues adapting to this course, and any horse trying to match him for early pace is simply going too fast. A little ease in the ground won’t go amiss either and – if he gets Shishkin at it as he did at Ascot, the brisk Old Course here offers significantly less respite for his rival to get back at him.
SHADY OPERATOR might offer a bit of value at 12/1 in the Cross Country Chase (4.10pm). Tiger Roll is much the likeliest winner, but age will wither him eventually, and Delta Work is all class, but hasn’t really been in brilliant nick. The selection is like a cat over the Punchestown banks and has a bit of tactical boot, which is quite important here. In addition, he should really appreciate a sounder surface than the bog in which he was beaten last time.
SKY PIRATE is a massive price at 12/1 to repeat last year’s heroics in the Grand Annual (4.50pm). He’s been bashing heads with Graded horses most of the season and you could make a fairly cogent case he’s improved. But we know what he really wants, which is an end-to-end gallop and being smuggled through a big field. I’d say he’s not badly treated still.
REDEMPTION DAY remains the pick in the Bumper (5.30pm) at 11/2. All of the Mullins runners have something going for them, but – in the end – the disparity in price between the selection and the favourite is just a bit too much. I love the fact that he’s related to a past winner of this race (Cheltenian) and looks to have the perfect blend of pace and staying power.