Day Two Cheltenham Festival Preview 2021

Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 13:20
2
Rachael Blackmore

Bob Olinger

J:
 
Rachael Blackmore
T:
 
Henry De Bromhead
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 150

The first race of the day on Wednesday is the Grade One Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and with a select group of seven runners heading to post, the event looks as competitive as ever.

Bob Olinger is held in very high regard off the back of his starts during his career to date and since stepping over hurdles he looks a natural.

Back in November 2019 the five year old won an Irish maiden at Turtulla by 15 lengths and was bought and given to De Bromhead off the back of it.

At Gowran Park in March he made his rules debut in a bumper and again showed clear talent to take the 2m2f event by 10 lengths, seeing off nice types for Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott.

He was sent back to Gowran Park for his hurdles debut when him and Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow breezed away from the rest of the pack and he narrowly finished runner up behind the Cheveley Park horse.

He was then stepped up in trip at Navan in a maiden hurdle over 2m4f and he was an emphatic winner of the race beating a minor field by 14 lengths.

Last time out he was sent into the Grade One Lawlor Of Naas Novices' Hurdle and he breezed away from a good field to land the event by close to seven lengths.

Throughout the season he has shown speed and stamina which is perfect for this event and if improving again sets a good standard.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
29/01/23NAA15.5Sft11-33
28/12/22LEO24Sft11-105
13/11/22NAV20Y11-32
26/04/22PUN24.5Gd/Y11-10PU
17/03/22CHL20Sft11-41
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 13:55
4
Paul Townend

Monkfish

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 164
Days: -41

The Grade One Brown Advisory Novices' Chase comes next and there is only one horse everyone wants to see win this race and it is the superstar Monkfish.

The Willie Mullins trained gelding was bought by Rich Ricci at Cheltenham in 2018 for £235,000 off the back of winning a point to point and since then they have not looked back with this horse.

In 2019 he was ran twice, once in a bumper and once over hurdles finishing second on both occasions behind smart horses in Diol Ker and Longhouse Poet.

Since then he has gone on to be a superstar being unbeaten in three hurdle event and on both his chase starts showing clear staying ability and this term a superb jumping temperament.

Having won at Fairyhouse and at Thurles last term over large distances, he went to the Cheltenham festival and managed to stay three miles the best of the runners to just get up in the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

Sent chasing by Mullins this term he landed his debut at Fairyhouse with ease and used that run to improve further when managing to see off Latest Exhibition in a Grade One Novice Chase at Leopardstown.

Although dropping slightly in trip last time in the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival he gave his best performance of the season to land the event by 11 lengths.

He is an all round superstar that if running to his form this season should be tough to beat.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/21PUN24.5Y11-122
17/03/21CHL24.5GS11-41
07/02/21LEO21.5Sft11-121
29/12/20LEO24Y11-121
28/11/20FAI21Sft12-01
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 14:30
2
Jack Kennedy

Grand Roi

J:
 
Jack Kennedy
T:
 
Mrs Denise Foster
Age: 5
Weight: 11-6
OR: 149

The Grade Three Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle over 2m5f, every season is a tricky race for punters but this term we believe to have spotted two nice horses at each way prices.

The first is the Denise Foster trained Grand Roi that has been targeted for this race all season and looks to have a huge chance if improving.

Having been with Nicky Henderson last season, he moved over to Ireland this season and has been seen three times and looks to have a big chance off the back of some of those runs, in this event.

Having made his debut for Gordon Elliott at Galway in October finishing third in a good Grade Three event, he then used that to get off the mark at Limerick at Christmas in a decent Grade Two.

The five year old was last seen finishing second in January at Naas in the Grade Three Limestone Lad Hurdle behind Bachasson, who has since gone on to frank the form by landing a Grade Two over fences with ease.

His form looks extremely strong and only on a mark of 149, for what he has shown this season he looks a solid each way contender.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/12/22LEO21Sft11-12PU
08/10/22FAI21Gd11-12F
19/09/22LIS17Gd11-122
18/04/22FAI20Y11-83
16/03/22CHL21Sft11-7PU
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 14:30
12
Tom Cannon

Craigneiche

J:
 
Tom Cannon
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 7
Weight: 10-10
OR: 139

At a bigger price for the British challengers, we believe that Craigneiche for Nicky Henderson could outrun his odds of 12/1 with conditions to suit.

The seven year old is weighted to go close getting plenty of weight off the top runners in the field and having been lightly raced this term he should be fit as a fiddle for this event.

Craigneiche has only been seen four times in his career, making his debut in 2019 in a bumper at Market Rasen where he was an easy winner.

In December of that year he made his hurdles debut at Newbury and he finished a good third behind behind the smart The Big Breakaway, who has turned out to be a very nice horses.

He used that experience to get off the mark next time out in a Maiden Hurdle at Doncaster and he was then put away until this season.

The son of Flemensfirth off a lowly mark made it back to back wins last time out at Ascot in a hot handicap event over 2m3f, beating Arrivederci by seven lengths.

The quicker ground will suit him down to the ground and although going up in the handicap he still seems to be on a workable mark and looks a big player.

Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
1
Paul Townend

Chacun Pour Soi

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 173
Days: -41

The feature event on day two of the Cheltenham festival is the Grade One Queen Mother Champion Chase and this year looks to be the one where Willie Mullins breaks his duck in the race.

The nine year old Chacun Pour Soi has only had seven starts for the handler since joining from France back in December 2016 but has shown plenty of ability on all of his runs just losing his unbeaten record last season.

Having not raced since March 2016 he went to Naas for his first run in nearly exactly three years in a Beginners Chase and showed a perfect temperament to take the spoils by 31 lengths.

He was then sent to the Punchestown festival with many punters still unaware of the ability of this horse and he gave one of the stand out performances of the meeting, beating the Arkle Novices Chase winner Duc Des Genievres and JLT Novices' Chase victor Defi Du Seuil to land the Grade One Ryanair Novices Chase.

He made his seasonal debut last season over Christmas at Leopardstown in this Grade One Chase against some superb horses and although looking like he had the race wrapped up he found nothing when coming off the bridle and was pipped close home.

He came on a huge amount for that run and got back to winning ways in the Grade One Dublin Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival, beating stablemate Min.

The gelding made his seasonal return at Cork at the start of December and although not impressive he still landed the Grade Two Hilly Way Chase in workman like fashion.

He then backed that up at Leopardstown Christmas meeting by landing the Grade One Paddy's Club Chase, that he was beat by A Plus Tard in last year.

He came on massively for that run to emphatically take back to back renewals of the Grade One Dublin Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival and that is the best performance heading into the race.One to beat.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
22/01/23THU20.5Y11-123
27/12/22LEO17Y11-123
26/04/22PUN16Gd/Y11-122
16/03/22CHL16Sft11-10UR
06/02/22LEO17Y11-121
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
6
Harry Skelton

Nube Negra

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 165
Days: -41

With the race seeing 10 runners turn up it allows bookmakers to offer extra places on the day and for us Nube Negra for Dan and Harry Skelton is a live each way player.

The seven year old gelding has been waited patiently on over the last few seasons, finishing second in the Grade One Scilly Isles Novices' Chase, before backing that up another smart placed run in the Kingmaker Novices' Chase.

Having been off the track for 10 months he returned in the Grade Two Desert Orchid and he looked a vastly improved horse to beat Altior and land the event.

He will be sure to be fresh and fit for the event at Cheltenham having not been seen since that run at Kempton.

The Skelton's have been very bullish about this horse all season and looks the most likely challenger to the favourite and the drying ground will massively suit.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/12/22KEM16Sft11-82
13/11/22CHL16Gd11-101
23/04/22SAN15.5Gd11-73
04/12/21SAN15.5GS11-74
14/11/21CHL16Gd11-61
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 15:40
5
Felix De Giles

Easysland

J:
 
Felix De Giles
T:
 
D Cottin
Age: 7
Weight: 11-4
OR: 167

Easysland is looking for back to back wins in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase on Wednesday and the race looking fairly thin of talent this year, he will tough to beat.

All the hype was around fan favourite Tiger Roll in last year’s renewal of the Cross Country Chase but French raider came and spoiled the party and did so in decisive fashion.

Sporting the JP McManus green and yellow stripes for the second time in his career having been bought by the owner after winning at Cheltenham in December, the French exploit always looked to be travelling best and when the two-time Grand National hero was unable to quicken up after two out he began to assert.

David Cottin’s gelding finished 17-lengths ahead of Tiger Roll, who still managed to finish 18-lengths ahead of third place Out Sam, which suggests how special this Cross Country ace is.

He has only been seen once since then, back at Cheltenham in November when a staying on third in a trial for this event and having not been seen since then he is expected to be extremely fresh.

If performing to the same level as last year he should win this event comfortably.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/01/23CHL30GS10-29
01/01/23CHL26.5Sft11-610
19/11/22HAY25.5Sft11-1110
30/04/22PUN31Gd11-9PU
16/03/22CHL30Hy11-4PU
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 16:15
5
Nick Scholfield

Sky Pirate

J:
 
Nick Scholfield
T:
 
Jonjo O'Neill
Age: 8
Weight: 11-6
OR: 152

The Grand Annual Handicap Chase every year is a minefield for punters but we have two British challengers that can enter the each way places

Sky Pirate is our first selection for Jonjo O'Neill with the eight year old looking to give his handler another festival winner.

During the geldings career he has been slightly frustrating, being tried at the wrong distances, but when sent over two miles for the first time in his career, he looked unstoppable.

The gelding won a Handicap Chase by close to four lengths, never coming off the bridle and that came over the same course and distance as the Grand Annual.

The form of that race has since been franked with Ibleo for Venetia Williams who finished second that day has since gone on to win a similar event next time out.

Although going up in the weights for that run he looked to have bundles in hand when winning again in January at Warwick, seeing off the smart Amoola Gold.

He was last seen back at Warwick in the Grade Two Kingmaker Chase where he chased home Grade One winner Allmankind into second and with not being able to cut it at the top level, the drop back to handicap company is welcomed.

He has been largely consistent over his career without threatening to be special but now that has all changed and although fairly high in the weights, he is the class angle.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
23/04/22SAN15.5Gd11-7PU
07/04/22AIN16GS11-124
16/03/22CHL16Hy11-1211
12/02/22NBY16.5GS11-44
15/01/22WAR16.5Sft11-122
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 16:15
10
Bridget Andrews

Amoola Gold

J:
 
Bridget Andrews
T:
 
Dan Skelton
Age: 8
Weight: 11-0
OR: 146

At a much bigger price is a horse we mentioned alongside Sky Pirate with Amoola Gold at 20/1 sharing similar form and looking like a big player with extra places on offer.

The Skelton's have been in fine form this season and head into the festival with arguably their best ever team and this gelding has a leading chance in this race.

The eight year olds handler believes this season he has turned into the horse they always thought he would be and on his seasonal debut he proved just that when landing a two mile handicap at Wetherby.

The gelding then went on to back that up with another success, this time at Ascot when seeing off Ibleo, who has since gone on to frank the form twice.

Amoola Gold has been seen twice more since that run and he has finished second in good fashion on both occasions behind some extremely smart types.

Two starts ago at Ascot he was a neck second to First Flow for Kim Bailey who has since gone on to land the Grade One Clarence House Chase.

Last time out the gelding went to Warwick for his final run before the festival and was a strong runner up behind Sky Pirate, who is favourite for this race.

He was only receiving 2lb off the favourite that day, but on Wednesday will be getting more and he looks an obvious type at a big price to go well in the race.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/12/22WET19.5GS11-63
19/11/22ASC17Gd10-77
29/10/22ASC17Gd11-77
13/04/22CHL20.5Gd11-24
05/03/22NBY20Sft11-78
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 16:50
6
Paul Townend

Kilcruit

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 6
Weight: 11-5
OR: 139
Days: -42

The final event on day two is the Grade One Chamion Bumper and our win selection in the event is the Willie Mullins trained Kilcruit.

The six year old is a very talented gelding who bounced on to the racing scene in the last race before the first lockdown in Ireland, finishing second to stablemate Captain Kangaroo.

He was originally trained by Tony Mullins and this season he has now been given to his brother Willie and on debut in December he got him off to a winning start.

The gelding went on to land a decent bumper by close to 10 lengths emphatically pulling away from a good field.

Last time out he headed to the Dublin Racing Festival and in what was a quickly run Grade Two event, he picked apart the field on the bridle to land the event by 12 lengths hard held.

Although that race slightly fell apart he was visually a very nice winner and if improving again could be a monster.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
05/02/23LEO21Y11-105
26/12/22LIM19.5Sft/Hy11-123
19/11/22PUN19.5Y11-121
29/04/22PUN19.5Gd/Y11-104
15/03/22CHL16.5GS11-73
Cheltenham - March 17 2021
Cheltenham 16:50
10
Jack Kennedy

Three Stripe Life

J:
 
Jack Kennedy
T:
 
Mrs Denise Foster
Age: 5
Weight: 11-5
OR: 124

Our each way shout in the race is the Denise Foster trained Three Stripe Life, who looks to be a very big player off the back of what he did on his only start.

The son of Leading Light is thought of very highly by his yard and on debut in January showed just how good he can be when taking a 13 runner event by nine lengths.

What was most impressive that day was how he won without coming off the bridle, but also the time he clocked showing off some seriously smart speed figures.

At 8/1 he is a huge each way player and could put it up to the favourites in the contest.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
29/12/22LEO24Sft11-10F
04/12/22FAI20Sft11-12PU
12/11/22NAA20Y/Sft11-121
29/04/22PUN19.5Gd/Y11-103
09/04/22AIN20GS11-41