Cheltenham Festival heads into its second day after a dramatic opening day saw Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle claim a fairytale victory. Here, Express Sport bring you all the best betting tips for the second day.
ENERGUMENE can mount a successful defence of his Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.30) title at the Cheltenham Festival. Willie Mullins’ mudlover won the day two feature easily 12 months ago – and is fancied to double up.
On a soggy day at Prestbury Park, Energumene reaped the rewards of a more patient ride from Paul Townend. Brighton FC owner Tony Bloom’s horse made stealthy headway through the field – and took the lead with two fences to jump.
Asked to assert, Energumene pulled eight-and-a-half lengths clear of Funambule Siviola, one of today’s six opponents. Editeur Du Gite and Edwardstone had Energumene just over six lengths behind when the Irish raider suffered a shock defeat in the Clarence House Chase in January.
Mullins felt the odds on favourite’s jumping was not as slick as it might have been – and he is fancied to bounce back from the rare Cheltenham defeat. Last season’s Arkle hero Edwardstone ran a mighty race in second, coming there to win but his effort flattened out a touch up the hill. After a setback, Alan King has him back at his peak, but on ratings he still has 5lb to find with Energumene.
IMPAIRE ET PASSE can give Willie Mullins his sixth win in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. The Closutton maestro saddles four of the ten runners, but the selection is the right choice for punters.
Fresh from victory in the same Punchestown Grade Two Mullins took with top notch performers Vautour and Douvan, he has the right temperament to see out today’s longer trip.
THE REAL WHACKER is fancied to thwart the Irish challenge in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. One of just 20 horses trained by Patrick Neville, his stable star has thrived for the switch to fences.
The course and distance scorer’s stamina is guaranteed and he took the same Grade Two prep race as last year’s winner L’Homme Presse. Favourite Gerri Colombe is one to take on, with no Cheltenham experience and just one outing at a left-handed track.
CAPTAIN CONBY has the credentials to take charge in the Coral Cup. Keith Donoghue’s mount is shorter in the betting than his length and three quarters Punchestown conqueror San Salvador. And it is easy to see why, with his unexposed handicapping profile and ability to close from off the pace.
FRANCO DE PORT is tipped to defy Gordon Elliott’s duo Delta Work and Galvin in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
One of the few Festival races Willie Mullins has not won, the new test over the banks and hedges look ideal for the regular Grade One competitor. Over today’s trip, he finished third in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil, evidence of his adaptability.
Only two favourites have come good in the last ten renewals of the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase. SIZING POTTSIE, well-handicapped on old form in first-time blinkers, is the tentative choice from prolific scorer Final Orders.
FACT TO FILE heads Willie Mullins’ ten-strong team in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper. Hopes are high he will reverse Leopardstown form with JP McManus’ new acquisition A Dream To Share, granted a stronger pace.
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