Cheltenham Festival 2013: Day Two Preview

ssDAY one wasn’t bad, was it? The highlights? The site of little Hurricane Fly tearing up the hill lifted the heart. The way Quevega cut through the pack like a knife through butter made the hairs on my neck spring to attention. And the maturity of young Brendan Powell’s ride on Golden Chieftain was incredible. I’ve not even mentioned the magician that is Ruby Walsh, who certainly had the midas touch. So who will be making the headlines on day two…

1.30: John Oaksey National Hunt Chase: A classy renewal of this four-mile marathon. Back In Focus and Buddy Bolero set a strong standard but GODSMEJUDGE ticks all the boxes and could kick-start a good day for Alan King. He should stay, will like the ground and jumps like a stag. The final piece of the jigsaw is the booking of the immensely talented Nico de Boinville and a strong jockey is crucial in this race.

2.05: Neptune Novices Hurdle: Small but select field. Pont Alexandre is a real talking horse and most people’s idea of the banker of the meeting. But he is too short in the market. Taquin Du Seuil looks a formidable opponent but the each-way value could be TWO ROCKERS, one of this blog’s early horses to follow. He is unbeaten, will like the ground and if it becomes a slog then he could spring a surprise. He cruised to victory at Haydock last time and could not have been more impressive.

2.40: RSA Chase: Ruby Walsh can do no wrong so has probably chosen the right horse here in Unioniste over Boston Bob. I’m seeking value again and I sense a shock here. Houblon Des Obeaux could nick a place but I’ll take a chance on LYREEN LEGEND who has impressed in Ireland this season.

3.20: Queen Mother Champion Chase: SPRINTER SACRE should saunter to victory but the presence of Sizing Europe and Mail de Bievre could mean it is not a total cakewalk. Can something get Sprinter Sacre off the bridle?

4.00: Coral Cup: With Wayne Hutchinson plumping for Medinas, Aidan Coleman has picked up a blinder of a spare here in MEISTER ECKHART. Fifth in the Albert Bartlett last year, he ran really well in the National Spirit and looks fairly handicapped. Fiveforthree is a fascinating runner while Cash and Go and Saphir River both carry plenty of stable confidence.

4.40: Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle: Saphir Du Rheu should take a huge amount of beating but BORDONI looks a well handicapped horse and has done little wrong.

5.15: Weatherbys Champion Bumper: Wide open but I will take a chance with FASCINO RUSTICO, whom Paul Nicholls adores. He was expected to win a hot bumper at Cheltenham back in the autumn but wasn’t quite right. He is too big at 20/1.

Who is your day two banker?

Best of luck!


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