Moving on now to day two. I have six rides on the card and I’ll also pass on my thoughts on the closing bumper. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that we will be racing. The course have announced an 8am inspection because of the threat of high winds so we are literally in the hands of the Gods. If the meeting is lost it will be moved to Saturday.
GALVIN (1:30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1))
Had three starts over hurdles and won every time, albeit in a lower grade so getting here in good form but this is very much the deep end. Plenty of dangers including stable companion Battleoverdoyen. I really like him – he’s a beautiful horse and what he has done is extraordinary – starting off with a bumper win, then a maiden hurdle win and then a Grade 1 win – it’s very difficult to do that and he has a high level of ability. The defection of Klassical Dream opens up the race a bit more and the strong Irish challenge includes City Island and Sams Profile, who is trained by Mouse Morris whose runners always have to be respected at Cheltenham.
DELTA WORK (2:10pm RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1))
He’s been very good all year going from a beginners chase into Grade 1 and gets here in good order. The forecast rain shouldn’t be a worry for him and he was in good fettle when schooling on the flat this week in Navan. He’s by no means a flashy horse and doesn’t do a whole lot at home but comes into this race a fresh horse after a short break. There’s been late scares over Santini and Topofthegame but both have good solid form and in a three mile novice chase it’s hard to dismiss any of them lightly. The Worlds End might be a bit of value.
FARCLAS (2:50pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3))
My fella won the Triumph Hurdle here 12 months ago but hasn’t really recaptured that form since so it’s a case of hopeful rather than confident. The ground is fine but it’s a step up in trip for him which is the unknown but it will hopefully will bring out the best – combined with the return to the Festival atmosphere. Of the (many) dangers Uradel flashed home at Leopardstown, Canardier has been very good and Dancing On My Own is coming off novice form and whilst still a maiden could go well at a big price.
CASTLEGRACE PADDY (3:30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1))
The race revolves around the magnificent Altior as he bids for a repeat win over Min. He looked in trouble last year but in the blink of an eyelid his class kicked in and he went on to win by seven lengths. It’s looking realistically like trying to pick up a place for the rest of us. The more rain the better for my fella to make it more of a slog.
BLESS THE WINGS (4:10pm Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase))
Looking forward to riding my old pal who loves this race but at 14 he’s not getting any younger and this is a really competitive renewal. If anything, last year’s winner Tiger Roll is improving with age and comes into this on the back of an impressive win over hurdles in the Boyne Hurdle in Navan. He’s got challengers all over the place here including Auvergnat, Josies Orders, Fact Of The Matter and Tea For Two who all can be given solid chances.
LETHAL STEPS (4:50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle)
Still a maiden but getting better with every run, shouldn’t be any problem with the ground. He needs to step up again here with the likes of Band Of Outlaws (in particular), Chief Justice and La Sorelita all amongst the dangers.
5:30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper
No ride here but Gordon (Elliott) has two contenders including Envoi Allen who has done everything that has been in put on front of him. I think the track will suit. I’ve been impressed too with the Paul Nicholls trained Ask For Glory who was impressive when winning his point to point and then a bumper in Chepstow. Gordon’s other runner Abacadabras ran out at Leopardstown but I’ve sat on him since and he seems in good order.
DAVY and ALASTAIR: PART 1
DAVY and ALASTAIR: PART 2
If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and include in the next blog…