AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR HORSE RACING PREVIEW: Cheltenham Festival 2023 | Day Two

A solid first day thanks to El Fabiolo and Jonbon being too good in the Arkle, Derek Fox’s brilliant ride on Corach Rambler, and Gaillard Du Mesnil’s gutsy victory in the last.

The real stars of the show were Constitution Hill and Honeysuckle, giving us one of the great hours of national hunt racing in recent memory with victories of different styles, but almost equal significance. The scenes after those two performances will live long in the memory.

Before the Day 2 preview, some housekeeping:

We’re now down to 16 in the tipping competition – see the first round results and second round ties by clicking below:

Cheltenham Knockout Tipping Competition

Our man Davy Russell is back in the saddle for four rides on Wednesday, and you can read his blog here:

DAVY RUSSELL blog: Cheltenham Festival WEDNESDAY

And last but never least, don’t forget our money back offer! It would have been a real comfort for backers of Facile Vega, Jonbon, State Man, Fastorslow and Byker today – not a bad list of horses to get a free bet from – and applies all week!

1.30 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m5f

A fascinating and strong looking renewal where Champ Kiely could be the overlooked contender. Sent off a short price for the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, he pulled his chance away but was much better when sent front running in the Lawlor’s Novice Hurdle at Naas in January. The two hurdles in the straight were omitted but he’s a sound jumper and beat a solid yardstick in Irish Point whilst the third and fourth placed horses have links to graded performers. The ground won’t be an issue either for him and 15/2 looks to be a big price.

Favourite Impaire Et Passe has impressed with his jumping and turn of foot in a Naas maiden (2m3f) and the Moscow Flyer (2m), but on bare form he’s become short now and he’s not the only horse with promise or more to give here. Barry Connell’s Good Land travelled beautifully and showed plenty of speed when landing the Nathaniel Lacy Hurdle at Leopardstown; he’s an obvious player here even if he’s facing speedier types today.

Hermes Allen hasn’t put a foot wrong either, taking apart his field in a C&D trial and then sauntering home in the Challow when beating a subsequent Grade 2 winner (Marble Sands fifth, didn’t enjoy ground) without coming off the bridle, whilst Gaelic Warrior’s performance when turning the Liffey Handicap Hurdle into a procession was a huge effort, although his tendency to jump to his right is a worry here.

Ho My Lord could be anything after a really comfortable win at Navan in February whilst American Mike has a point to prove here and may be more of a stayer long term. Master Chewy and Persian Time don’t look good enough.

2.10 – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Broadway Novices’ Chase) (3m½f (3m80y)

This may be more open than the betting suggests for all that Gerri Colombe is a strong and worthy favourite after 2 Grade 1 wins at shorter trips. His best work has come at the end of his races and he should be even better here, although he’s been well found at 11/10. Sir Gerhard is a very classy horse but it’s impossible to recommend him after just one chasing start, an easy win when he learned little to nothing against just two rivals at Gowran.

The Real Whacker has been a revelation over fences and could give the favourite the most to do after his game win in the Dipper (Thunder Rock a staying on third). He can jump to his right slightly but otherwise hasn’t put a foot wrong over the bigger obstacles and needs serious respect.

Thyme Hill is the top-rated horse here (albeit by just a pound) and he would have a serious chance if putting his best foot forward when jumping, like he did at Kempton in the Kauto Star novice chase. He should get a good gallop to aim at here and will benefit from an attritional race so has to be considered an each/way player.

Galia Des Liteaux has impressed in her two wins but her jumping didn’t stand up to the pressure when she got behind and was pulled up in the Kauto Star. Ramillies and Adamantly Chosen (latter named behind Gerri Colombe earlier this season) probably need to improve and that’s the case with Amirite, Bronn and I Am Maximus.

None of the contenders appeal enough to put up here, with Gerri Colombe looking the one to beat whilst Thyme Hill could be an ideal placepot option.

2.50 – Coral Cup (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (2m5f)

Last year saw The Shunter land the £100,000 Morebattle Bonus and if Benson is able to back up his win at Kelso 11 days ago then he’s got to be given an each/way chance. Runner up on his first three starts for Sandy Thompson, since cheekpieces have been reapplied he’s won by 11 lengths at Musselburgh and landed a high class renewal of the Morebattle Hurdle (last year’s County Hurdle second Colonel Mustard second). A 5lbs penalty for that is fair and he won’t mind the ground if it gets much softer either.

There are loads of other contenders – it’s the Coral Cup – and Run For Oscar, HMS Seahorse, Sa Frureur and Riann made the most appeal for placepot purposes although it’s a long list.

3.30 – Queen Mother Champion Chase (2m) (1m7f199y)

A belting rematch between the 1-2-3 in the Clarence House Chase which can be won by Edwardstone. A comprehensive winner of the Arkle here last year, he bounced back from a tired run at Aintree to slam Greaneteen by an incredible nine lengths in the Tingle Creek on his seasonal reappearance. After an unseat in the Desert Orchid, he almost pulled back Editeur Du Gite in the Clarence House after making multiple lengths in the home straight, being possibly unlucky not to win considering the energy exerted. He was outbattled that day, having gone a head up, but with a better tactical run he can reverse that form.

Energumene – reportedly unsettled by the white markings on fences here when third in the Clarence House – won this last year in emphatic style from Funambule Sivola after the rain had fallen and was sent off a very short price for the Clarence House when a last fence blunder ended his chances, but he was getting the worst of the argument despite having a better trip than Edwardstone and has questions to answer here.

Editeur Du Gite was a brilliant front running winner of the Clarence House who reminds one of Sire de Grugy, the 2014 winner of this race for the same connections. He’ll run a big race but he may not get as much rope this time around, even though the old course should suit him more than the new one.

Funambule Sivlola upset Greaneteen in the Game Spirit last time when the former returned to form and the latter was below par, but both that pairing and Captain Guinness look exposed against the top three. Nube Negra – an unlucky second in this two years ago – couldn’t live with Editeur Du Gite at Kempton and needs to find a new career best to be involved here.

4.10 – Cross Country Chase (3m6f) (3m6f37y)

Gordon Elliott’s enjoyed so much success over these fences, and he holds the whip hand again with last year’s winner Delta Work and Grade 1 winner Galvin. Reports of Galvin’s brilliant schooling over these fences are hard to ignore but two poor performances without much explanation are harder to forgive and Delta Work – a winner over the banks at Punchestown and then a fair third giving tons of weight on Trials Day to Back On The Lash before his sixth in the Boyne Hurdle – has been pretty much perfect in the leadup, so gets the vote, although he’s now short enough at 11/10.

Franco De Port must be given a major chance if he takes to the course, and his efforts around Auteil suggest he could be fine, making him a major each/way player here. Deise Aba, Snow Leopardess and Diesel D’Allier can all go nicely enough and could be worth looking at for each/way extra purposes.

4.50 – Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap)

Tricky fare here with JP McManus pair Andy Dufresne and Dinoblue looking to have excellent chances off their marks, although Andy Dufresne needs to bounce back after two dire runs. Gavin Cromwell’s Final Orders just hasn’t stopped improving whilst Third Time Lucki felt the benefit of a second wind operation at Sandown last time.

Last year’s winner Global Citizen is 11 now but he’s just 3lbs higher here and you can safely throw out two of his runs this season and could go well for value seekers in a no bet race from this perspective. Final Orders, Dinoblue and Global Citizen could be the ones for the Placepot.

5.30 – Champion Bumper (Grade 1) (2m½f) (2m87y) (Old)

Any amount in with a chance here including all 10 of Willie Mullins’ charges. The first pick is Fun Fun Fun, who put nine and a half lengths between her and previous Graded bumper winner Lily Du Berlais at the Dublin Racing Festival in sensational style. That marked her out as an extremely high class horse and on that evidence 8/1 is a big price about her.

The other horse against the field is A Dream To Share, who was snapped up by JP McManus after winning the Future Stars bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival (Fact To File second, Facile Mode fourth, Chosen Witness fifth). His superior speed won the day there but he wasn’t stopping at the finish and he’s the right form favourite here considering the strength in depth on show that day.


BACK Champ Kiely 1 pt each/way in 1.30 Cheltenham at 15/2 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Benson 1 pt each/way at 14/1 in 2.50 Cheltenham at 14/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Edwardstone 3 pts win in 3.30 Cheltenham at 5/4 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Fun Fun Fun 1 pt each/way in 5.30 Cheltenham at 8/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK A Dream To Share 1 pt win in 5.30 Cheltenham at 4/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

PROFIT/LOSS (MAR 2023): LOSS -9.98 points



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