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Cheltenham Festival 2021: Day Two Preview


The Cheltenham Festival rolls into day two, where Irish handler Willie Mullins saddles two stars in Monkfish and Chacun Pour Soi. Here we preview their chances along with tips and insight for all the big race action... 

1.20 - Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

Bob Olinger, darling of the Cheltenham Preview Night circuit, has been backed into favouritism now ahead of fellow Irish challenger Gaillard Du Mensil. The case for the former is plain to see, having finished second to the Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow on his first outing over obstacles, he’s since followed up by winning a Grade 1 in easy fashion. Gaillard Du Mensil, also a Grade 1 winner deserves to be this short in the betting but the form achieved by Henry De Bromhead’s charge looks stronger. Of the domestic challengers, Bravemansgame has achieved considerably more than Bear Ghylls and looks a future star for Paul Nicholls, but he might get tapped for toe by Bob Olinger for all that he’s guaranteed to see out the trip. 

Smarkets 1-2-3

  1. Bob Olinger
  2. Bravemansgame
  3. Gaillard Du Mensil

1.55 - Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

Another Irish ‘banker’ heads the betting in the form of Monkfish, and last year’s Albert Bartlett winner looks almost unopposable here. He’s been imperious in victory this season with two Grade 1 successes, putting Latest Exhibition to the sword last time out by 11 lengths. However despite winning here last season, he didn’t look totally comfortable around Prestbury Park with his class getting him home in front. Fortunately, he looks to have scared away any real opposition of note with course-and-distance winner The Big Breakaway most likely to follow him home unless Eklat De Rire can kick on from his Grade 3 win last time out. 

Smarkets 1-2

  1. Monkfish
  2. The Big Breakaway

3.05 - Queen Mother Champion Chase

The Champion Chase is one of very few prizes that has eluded Willie Mullins but he has every chance of clinching a first victory in the race this year with Chacun Pour Soi. The nine-year-old’s exploits in Ireland make him the rightful market leader here, the elusive question is whether he’ll handle Cheltenham on debut there. However, in a similar way to his stablemate Monkfish, given the opposition, or lack thereof, he might get away with winning this regardless. 

Nube Negra beat absent Altior convincingly over Christmas at Kempton but has looked to struggle with the demands of Cheltenham whenever lining up here. Politologue won a sub-standard renewal of this race last year and would need a deluge of rain to be considered, for all that he’s very likely to finish in the front three. Put The Kettle On has a lot to find with Chacun Pour Soi and most of the field on figures but gets a very handy mares’ allowance, loves Cheltenham, and holds the likes of Rouge Vif and Notebook on known form. Finally, First Flow, who was so impressive in the Clarence House, could go well at a price but this will be a very different contest and is another who has to prove himself at Cheltenham. 

Smarkets 1-2-3

  1. Put The Kettle On
  2. Chacun Pour Soi
  3. First Flow

Elsewhere on day two…

Nicky Henderson has won the last two renewals of the Coral Cup at 2.30 and looks to hold a strong hand again this year with Craigneiche, Birchdale and Monte Cristo. It’s the latter who's most interesting after a really taking performance at Kempton over Christmas. Embittered continues to move in only one direction - the right one - in the Grand Annual market at 4.15. Joseph O’Brien also has Us And Them in the race who has gone well in this contest before. While Mullins almost certainly holds the key to the Champion Bumper, Dan Skelton’s Elle Est Belle was impressive in victory in a Listed bumper here and should be in the frame again. 

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