Punters went into Wednesday with profits in their pockets and looking to land another body blow on the bookies. If they had learned anything it was to oppose the market in the biggest races.
|13:30||Ballymore Novices Hurdle||City Island 8/1|
|14:10||RSA Chase||Topofthegame 4/1|
|14:50||Coral Cup||William Henry 28/1|
|15:30||Queen Mother Champion Chase||Altior 4/11|
|16:10||Glenfarclas Chase||Tiger Roll 5/4|
|16:50||Juvenile Handicap Hurdle||Band of Outlaws 7/2|
|17:30||Champion Bumper||Envoi Allen 2/1|
What are the Cheltenham Festival tips for Day Two Wednesday?
Wednesday 13 March brought us many more delights with another seven-race card headlined by the Queen Mother Champion Chase, one we had all been looking forward to in the build-up.
As well as the bill-topper, day two served up a host of Grade 1 contests,including the Ballymore Novices Hurdle which brought the curtain up and the RSA Novices Chase.
Plenty to get through and the results of the previous day suggested making a profit would be like shooting fish in a barrel, but the sport of gentleman rarely goes to plan and, as experienced backers, we know bookmakers don’t like to make things easy for us.
Lets peel back the results and look at the winners and losers on day two at Prestbury Park.
13:30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle Tips
Day two picked up where day one left off – the Ballymore resulting in yet another beaten favourite and a punter friendly winner.
City Island was included in a 16-runner pack that went into this renewal and traders attached an 8/1 price tag to Barssil’s competitor, suggesting it stood a decent chance of grabbing a place but looked up against it if wanting to claim a spot in the history books.
Following a 2m 5f battle on improving ground, the six-year-old gelding proved his doubters wrong when scooting home to win by two lengths ahead of runner-up Champ at 9/2 with Bright Forecast completing the top-three for Pauling and de Boinville off an SP 25/1, a further s 2 lengths off the pace, staying on doggedly without ever troubling the winner.
City Island’s win was made all the more impressive by the fact he encountered his fair share of traffic and trouble along the way, finding racing room difficult to come by when trying to lay down a challenge, before being untimely hampered three from home.
When he did get the space needed and Walsh kicked him on, there only ever looked to be one winner.
Battleoverdoyen went to post as the race favourite but Gordon Elliott’s runner failed to complete the trip when being pulled up by Kennedy after weakening through the field. Something was obviously not right, and he was saved from inflicting any further damage.
A dozen of the original 16 finished, the fav joined by Beakstown, Castlebawn West, and Dunvegan.
Ballymore Novices Hurdle Result:
- 1st City Island 8/1
- 2nd Champ 9/2
- 3rd Bright Forecast 25/1
14:10 RSA Insurance Novices Chase
The popular Grade 1 was decided over the three-mile trip and with the sun shining and the ground drying marked as good to soft in places we had all the ingredients for a spectacular renewal of this race. All we needed was the entrants to play their part to ensure the contest lived up to the hype and we’re glad to say they all did their bit, and then some.
A dozen runner list was headed by Delta Work in the betting and Gordon Elliot’s hope was sent off as one of the shortest prices of the week at 15/8, but it was another that failed to do the business and the small number of players still placing their trust in the betting once again had their fingers burnt.
Russell sat on the jolly and the pair didn’t do a lot wrong, leading the field three from home but they were passed at the business end of the contest and eventually done for speed.
Delta Work had a few bumps and scrapes in the closing stages, but he stayed on at the one pace, lacking the change of gear needed and that meant he finished in third, with nothing challenging in behind, fourth placed Mister Malarky 16 lengths away in eth distance.
That left Topofthegame and Santini in a two-way battle for the prize and it was the former who came good, scoring by a length in a gripping run-in. Paul Nicholls’ star landed backers a 4/1 gamble and we saw flashes of his grit and determination to stick is head in front. Henderson’s Santini wasn’t disgraced in defeat, jockey Nico de Boinville held by the narrowest of margins.
Three horses were pulled-up, On The Blind Side, The World’s End and 100/1 poke Drinks Interval but they were expected to challenge. Sean Quinlan had hoped Top Ville Ben would fare better than his 33/1 price and he was prominent, before falling at the sixth obstacle.
RSA Chase Result:
- 1st Topofthegame 4/1
- 2nd Santini 3/1
- 3rd Delta Work 15/8
14:40 Coral Cup
Not in the same league as the two that went before it on Wednesday, the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle is a Grade 3 race over 2m 5f, but fans really do seem to value this one and that’s down to the big fields and value in the betting, with the antepost and pre-race market often wide-open.
It’s one that sees bookies price up their thoughts, leaving plenty of room for manoeuvre, before sitting back and letting punters have their say. That’s music to the ears of backers who enjoy taking advantage of any indecision on the trading floors.
In the end, the winner was a fair reflection of just how competitive this race is, with William Henry banking the £56,000 prize money for connections, while supporters saw their betting balances swell with the proceeds from a 28/1 winner.
The champion was impressive, no doubt about that, but he was made to work every inch of the way for his prize, eventually crossing the line a short-head better than Wicklow Brave in second, a 28/1 play himself.
A stunning battle to the line, William Henry was delivered to perfection by Nico de Boinville, hitting the front and staying on strongly when push came to shove, leaving rival Wicklow Brave with a bitter feel of what could have been.
Connections found it a hard pill to swallow but they know their runner performed admirably and will come on for the experience.
Ballyandy was third at 14/1 in a bunch finish, ending a length behind the first two for the Twiston-Davies team. Where was the favourite? Nowhere to be seen, again, but it’s difficult to be too hard on 13/2 shot Uradel as he headed what was a fiercely competitive betting market.
Despite being trained by Willie Mullins and having Ruby Walsh in the saddle, backers got no better than seventh for their stake money. 16/1 shot Erik Le Rouge was one of six who failed to finish.
Coral Cup Result:
- 1st William Henry 28/1
- 2nd Wicklow Brave 28/1
- 3rd Ballyandy 14/1
15:30 Champion Chase Tips
Race of the day went to post at 3.30pm with a snappy nine-runner field printed in the programme.
With over £225,000 paid to the winner, it was no major shock to see the sport’s biggest names in attendance, including Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty.
We had to wait until race six for the first winning favourite on Tuesday but leg four gave us a champion jolly on Wednesday, and what a champion it was.
The 2019 Queen Mother Champion Chase Grade 1 over 1m 7f was won by Altior who had dominated the antepost betting of this race and a few others at the festival. It wasn’t immediately clear which contest he would run in, but handlers picked this out as his best chance of landing the winner’s cheque and that proved to be spot-on.
Sent off a 4/11 shot and talked about like he had the race wrapped up before a stride was made, the victor certainly didn’t disappoint. Altior is a well-bred runner who seems to get better with every outing.
He has experience in some of the most important races and just oozed class on the day. It’s not often we see a favourite win this race as easily as Altior did, but he strolled across the line king of the day, making headlines in every major sports publication and website.
Nico De Boinville sat proudly in the saddle of this machine and had to settle his nerves after a few iffy jumps in the early part of the race, but once Altior hit his stride there really was going to be only one outcome.
Known for his guts as well as his ability, the eventual winner had a fight on his hands in the final few furlongs and was briefly headed by runner-up Politologue, but he stayed on well, showcasing his speed to pop back in front when it mattered.
Politologue ended just shy of two lengths behind the winner who seemed to be running away from him at the finish, but he came out of the day with credit and will win his share of big races next season.
Sceau Royal made up the top three when 1 behind, but six better than Hells Kitchen back in fourth. Altior joined an exclusive list of winners who have tasted glory in this steeplechase, with the history stretching all the way back to 1959.
Quita Que was entered into the history books as the first winner, with Altior doing the business in each of the last two years. Will he be aimed at the hat-trick?
The most successful horse in this race over the years has been the famous Badsworth Boy who was victorious in 1983, 1984 and 1985. Altior to match that in 2018, 2019 and 2020? You’ll find early betting at major bookmakers on him achieving what would be a remarkable feat.
Champion Hurdle Result:
- 1st Altior 4/11
- 2nd Politologue 11/1
- 3rd Sceau Royal 16/1
16:10 Glenfarclas Chase
The cross country chase may be one for the sport’s purists but bookmakersm did their bit by going up early with an antepost book and offering value to those who wanted to spice up the 3m 6f slog with an interest on the outcome.
Tiger Roll coming off the back of last year’s Grand National success and a few weeks before we was to go on to make history for two-in-a-row at Aintree was the obvious favourite and it’s fair to say he lived up to the billing.
Gordon Elliott has a real horse for the ages here and he would’ve known that before the 2018 Grand National.
With the public now aware of what to expect from Tiger Roll the majority of the early money came for him winning at Prestbury Park, as well as plenty more of the day.
After an engrossing contest, the horse entrusted to the capable hands of Donoghue was declared champion by an almost unbelievable 22 lengths.
Keeping this result in mind, we can’t say we weren’t warned his Aintree success was in the pipeline and one group who certainly took note was bookmakers who had him priced at 5/4 to win the Cross Country and short odds to add the Aintree prize.
All the talk before the start was about Tiger Roll’s quality, and all the talk at the end concerned just how far this supremely talented nine-year-old gelding can go in the game. There were 14 other runners in the race, but you would be forgiven for not knowing it.
Josies Orders finished second at 15/2, with Urgent De Gregaine third off a decent 17/2 starting price.
That left shrewd backers to pick through the best of the rest and Josies Orders did put in a decent effort, despite failing to land a blow on Tiger Roll, which is easy to forgive. Bolger’s 11-year-old will win again in future, as long as he’s kept well-clear of the champion, which we imagine he will be.
15 runners went into the race but only 10 finished.
Auvergnat was pulled up by McInerney, joined by Bless The Wings, Devils Bride and the fancied Ultragold, while Tea For Two dumped rider Lizzie Kelly on the seat of her pants at the 21st, something many saw coming following a nervy round of jumping.
It’ll be very interesting to see where Tiger Roll goes from here. Does he still have something to prove?
Could he go back in a bid to join Red Rum as a three-time winner of the Grand National and will he be back delighting crowds at the Cheltenham Festival. Perhaps, with the great horse owing them nothing, Gigginstown may think Tiger Roll has done his bit for the cause and deserves to run out his days in retirement.
That’s a story well worth following and punters can act quickly and get in to back him to win the 2020 Grand National, as well as races of note at next year’s festival.
Glenfarclas Chase Result:
- 1st Tiger Roll 5/4
- 2nd Josies Orders 15/2
- 3rd Urgent De Gregaine 17/2
Registered as the Fred Winter, a sizeable portion of the crowd remained in place to watch the running of this year’s two-mile Grade 3, resisting the urge to go off and celebrate another great win for Tiger Roll at a starting price that looked to be on the generous side judging by his winning margin.
Punters were challenged to pick the best of a 21-runner field and they got, for the second day on the trot, a winning favourite in the penultimate leg.
JP O’Brian’s Band of Outlaws was sent off 7/2 favourite and he encountered little trouble when winning the race, finishing two lengths ahead of nearest rival Coko Beach, who crossed the line in second at 14/1.
The victor was the quickest of the pack and proved it beyond doubt when recovering from a lack of racing room – having to switch sides late before going on to lead and put the race to bed well before the finish.
He appeared in a fair few accumulators and did his bit for the cause. Coko Beach did well to end as the nearest challenger under the ride of Jack Kennedy and he led during the early exchanges, but trainer Gordon Elliott could ask to more from his runner, with all concerned knowing they had been beaten by the more talented horse on the day.
Ciel De Neige was third at 17/2, crossing just shy of two lengths behind the second for the famed Mullins/Walsh partnership, a pairing who would’ve secretly hoped for a bit more.
Of the original 21 runners, most managed to complete the trip and, at the very least, give backers a run for their stake money, but there were two who failed to get home and another one who was scratched as a non-runner. 16/1 shot Beat The Judge had been nibbled at on the approach to the off and backers were let down when we was taken out of the race.
The two pulled up were 14/1 runner Dogon for Nicholls and Cobden and 33/1 poke OI The Club Oi’s for Williams and O’Brien.
Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Result:
- 1st Band of Outlaws 7/2
- 2nd Coko Beach 14/1
- 3rd Ciel De Neige 17/2
17:30 Champion Bumper
The final race of what was an incredible Wednesday that seemed to have something for everyone.
The bookies got a few favourites beat, lovers of an outsider had plenty to cheer, followers of the market picked up a profit by throwing together a couple of market leaders, we got a major clue as to the winner of the 2019 Grand National and we also saw Altior move a step closer to the Queen Mother Champion Chase history books. It’s little wonder the Cheltenham Festival has a special place in the hearts of sports fans and casual followers of the horse racing scene.
The Weatherbys Champion Bumper is Grade 1 National Hunt flat race that pulled the shutters down on Wednesday’s spectacle. Another race where the favourite did a bit for multiple backers and helped close the gap between the outsiders and favs, the latter still lagging behind at this point of the week but looking like a catch up was fast approaching.
Gordon Elliott trusted his Envoi Allen to the experienced hands of Wexford jockey Jamie Codd and that was to prove a wise move as the team were the last to be paraded in the winner’s enclosure on day two of the festival.
The edge may have been taken off the excitement by this time, with a few of the major television stations who were beaming pictures live across the world packing up for the day, but there was a treat for those who kept tabs on this one.
Envoi Allen was given a patient ride by Codd before challenging three out. He has the speed and skill to call upon and did just that when responding to encouragement from his rider.
The five-year-old gelding moved through the gears to hit the front in the final furlong and was pushed out to the line, leaving Blue Sari a length back as a 7/2 runner-up. Thyme Hill ended third in the final order, each-way backers collecting the place money from an SP 20/1. 14 runners went and all 14 got home safely, which was a fitting way to end what had been a difficult day for some owners and trainers.
The jolly did as was predicted by traders but those paying close attention would’ve marked down Blue Sari as one to keep on the right side of next season following a decent showing.
Ridden by Geraghty for Mullins, the progressive four-year-old had run only once before and that was when winning on debut at Gowran earlier that year in a two miles flat race, hammering pre-race favourite Front View by 11 lengths.
He absolutely dazzled that day and didn’t look out of place when pushing the winner hard at Cheltenham in a massive step up in class. More to come from this one.
Champion Bumper Result:
- 1st Envoi Allen 2/1
- 2nd Blue Sari 7/2
- 3rd Thyme Hill 20/1
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