A very enjoyable day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival. The punting did ok too. Epatante was a very good Champion Hurdle winner. As mentioned on here, if there was a new star to come out of the race it was going to Epatante. She looks very good and has that bit of class about her.
The meeting started with the Supreme, the highlighted negative on Asterion Forlonge jumping right was correct, that horse caused havoc from start to finish and resulted in two horses falling. The selected horses in the race filled the 2nd and 3rd placed spots. Abacadabras perhaps hit the front a few strides too early.
Put The Kettle on caused an upset in the Arkle, it was another second for me with Fakir D’Oudairies who missed the second last fence. That was the difference between winning a good few quid and stakes back on the EW part of the bet.
Vinndication returned more place money in the Ultima, it was a great result for Brendan Powell jnr who rode a few winners for us. Brendan deserved that and should get more rides.
The talking point of the day was Rachel Blackmore having the pants down of team Mullins on Honeysuckle. Only Paul Townend knows why he came off the rail and allowed Rachel to steal three lengths around the home turn. Benie Des Dieux really should have won, Willie was fuming in his post-race interview but fair play to Rachel.
Day 2 of the festival is always tricky, big fields handicaps and a bumper. The Ballymore Hurdle over 2m5f starts the afternoon.
It’s impossible to get away from Envoi Allen who looks special. My only worry with him, are connections trying to turn him into a middle-distance horse when he maybe wants two miles?
If Envoi Allen requires this trip, he will take a huge amount of beating. Only stamina will see him fail. Odds are for the big hitters only.
My first bet of day will be Minella Indo in the Rsa at 2:10. Everything looks spot on for this horse.
Minella Indo won the Albert Bartlett at last year’s festival. The switch to chasing has gone without a hitch, beating the likes of Captain CJ who franked the form by winning a Grade 2 next time. Trainer Henry De Bromhead hasn’t hidden his thoughts for the horse in the Cheltenham preview nights.
Conditions should have dried a little overnight, this will suit Minella Indo. If the ground is still very testing, Copperhead would be the horse staying on up the hill better than others.
The Coral Cup is a pin stick job, i’ve backed two horses. Dame De Compagnie has been saved for this race for some time and is well fancied by the yard i'm told. Priced at 11-2. At a bigger price of 16-1 EW, Champagne Well should also give you a fair run for your money.
Champagne Well hasn’t been seeing out the trip of three miles, a stiff 2m5f will be ideal and he looks to have a sound EW chance. Some bookies are paying 7 places so look out for those.
The Champion Chase has cut up with Altior out and now Chacun Pour Soi. It’s Defi Du Seuil race to lose. Cross Country, things will get very loud if Tiger Roll comes there swinging. I’d be a bit worried about the ground for him but would love to see him win. Diesel D’Allier should run a race EW at 33-1.
In the bumper I’ll be cheering on Israel Champ & Adrimel for our syndicate trainers David Pipe & Tom Lacey. Israel Champ has the best English form and looks to have a good EW chance. Adrimel will stay strongly.