Cheltenham Festival 2019 Preview – Wednesday
two of the Cheltenham Festival is set to welcome another cracking display of
Ballymore Novice Hurdle
The Irish against the English trainers is really what the Cheltenham Festival can sometimes be about and ante-post favourites, Champ and Battleoverdoyen are poised for a fascinating clash in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. This contest kicks off day two of the Festival. Open to horses four years and older it welcomes a field of 16 interesting runners.
Nicky Hederson’s stable star Champ will be ridden by Barry Geraghty. Champ quickened clear to win Grade 1 Challow at Newbury in December; and is certainly a strong contender.
stats prove that six of the last nine winners started their racing careers in
Irish point to points.
Gordon Elliott’s Battleoverdoyen is certainly going to set a strong standard in the race and the six year old is set to be steered by Jack Kennedy. Straight from a bumper to hurdle and then went on to win a Grade 1 – he will be one to watch. He has also had a nice length break since his last run where on his last outing he proved he’s a high-class novice when bagging a two mile and four furlong, Grade 1 at Naas in January.
City Island is a horse who is also a little bit under the radar and once he keeps his cool he may be one to keep an eye on.
Others to watch include Dan Skelton trained Beakstown and Ricard Johnson’s Brewin’upastorm.
The RSA Chase
prove that ten of the last twelve winners were seven years old – but who is set
to take this usually wide open three and a half mile furlong competition?
boasts a successful three from three record over fences this season and is set
to be partnered by champion jockey Davy
Russell – who has described the six year old as “very unassuming but very athletic, he has taken very well to
fences and won a Grade 1 at las month.
He is also very versatile when it comes to ground conditions.”
Nicky Henderson’s stable star Santini, although in a bid to be fit on time, has been a talking point in this race. Regular rider Nico de Boinville has been booked for the Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old. He is a strong contender and off the back of a respectable third place in a Grade 1 at Kempton in December.
A usually very open race, this year the front three really have a strong hand in this race and the third horse to make up this triplet is Paul Nicholls trained Topofthegame. His hurdle game is strong and he was 2nd in Coral Cup. A horse who continues to improve and progress, he is a big player and on his last outing he won a Grade 1 at Kempton. The seven year old will be ridden by Harry Cobden.
The Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
full field of 26 runners go to post in this two miles and five furlongs handicap.
Willie Mullins trained and ante post favourite Uradel’s appeal is very clear but watch out for a return to form fromn Alan Fleming trained Tully East who has run very well at two Festivals in the past. However if the going goes to just soft, he will be in trouble.
Farclas comes with the strong team of Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell behind him – 2018 Triumph Hurdle winner here; disappointing since; new trip looks like a good move. The five year old will be one to watch at each way.
Nicky Henderson’s Apple’s Shakira has minor honours when favourite for top four year old races last spring; however pulled up on return. This is a new trip for the five year old and owner J.P Mc Manus will be hopeful the mare will return to winning ways.
The Queen Mother Champion
The Champion Chase,
the feature race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival is all about Altior who’s won his last 17 starts
including this contest last season.
agile, astounding are all words that have been used to describe the favourite.
The son of High Chaparral is a ray
of sunshine to watch race and the question hangs in the air, this going to be a
one horse race? It certainly looks rather one sided on paper. I think one can
not only describe the seven year old as all of the above, but also as the most
talented chaser in training.
very difficult to look past Altior and barring an accident he should be making
it 18 wins in a row and a second Champion Chase.
sends Min into yet another Altior
battle. The Willie Mullins trained eight year old has won on his last two
starts but has not had to run within a stone of the level he did when runner up
here last year. Willie Mullins must be getting sick of seeing Altior as he’s
inmate also chased him in the Supreme in 2017!
the others, Sceau Royal is another
Grade 1 winning novice chaser from last season that’s found life tough this
season. He was well beaten in the Tingle Creek behind Altior earlier in the
season. I struggle to see him troubling the principals but could be a player
for the place markets.
The Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase)
Tiger Roll is
the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to the Cross Country three miles and
six furlongs challenge. A small, but mighty horse, he has a heart of a lion. At
even money, he will be the one to beat.
nine year old took the title of the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival
last year and has won at the Cheltenham track twice previous to this. His celeb
status comes from his stellar performance where he won the Grand National at
Aintree in 2018 partnered with Davy Russell.
for a repeat of last year, Keith Donoghue
will take the ride on Gordon Elliott’s superstar for the second year in a
row at the Festival.
trainer to this race is Limerick man Enda Bolger who brings two talented bank
horses to the field.
is set to be ridden by Mark Walsh
and has certainly plenty of experience in this race. The eleven year old is a
four time C & D winner and won’t be far behind the favourite.
mate Auvergnat will be ridden by
Donal Mc Inerney and comes off the back of a stylish winning performance at the
Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown last December.
The nine-year-old also finished fourth on his last two outings in this race and so will certainly be one to watch at an each-way price. He will be wearing blinkers which may help.
Fred Winter Juvenile
typically wide-open renewal this race will host a field of 22 runners. This
handicap hurdle hosts an interesting field and Gordon Elliott trained Lethal Steps will be one to watch. The four
year old has shown some aptitude for hurdling and is judged on his useful Flat
form. Set to be ridden by Davy Russell.
post favourite Band Of Outlaws will
be ridden by JJ Slevin. The Joseph O’Brien
trained four year old sidesteps the Triumph for this contest. The son of Fast
Company has won on his last two track appearances – the latter being a stylish performance
at Naas last month to win the 2 mile Rated Novice Hurdle.
Star Max represents
Owning Hill based trainer Joseph O’Brien. He has improved each run over hurdles
and his previous history on the flat in Germany is good. Ridden by Rachael
Blackmore he will be one to consider as the four year old won on his last
outing at Gowran Park where he kept on well.
Mullins has dominated this Grade 1 for many years winning it nine times and will
be aiming for the tenth. Blue Sari is Mullins only entry and is set to be
ridden by Barry Geraghty in the two and a half mile challenge.
Codd takes the ride on Envoi Allen for trainer Gordon Elliott. He is a strong
contender and comes off the back of a Grade 2 win at Leopardstown last month. Previous
to this he won three bumpers previous to this.
to keep an eye on include Gordon Elliott’s Abacadabras and Ask For Glory who is
representing Paul Nicholls yard.
this has been a springboard race for certain horse careers in the past and will
make an interesting contest.
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