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What an opening day we had yesterday with fine wins for Constitution Hill (WOW), Honeysuckle & Edwardstone, with the scores standing at the end of day 1 – UK 4 – 3 Ireland…
Another 4 Grade 1 races today, with the day ending with the Grade 1 Champion Bumper (NH Flat Race) & the highlight, could well be the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase where we could see the re-match between Shishkin & Energumene…
As for us here at AOLR HQ….
Charlie – 1 winner ( Constitution Hill ) & 1 place ( Blue Lord )
Chris – 2 places ( Blue Lord & Run Wild Fred )
Jamie – No score
Rich – 1 place ( Tea Clipper )
Time for Day 2 thoughts….
Charlie – 1.30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle
Selection – Journey With Me – 6 year old Gelding out of Mahler and Kilbarry Demon, has ran 4 times and is yet to taste defeat, Won his point to point by 12 lengths on the 29th November 2020. Was then sent to Henry De Bromhead and made debut at Gowran Park a winning one on the 12th March last year, when beating Gauldon by 13 lengths. Was sent to Leopardstown on the 29th December and beat Minella Crooner by 3 and 1/2 lengths. Won again on most recent start at Naas when beating Choice Of Words by 3 lengths on the 12th February. If showing same attitude should be in the mix, come the business end of the race with biggest threat coming from Sir Gerhard who has won his last 2 outings.
2.50 Coral Cup
Selection – Unexpected Party– 7 year old Gelding out of Martaline and Reform Act, has had just 6 career starts and has only finished outside the 1st 3 places once. Finished 2nd here on the 13th November last year when beaten 2 and 1/2 lengths by Gowel Road who he faces again today, was 2nd again on next start at Wetherby on the 26th December when beaten 1 length by The Brimming Water. Won at Ascot on latest start when beating Fils D’oudairies by 4 and 1/2 lengths. If showing same attitude as last 4 starts should be in the mix here with biggest threat coming in the shape of Gowel Road and Saint Felicien.
4.10 Glenfarclas Chase
Several key players stand their ground and all eyes will be on Tiger Roll and his Cheltenham swansong. However several at the head of the betting have questions to answer so I’m putting up Diesel D’Allier. He has run twice over the course this season, finishing 3rd and 1st in the cross-country handicaps. He was also 4th in this race 2 years ago when trained by Emmanuel Clayeux. With that experience behind him, It would be no shock should he be involved at the finish here, with several firms paying extra places, he’s my each-way pick.
4.50pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase
Popular in the ante-post markets, Buddy Rich arrives here off a very handy looking mark of 138. Not seen since November at a Fairyhouse handicap, Buddy Rich also finished an 8-length 2nd to Third Time Lucky at the October meeting, who is now rated 159. Good to soft ground seems ideal, and he should get that as long as the rain isn’t too persistant on Wednesday. Novices and second-season chasers have an excellent record in this race, while he’s also in the right weight range following recent trends. He should go well here for Gordon Elliott, who also saddled the favourite to win this race in 2020.
2:10 – Brown Advisory Novices Chase (G1)
Bravemansgame arrives at his second Cheltenham Festival hoping to make it second time lucky. He faces stiff opposition from the likes of L’Homme Presse & Ahoy Senior but Paul Nichols’ charge has the right sort of profile to win this race. So far it has been a successful first season over fences for Bravemansgame who is seeking to make it 5/5 this afternoon. The highlight of his season so far was a boxing day victory in the Grade 1 Kauto Star at Kempton where he comfortably saw of L’Homme Presse, although I’m not entirely sure if the tighter track suited Venetia Williams’s horse. Things went to plan on his prep run at Newbury where he once again jumped beautifully, which will stand him in good heart here. He’s rock solid and reports from his homework have been glowing with praise. He has rock solid credentials in this Grade 1.
5:30 – Weatherby’s Champion Bumper (G1)
Selection: Facile Vega
This year’s Champion Bumper sees potentially one of the big head to head battles of the festival. It is hard to split American Mike and Facile Vega but on the basis of his devastating Grade 2 win at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival Facile Vega gets my vote. I did mention on one of our podcasts that he was my nap of the meeting and I’m not changing my mind now. When Ted Walsh says that Facile Vega is “the best bumper horse I’ve ever seen” you have to sit up and take notice. In that Leopardstown bumper I mentioned earlier Facile Vega won hard on the bridle by 12 lengths with Patrick Mullins motionless in the saddle, it was deeply impressive. Of course this is an entirely different test and American Mike will be a tough nut to crack but I am confident that Facile Vega has all the ingredients to make it another success in the Wednesday finale for Willie Mullins.
2.50 Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3 – 4yo+ – 2m 5f….
Gowel Road – Flemensfirth X Hooygrove Samba 6yo gelding
Only had 9 career starts, all over hurdles. He has won 3 times including over C&D & ran in last years County hurdle, finishing 20/25 to Belfast Banter. His win this year was over C&D at the November meeting in a Class 2 handicap hurdle by 2 & 1/2 lengths from Unexpected Party.
His last run was at Lingfield (Very Heavy ground) in a 2m Class 2 handicap hurdle, finishing 2nd by 1 & 1/4 lengths from Metier – EACH WAY
That is all for Day 2… Thanks for popping by & we look forward to seeing you for Day 3!
All the Best – The Arseonlineracing Team