HISTORY in the Champion Hurdle – well done Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle – but now for the Champion Chase and a sweet, tasty favourite!
Yes racing fans, it’s Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival and all eyes are on Chacun Pour Soi in the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase over a blistering two miles.
This is always one of my favourite races that has thrown up greats like Badsworth Boy and Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre and Altior, Barnbrook Again and Moscow Flyer.
Not forgetting the super tough Viking Flagship who just gave his all.
Chacun Pour Soi had to miss this event last year with a last minute setback, but I have little doubt he will hack all over today’s field and he should be much shorter in the betting in my book.
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Some will say he might not like the track, but there’s no evidence of that and those who believe he’s a weak finisher are clueless in my book.
He’s just a top class horse for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend and I expect him to score for Rich Ricci.
Day 2 gets under way on ITV with the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle over 2m5f.
BRAVEMANSGAME has done nothing wrong for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden and it’s hard for anyone to say he wasn’t really impressive at Newbury when last seen.
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Then he landed the Grade 1 Challow by ten lengths from Star Gate and I think the latter is a really smart performer.
It’s hard to judge the British form against the Irish but I have a feeling the Nicholls runner will be hard to stop.
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Next is the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices' Chase over an extended 3m. This won’t take very long!
If MONKFISH had been in the Gold Cup I would have been tipping him up and I think you could argue he’s big odds here even though for most he looks short.
Quite simply he’s been faultless in three chase wins, and his hurdling ability was top class as a winner of the Albert Bartlett.
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Before the Champion is a Grade 3 handicap hurdle over 2m5f. A wide open heat!
If the cheekpieces sharpen up THOMAS DARBY he might run a big one here for Aidan Coleman and Olly Murphy.
Obviously carrying top weight of 11st 12lb will not make it easy, but he has been a few pounds higher in his time and his runs at Kempton and Aintree recently were pretty good for handicap company. I’m hoping for a big each way effort.
After the Champion Chase is the Cross Country over 3m6f. The David Cottin stable is not in good form, but EASYSLAND was being talked about as a Gold Cup horse this time last year and his comeback run here was far from disgraceful.
He stays well and gets the expertise of Felix de Giles which is no bad thing. Should be very hard to beat.
A Grade 3 handicap chase now over 2m. IBLEO is in tremendous form and while he has nothing in hand of the handicapper should run a big race for Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch.
Recent wins at Doncaster and Sandown have proved what good shape my hope is in.
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And finally on Day 2 the Grade 1 bumper over an extended 2m. Guessing here, but SIR GERHARD has done nothing wrong and bids to give Cheveley Park Stud a third win in a row in this event.
Willie Mullins trains and the in-form Blackmore gets the ride on a horse who has looked awesome at Down Royal and Navan.
So best of luck and pray for Yeeehaaas.
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