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Wednesday Tips

After a good start to the Festival with a couple of winners and some of the well fancied types going in on day one we now take a look at day two. It looks another top day in store with a few big names out again


1:30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle, 2m 5f


The Stats

  • Irish trained horses have a strong record, with 8 of the last 10 winners being Irish trained

  • Class is vital, with 12 of the last 14 winners top or second top rated coming into the contest

  • Sir Gerhard winning last year become the 6th winner in the last 9 years who were coming into the contest unbeaten

  • All 13 winners from the last 13 years were bumper winners, including Sir Gerhard and Envoi Allen who both won the Champion Bumper at the previous years Festival.

  • 33 of the last 35 winners come from the top 6 in the betting, not a race for shock results

  • 36 of the last 37 winners finished either 1st or 2nd in their last start

  • Though Sir Gerhard won the race as a 7yr-old, previous to this 6yr olds had an excellent record winning 8 consecutive renewals of the race

  • 11 of the previous 15 winners were trained in Ireland, last year they had the 1,2,3 and 5 of the first 6 finishers

  • Willie Mullins has won the race 5 times

  • All of the previous 16 winners were rated 131+

  • 15 of the 16 winners finished in the top 2 on their previous start

Last 5 Winners


2022 Sir Gerhard

(Willie Mullins/Paul Townend) 8/11f


2021 Bob Olinger

(Henry De Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore) 6/4f


2020 Envoi Allen

(Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell) 4/7f


2019 City Island

(Martin Brassil/Mark Walsh) 8/1


2018 Samcro

(Gordon Elliott/Jack Kennedy) 8/11f


Verdict


This again looks a cracking renewal of the race and the obvious starting point is trainer Willie Mullins who has won the race a record 5 times previously. He saddles 4 runners, including 2 of the top 3 in the betting but the vibes behind the market leader Impaire Et Passe couldn’t be stronger, with Mullins assistant David Casey putting this up as his banker of the week.


The 5 yr-old comes into this contest with a similar profile to last years winner Sir Gerhard in that is unbeaten to date and has been a flood of money since the final declaration stage.

Gaelic Warrior is the stable-mate and could pose most problems, with the worry being his tendency to jump out to the right on this left handed track. The speed figure Gaelic Warrior put up when winning at Tramore by a mind boggling 86 lengths would be good enough to win most renewals of this race but was a right handed track and could lose vital lengths at each hurdle if continues to jump out to the right.


The Mullins inmate I feel will give Impaire Et Passe the most to think about is Champ Keily, another who may have preferred this to be a right handed track but could be right up with the pace throughout and jockey Danny Mullins thinks there are valid excuses for his Royal Bond defeat to Marine National (sent off 10/11fav) and has shown a great deal of improvement when asked to step up in trip. There looks to be a great deal of pace in this contest and could be a real stretch of stamina and may suit the Willie Mullins 7yr-old best.


Another that has to come into contention is Good Land for trainer Barry Connell, who feels was never out of a hack canter when winning at the DRF and feels will make into a Cheltenham Gold Cup horse over fences in years to come. Again, the ground will be ideal and has to be respected with a big run on the cards.


The home team will be captained by Hermes Allen in this contest but I feel he would have had a much better chance in the Albert Bartlett over 3miles rather than this more speedier test. He has been ultra impressive this season and obviously has a big future, but with the winners of the Challow Hurdle at Newbury having an awful record in this race I will look elsewhere and would be one I would be happy to lay if stood making a book in the ring.

American Mike would need to return to the level of form when 2nd to Facile Vega in last years Champion Bumper to figure in this and is hard to envisage on the form he has shown this season


Champ Keily – 8/1 Each-way

(3 places)

 

2:10 Brown Advisory Novices Chase, 3m 1/2f


The Stats


  • 7 yr-old have an excellent record winning 9 of the last 12 renewals

  • The betting market often gets the race correct, with 9 of the last 12 winners being in the top 3 in the betting

  • 10 of the last 11 winners had been priced in single figures, again pointing to the top of the betting market

  • 6 of the last 11 winners had ran in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at the previous years festival

  • All of the 16 winners had been officially rated 144 coming into the contest

  • 14 of the last 16 winners came to the festival on the back of a top 2 finished

  • 10 of the previous 1t winners had won a grade race over hurdles prior to going over the bigger obstacles

  • Course form is again vital, 14 of the last 16 winners had at least one previous run at Cheltenham


Last 5 Winners


2022 L’Homme Presse

(Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch) 9/4f


2021 Monkfish

(Willie Mullins/ Paul Townend) 1/4f


2020 Champ

(Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty) 4/1


2019 Topofthegame

(Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden) 4/1


2018 Presenting Percy

(Patrick Kelly/Davy Russell) 5/2f


Verdict


Another race that could be ran at a serious clip, therefore an emphasis needs to be on runner’s with proven stamina.


One of my best bet’s of the week in the build up to this was the Gordon Elliott trained Gerri Colombe who the stable hold in the highest regard and talk of him potentially winning the Gold Cup at the Festival in years to come. He looks all about stamina and loves softer conditions, if the ground come up quick you would have been concerned he may have been tap for toe with speedier type’s but with the ground looking to be on the softer side it really enhances his claims.


Unbeaten over fences to date, he looked slightly in trouble at Sandown when beating Balco Coastal before stamina kicked on and won in good style. The change of pace was eye catching, and with this contest looking to be run at a strong pace throughout it would be no surprise to see Gerri Colombe staying on best of all at the business end.


The Real Whacker could be popular and has the all important course form. He will likely be seen jumping well fence to fence from the front, and could catch the eye for the majority of this 3mile contest. I personally feel he may find something more classier just too good, but wouldn't put anyone off getting involved for place purposes and is sure to give you a run for your money.


This is a race where it pays to focus on the top of the market and another market principle is Sir Gerhard who will be popular having won twice at the festival already (last seasons Ballymore and previously the Champion Bumper). There is no doubting his ability but watching back his chase starts this year he really does need to brush up on his jumping, certainly not looking a natural and may make one mistake too many which could prove costly. I would also worry if he would get home over the trip, so wouldn't be one I would look to side with.


Thyme Hill is one that interests me at bigger prices and could prove the value against the short priced favourite. This is a horse that only found Flooring Porter too good in the stayers hurdle last year, and barring his appearance at Newbury has looked impressive over his fences. Trainer Phillip Hobbs fitted the headgear last time and looked to do the trick as jumped much better and the thing that really caught the eye was the way in which he stayed on really well at the finish, and as mentioned above the race is due to be run at a strong gallop which would suit Thyme Hill who is likely to be held up and played late.


There has been a lot of market support for the Dan Skelton trained Galia Des Liteaux, but again if I was race planning for the stable I would have favoured the Mares Chase later in the week rather than take on the boys here. A horse that could look to lead with The Real Whacker, and might go well for a long way but feel will be found out by a more classier type as comes in this contest rated just 146 and surely a performance in that ball park would not be good enough to win this contest.


I do think they all have Gerri Colombe to beat, and with conditions ideal he would rate one of my stronger bets of the week


Gerri Colombe - 11/8

 

2:50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle, 2m 5f


The Stats


  • 4 of the last 5 winners have been at least 20/1 – and only 2 favourites have won the race this century

  • 5 of the last 6 winners have been 7 yr-old, since 1997 only 2 horses aged older than 8 have won the race

  • Coming into the race fresh is vital, with 15 of the last 17 winners not run within 32 days of the contest

  • Nicky Henderson tends to throw plenty of arrows in this race, and won the race 4 times since 2010 including the gambled on Dame De Compagnie in 2020

  • All of the previous 13 winners had been rated between 135 and 153, 5 of the last 7 winners were rated between 140 and 151

  • One race where course form doesn’t seem to be a leading pointer, as 12 of the last 16 winners had never previously won at Cheltenham and 11 of these didn’t even run at the previous years festival

  • 12 of the last 16 winners had less than 10 hurdle runs to their name

  • 9 of the last 11 winners have a victory on their resume over at least 19 furlongs (2miles 3f)

  • 12 of the last 16 winners had won at least one Class 2 hurdle prior to the contest


Last 5 Winners


2022 Commander Of Fleet

(Gordon Elliott/Shane Fitzgerald) 50/1


2021 Heaven Help Us

(Paul Hennessy/Richard Condon) 33/1


2020 Dame De Compagnie

(Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty) 5/1


2019 William Henry

(Nicky Henderson/Nico De Boinville) 28/1


2018 Bleu Berry

(Willie Mullins/ Mark Walsh) 20/1


Verdict


One of the trickiest puzzles of the entire week, as mentioned previously during this Festival it may be worth making a shortlist and throwing a few darts at the boards for this highly competitive handicap hurdle.


The three that head my list are Langer Dan, Beacon Edge & HMS Seahorse.

The Phillip Hobbs trained Camprond would have been a major fancy for this race on quicker ground but once again the ground looks to have gone against him and maybe one to focus on for Aintree or Punchestown if they decide to go that route.


Langer Dan should be a major player and looks to have been plotted up for this race once again. It is hard to forget his run 2 seasons back when coming 9 lengths clear with none other than Galopin Des Champs (favourite for Friday’s Gold Cup) in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle and comes into this race from a mark just 6lbs higher.


He was backed into 7/2 favourite for last years Festival but was bought down by a faller but made no mistake at Aintree a few weeks later and from just a few pounds higher has to enter calculations. Could be the type to be well backed once again.


Beacon Edge could be a very interesting runner in what is a handicap debut for the 9 yr-old.

You only have to look back 2 seasons and Noel Meade’s runner was finishing an impressive 4th behind Flooring Porter in the Stayers Hurdle and rated as high as 155. He comes into this for handicap debut on a mark of just 145 and hinted at a return to form behind Blazing Khal in his prep for the festival. No surprise to see him go close given a clear run.


As mentioned earlier in the week, trainer Paul Nolan is a very shrewd cookie and all his runners on these shores deserve a second look, and you can see why a lot of judges are making a case for HMS Seahorse.


The progressive 5yr old has festival form when finishing 4th in last years Boodles but improved a great deal when stepped up in trip last time out at Navan. Up 7lbs for that victory I doubt 139 is the ceiling of his ability and would expect another big run on the cards under ideal racing conditions.


Two Irish raiders have been the subject of good market support in the last couple of days, An Epic Song for JJ Slevin, and Captain Conby for Keith Donghue who both look the types to love the underfoot conditions.


Langer Dan, Each-way – 11/1

(6 places)


HMS Seahorse, Each-way – 11/1

(6 places)

 

3:30 Queen Mother Champion Chase, 2m


The Stats


  • |15 of the last 16 winners were rated 167 or more going into the contest

  • 15 of the last 16 winners had three or less runs that season, fresh horses again are vital for this race

  • All 16 winners in the last 16 renewals were already Grade 1 winners coming into the festival

  • 13 of the last 16 winners had 13 or less career chases – not one for older legs

  • 13 of the previous 16 winners had ran at the festival in previous years

  • Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have trained 8 of the last 14 winners between them

  • Only 5 of the last 17 favourites were successful in the race

  • A race for 2mile specialists, 14 of the last 18 winners had all registered at least 3 wins at the distance prior to the contest


Last 5 Winners


2022 Energumene

(Willie Mullins/Paul Townend) 5/2


2021 Put The Kettle On

(Henry De Bromhead/Aidan Coleman) 17/2


2020 Politologue

(Paul Nicholls/Harry Skelton) 6/1


2019 Altior

(Nicky Henderson/Nico De Boinville) 4/11f


2018 Altior

(Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville) Evens Fav


Verdict


The highlight race of the day is the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, which in a similar way to yesterdays Arkle Chase looks a match between the top two in the market.


This is not a race I will get too involved in personally as really wouldn't be a surprise to see either Edwardstone or Energumene win this contest and strong cases can be made for both.

Energumene is likely to be more suited by the softer conditions but Edwardstone is rock solid, a superb jumper of his fences and is likely to be ridden much closer to the pacesetter Editeur Du Gite who got away from him when the pair met last time out.


It really is hard to look away from the top 2 in the market, the obvious each-way option against the pair would be Editeur Du Gite who will be the pace angle as looks to have only one style of running and will ensure it is run at a true gallop.


At much bigger prices, if you can find a bookmaker paying 3 places it could look to side with Captain Guiness who can be very hit and miss, but if on a going day wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see him placed in 3rd and at 33/1 could be the value selection against the market principles.


If you put a gun to my head slight preference would be for Edwardstone, but not with any real confidence in favour of him against Energumene.


Captain Guiness, Each-way, 28/1

(3 places Betfred)

 

4:10 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, 3m 6f


The Stats


  • 11 of the last 12 winners were aged 8 or older

  • Easysland was the only 6 yr-old winner of the race in 2020

  • 10 of the last 12 runners had run at least once over a trip of at least 3m6f

  • 14 of the last 16 winners were rated 134+ coming into the festival

  • 10 of the last 16 winners hadn't won around Cheltenham's cross country course previously

  • Stamina is vital, 13 of the last 15 winners had run at least once over 3m6f

  • 12 of the last 14 winners had at least 13 chase starts on their CV’s


Last 5 Winners


2022 Delta Work

(Gordon Elliott/Jack Kennedy) 5/2f


2021 Tiger Roll

(Denise Foster/Keith Donoghue) 9/2


2020 Easysland

(David Cottin/J Plouganou) 3/1


2019 Tiger Roll

(Gordon Elliott/Keith Donoghue) 5/4f


2018 Tiger Roll

(Gordon Elliott/Keith Donoghue) 7/1


Verdict


One of my biggest positions ante-post is Delta Work for this contest, who was available at 9/4 and 5/2 for the majority of the winter and now the stand out market leader.


Last year’s winner looks to have ideal conditions and will take the beating, but trainer Gordon Elliott has thrown a spanner in the works by adding the class act that is Galvin for this contest, and the vibes coming out of the yard is that he has taken to the Cross Country track like a duck to water, which is a worry for backers of Delta Work Ante-post.


Similarly to the previous contest it does look a match between the top top in the market, and this isn't really a race that throws up too many shock results with the biggest price winner in the last 5 years just 7/1 (Tiger Roll in 2018).


Franco De Port will have his supporters as comes from the Mullins yard but too me has a lot of improvement to find to trouble the two at the head of the market, and would possibly be better to look at Snow Leopardess for trainer Charlie Longsdon, or Gin on Lime for the Honeysuckle team of Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore, and with bookmakers paying the first four places once again could be offer each way value.


I do think Delta Work will take a hell a lot of beating, especially if they get the forecast rain at the track, but wont be looking to go back in at the current prices and may possibly look for a bit of each-way value as a saver.


Delta Work, 11/8


Snow Leopardess Each Way – 22/1

(4 places)

 

4:50 Grand Annual Handicap Chase, 2m


The Stats


  • Weight is important, the top weight is yet to win the contest in the 29 renewals of the race

  • Only 5 of the last 12 winners had actually won on their previous start in the build up to the Festival

  • 8 of the past 17 winners had actually run in the race before – previous form at the Festival can be a leading clue especially if figured in this race previously

  • Only 2 of the last 15 winners had scored on their previous appearance – a race trainers have pencilled in and look to prime their runners for the big day rather than the prep races

  • Novices and second season chasers have an outstanding record with 10 winners fitting this criteria in the last 14 running's

  • 10 of the last 12 winners have official ratings between 138 and 150

  • Its always worth checking out what JP McManus has running in the race, he has owned 4 previous winners and a further 11 placed horses. All his runners warrant a second look

  • Paul Nicholls also has a great record in the race, winning the contest 4 times most recently with Le Prezien in 2018


Last 5 Winners


2022 Global Citizen

(Ben Pauling/Kielan Woods) 28/1


2021 Sky Pirate

(Jonjo O’Neil/Nick Scholfield) 14/1


2020 Chosen Mate

(Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell) 7/2f


2019 Croco Bay

(Ben Case/Kielan Woods) 66/1


2018 Le Prezien

(Paul Nicholls/Barry Geraghty) 15/2


Verdict


Another tricky puzzle but two that I have pencilled in on my shortlist is Dinoblue & Dad’s Lad – both from the Willie Mullins yard and both look the have the right type of profile for this valuable contest.


Dinoblue has always been well regarded and could be significant that Mullins has opted to add the headgear for the first time and should it bring the required improvement she must go really close. She is really unexposed so could be in here from a very attractive mark (140), and the run behind Impervious before Christmas at Cork looks a real strong form line and furthermore was very encouraging on the clock.


Dads Lad is a horse I have had in my tracker for a little while now and the type that looks right to pick up a big handicap like this at some point this season, fingers crossed it is today.

The 8 yr old has the all important course form as won in good style from a 5lb lower mark for today’s pilot and I made a note that day that it would be really interesting if they campaign him towards the Festival. I think there is more to come and should be a big player.


Andy Dufrense went close in this race last year and looks to have been campaigned for the race but is a slightly disappointing type and does have a lot of weight to carry. Unless he drifts in the market I am happy to give him a swerve.


Final Orders has racked up a sequence of wins for Gavin Cromwell, but as a result has rocketed up the weights and this looks much more competitive than the races he has been winning back in Ireland. Possibly has place claims but likely to find one too good.


At very big prices, Midnight Run could be interesting for Gigginstown Stud. Their runner’s are always worth a second run in Cheltenham handicaps and trainer Joseph O’Brien seems to have got him in on a nice mark following his run behind Saint Roi.


A race in which I am happy to side with master trainer Willie Mullins once again.


Dinoblue, Each-way – 6/1

(6 places)


Dads Lad, Each-way – 14/1

(6 places)

 

5:30 Champion Bumper 2m 1/2f


The Stats


  • Irish trained horses have won 9 of the last 12 renewals

  • 11 of the last 12 winners had a run in at least 2 bumpers previously

  • 15 of the last 16 winners have been 5 or 6 yr old’s

  • Form is vital, all of the previous 16 winners had won their prep race. Focus on last time out winners

  • All of the last 14 winners were rated 118+ coming into the race, with 6 of the last 7 winners being rated over 124

  • 14 of the last 16 winners were either Irish or British bred, be wary of those French breds or others bred outside of Britain and Ireland

  • Only 3 of the last 14 favourites have actually gone on to win the race

  • All Willie Mullins runners deserve a second look, as the trainer has won the race a staggering 12 times


Last 5 Winners


2022 Facile Vega

(Willie Mullins/Patrick Mullins) 15/8f


2021 Sir Gerhard

(Willie Mullins/Rachael Blackmore) 85/40


2020 Ferny Hollow

(Willie Mullins/Paul Townend) 11/1


2019 Envoi Allen

(Gordon Elliott/Jamie Codd) 2/1f


2018 Relegate

(Willie Mullins/Katie Walsh) 25/1


Verdict


The getting out stakes for Wednesday does not look easy at all, one of the most competitive Champion Bumpers we have seen for a fair few years. Not a race I have played in ante-post and to be honest do not have a strong opinion on.


It would be a great story if the Gleeson’s were to win with A Dream to Share who looks to have the best form line coming into the Festival, but am slightly worried that he was fully wound up for victory last time and others may improve past him.


Willie Mullins is the obvious place to look for this race as won it 4 times in the last 5 years but is very hard to split his runners with Paul Townend riding Its For Me, and Patrick booked upon Fact To File. Slight preference would be for Fact To File who will love conditions and has always been held in the highest regards.


Jamie Codd has chosen to ride Better Days Ahead, another who has had a big reputation well before his debut and could look a touch of value at 12/1, similarly one that would be a much shorter price if trained by the likes of Mullins or Elliott is Encanto Bruno for John McConnell who looks over priced at 14/1 and looks sure to give Sean Bowen a good ride in the race.


At much bigger prices I have had a good word for two British horses both available at 33/1 – Captain Teague for Paul Nicholls, and Favour and Fortune for Alan King so certainly wouldn't put anyone off having a few quid each-way on either.


A very competitive race this year so not a race for maximum stakes and might be worth keeping your powder dry for stronger selections on Day 3.


Encanto Bruno Each-Way, 12/1

(5 places)


Captain Teague Each-way, 33/1

(5 places)



Good luck and lets hope we can find a few winners and a couple of big priced shots for the day as well here on The Cheeky Punts

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