Cheltenham Festival LIVE: Race updates, results, tips, racecard, odds
Cheltenham Festival LIVE: All the action, updates, tips and insight from Ladies Day as Energumene and Edwardstone resume their rivalry in the Queen Mother Champion Chase
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Follow Sportsmail’s live blog as the Cheltenham Festival continues underway on Ladies Day, with full coverage of today’s races – including the The Queen Mother Champion Chase – to come.
Speaking to The Telegraph Sport, she said: ‘There could be many combinations for this. I love food. Something along the lines of a goat’s cheese starter, main would be ordered from a menu that I didn’t fully understand.
‘It would consist of a small portion of artistically presented food which on arrival I still wouldn’t be overly sure what I was eating, it would be accompanied by a side of potatoes. Dessert is chocolate fondant with an ample amount of vanilla ice cream.’
Looks like British people go racing a lot earlier than us 🤷🏻 pic.twitter.com/RnU3R5lfr2
‘The jockey (Paul Townend) was keen on him after the race and said come March, he wouldn’t swap him for the two that finished in front of him,’ said Mullins.
‘We have to improve but I think the improvement is there. It was great to finally get a Champion Chase last year and I think in the Clarence House he just needed the run over those different style of fences. There’s no such thing as a slowly-run Champion Chase and I think that’s going to suit us.’
Cheltenham Festival may have scrapped their strict dress code for the first time in their 200 year history – but that hasn’t stopped stylish racegoers bringing all the glamour to Ladies Day.
The historic society event, which dates back to the early 19th century, has unveiled a new ‘inclusive’ dress code this year, which organisers hope will make spectators feel ‘confident and at-ease’ for their visit.
But despite dresses, heels and hats no longer being mandatory, glamourous guests still opted to pull out all the fashion stops for the annual event.
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Just after mid-day in the busy Guinness village and it has to be said there is no interest in these whatsoever. The term ‘farting against thunder’ springs to mind.
Dan Barber and Gary O’Brien fancy Edwardstone, while Lisa O’Neill is backing Energumene in today’s feature event – the Queen Mother Champion Chase. But, who do you have your money on?
🗣 "He is the best two-miler around."@DanBarberTF & Gary O'Brien like Edwardstone, whilst Lisa O'Neill is with Energumene in today's feature event – the @betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
Tips > https://t.co/ctDYShRQ4H pic.twitter.com/8TdrwRvfEe
Another big day ahead ☘️
Our #GreenTeam 💚 Wednesday contenders at #CheltenhamFestival pic.twitter.com/RnbzborZZ5
Harry Coben’s rides:
Hermes Allen – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Red Risk – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
Greaneteen – Betway Qyeen Mother Champion Chase
Thyme White – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
Captain Teague – Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Paul Townend’s rides:
Impaire Et Passe – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Sir Gerhard – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
Energumene – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
It’s For Me – Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Patrick Mullin’s rides:
Gaelic Warrior – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Franco De Port – Glenfarclas Chase
Fact To File – Weatherbys Champion Bumper
"Ruby's thrown ALL the toys out the pram!" 😳
Episode 1 of the cheeky challenges set to two star #CheltenhamFestival jockeys, with rather hilarious results 🤣 pic.twitter.com/zVdSJFpow7
On Board with @CobdenHarry and Oscar Elite as Corach Rambler steamed home to a second consecutive Ultima Handicap chase#ITVRacing | #CheltenhamFestival pic.twitter.com/fRo1mr9vuK
Those hoping the week will get a little easier will be disconcerted to see a full field of 26 declared for Friday’s County Hurdle, a 20-strong Albert Bartlett Hurdle and 24 in the Hunter Chase
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield is also reporting big support for Hermes Allen 5-2 from 4-1 in the opener and Sir Gerhard who has been backed into 3-1 (from 11-2) to win race two.
Michael O’Sullivan was labelled a ‘superstar’ by Barry Connell after Marine Nationale won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle yesterday. Connell is convinced they can do the same with Good Land in Wednesday’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
"The pressure is off a bit today but we still expect him to win. He's as good as the lad that ran yesterday."
Barry Connell landed the day one opener with Marine Nationale and believes Good Land will repeat the trick on day two 🏆@Franmberry | #GreenTeam 💚 pic.twitter.com/EnduDOKbOE
"We think Beacon Edge has a good each-way chance today" 👀
Noel Meade knows what it takes to saddle a Festival winner and hopes he might have another in this afternoon's Coral Cup @tuvastables | @Franmberry | #GreenTeam 💚 pic.twitter.com/A5RWcZU2DR
The Cross-Country is one of the most unpredictable races of the week 👀@Franmberry gives @The2Johnnies a guide to the fabled Cheese Wedges which make it such a unique challenge 🧀#GreenTeam 💚 | #CheltenhamFestival pic.twitter.com/MAfEr911RL
Ridden by Harry Skelton, his form coming into the race is not exactly perfect, having finished fourth at the same track at the end of January. The ground then was good to soft in places and with rain expected every day between now and Friday.
The French-bred horse won brilliantly, however, at Haydock last November and it is hoped that he will carry the same form into Friday’s race.
The Gold Cup carries a prize winning pot of £625,000, only surpassed by the Grand National in terms of chases.
Skelton remains optimistic over the chances of Protektorat, saying he feels him and his team are good enough to mount an assault on the race and try and go two better than last time out.
Priced out as far as 25/1 by Paddy Power, Hitman has a tough task on his hands if he is to overhaul the likes of Shishkin and Blue Lord. With most bookies offering each-way payouts up to five places, there could be value in backing him, however.
The bay gelding comes into the festival in slightly indifferent form. Its last run was at Newbury on February 11, where it finished second by seven lengths.
However, prior to that it was pulled up by jockey Cobden at Kempton on Boxing Day. Nicholls, who trains all three of Ferguson’s Cheltenham runners, said last month that was nothing to be concerned about and merely a mistake.
Trained by Nicholls, Hermes Allen is a real shot at success in Wednesday’s opening race on day two. His form coming into the race is almost perfect, having been sent over hurdles three times, and having claimed victory in each of its last three races.
Bought by Ferguson and friends for £350,000, Hermes Allen was bred off Poliglote, a high-class flat runner. He has solid pedigree and will be a tough task for the other race entrants.
The former Manchester United manager has three runners, with Hermes Allen leading the betting for Wednesday’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle as the second favourite at 11/4.
Hitman, trained by Paul Nicholls, is an outside shot in the Ryanair Chase. Patterns are discernible in that particular race, with Willie Mullins-trained horses winning five of the last seven.
In the showpiece, Protektorat comes in off a really strong performance in last year’s edition. It will go off at around 12/1 and has truly great jumpers to contend with in Galopin des Champs and A Plus Tard but could spring a surprise.
Ferguson matching his unprecedented 1999 treble achievement at United with all three horses romping home to victory is currently priced at 1200/1.
💬According to David Jennings "some people cannot contemplate defeat” for Impaire Et Passe in the Ballymore.
📺Watch our full Cheltenham Preview Night Live on the PP Racing YouTube now https://t.co/sHmHCY2pvs pic.twitter.com/ytgNLXJp7z
Gary Pallister, a lieutenant of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United team in the 80s and 90s, made a surprising revelation ahead of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
‘My favourite memories of Fergie and horse racing is that if he found out you’ve been to Cheltenham Festival, he’d drop you!’ Pallister told Cheltenham Racing.
‘He wasn’t into Cheltenham racing then. He didn’t play golf and he didn’t like horse racing. Now he loves his golf and his horse racing and owns horses.
‘Back in the day, he wasn’t OK with the lads going off for a day at the races, but that’s all changed and he’s obviously been involved for quite a while now with his good friends from Manchester and had some good success there.’
As Pallister outlines, Ferguson harbours no such concerns over Cheltenham these days and it would not be unfair to speculate that, alongside Royal Ascot and the Guineas at Newmarket, it is up there with one of his favourite periods of the sporting calendar.
⏪ #CHELTENHAM REWIND WITH RICH RICCI ⏪
"I always knew when Willie wasn't happy with a Ruby ride…"
Rich Ricci joins Ruby Walsh and Paddy to look back at some of his greatest #CheltenhamFestival horses.
📺 Watch now on YouTube: https://t.co/kCYiNDEXVC
18+ | BeGambleAware
Hewick heads to Cheltenham later [email protected] @RacingTV pic.twitter.com/0mBDFhbSt4
The action at Cheltenham Festival continues on later today, but the first race of the day – the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – won’t be shown live on ITV1.
ITV1 broadcasted the first five races on Tuesday, at it will on Thursday and Friday, but some of the action has been moved over to ITV4 on Wednesday with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, set to announce his Spring Budget.
ITV1 have therefore pushed back their coverage of Cheltenham Festival, instead broadcasting an ‘ITV News Special’, with the horse racing now shown from 2pm and in time for the second race of the day – the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
Hunt is now facing potential backlash for unveiling his budget during one of the biggest sporting events of the year.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase, the feature race of the day, will be shown on ITV1, however, getting underway at 3.30pm. The action in its entirety will also be available to stream on ITVX, while coverage will stop on ITV4 at 2.05pm.
*Warning, strong language*
When your mate wins a bet…#Cheltenham | #CheltenhamFestival
🔞18+ BeGambleAware pic.twitter.com/RmwAqqobz1
Oliver Sherwood’s faith in Queens Gamble has not been dented by her last-time-out defeat at Market Rasen, as the exciting mare is pitted against the best Ireland can muster in Wednesday’s Champion Bumper.
Victory for Johnny Burke’s mount will be extra special for trainer Sherwood, given Queens Gamble helped keep up his spirits during draining cancer treatment.
Now in remission, Sherwood draws favourable comparisons between Queens Gamble, who has won on both her starts at Cheltenham, at this early stage of her career with his 2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds and Large Action, the 1995 Champion Hurdle runner-up.
READ MORE BELOW…
He said: ‘My favourite memory is when Sprinter Sacre won the 2013 Champion Chase. I was in the winner’s enclosure and pre-parade ring, which made it very special.
But my favourite winner was when Lord Windermere won the Gold Cup in 2014. It was two lengths off the back with a lap to go and I thought it was finished but it came through to win at 20-1!’
England World Cup winner Jonny Bairstow will be taking in all the action at Cheltenham this week. The 33-year-old has become a fixture in England’s side over the past decade, but will be focusing on the race track over the next few days.
When asked what Cheltenham means to him, Bairstow said: ‘It’s simply a sporting spectacle like no other. It’s very special to me and so many people.
‘It brings thousands from Ireland to England and so many people from all over the country to the town of Cheltenham. I love it.’
We are all set for racing @CheltenhamRaces today.
The rain will suit Energumene in the @betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. He has been working well and hopefully he can repeat last year’s performance in what will be a very tactical affair.
Read more: https://t.co/oCNjKLXQbu
We're very distressed to hear of the death of Malinello at the Cheltenham Festival today. We believe that racehorses should have a good life on and off the track, and should never be exposed to unacceptable risk of injury or death. We will be discussing this incident with the BHA
Malinello, an eight-year-old horse ridden by Gina Andrews, unfortunately passed away yesterday. He fell awkwardly at the 16th fence of the National Hunt Challenge Cup race and was subsequently treated by Cheltenham’s veterinary team.
However, a racecourse spokesperson later confirmed he had passed away. ‘Sadly Malinello sustained an injury in the final race of the day,’ they said. ‘He was attended to by the on-course veterinary team and assessed immediately, but very sadly passed away. Our thoughts are with all his connections.’
Update from the friendly folk who run the new self-serve Guinness and lager dispensers. On day one the 7 taps delivered 2,586 pints with Guinness outselling lager three to two.
🗣 "It will be testing today."
Jon Pullin on ground conditions at @CheltenhamRaces today with the official ground Soft, Good to Soft in places#CheltenhamFestival pic.twitter.com/CdpDh3Jg3m
‘Tom Cannon will revert and ride Edwardstone like he rode him in the Arkle last year. He is the one to beat,’ Ruby told Paddy Power News, where you can get the best tips and our legendary Cheat Sheet for every day of the Festival.
‘I didn’t think that would be the case leaving Cheltenham last year. I thought Energumene would be too good for Edwardstone, who was already an eight-year-old but to me Edwardstone has improved this year.
‘He’s a better horse this year than last year and I think he’ll win the Champion Chase. I don’t think the tactics got Energumene beat in the Clarence House. I just wasn’t sure there was the same spark.’
Teenager John Gleeson, whose father Brian is working as an ITV betting expert this week, needed permission to miss school this week to ride A Dream To Share in the Festival Bumper.
It is a teaming up of the generations. John is 18 years old and his mount’s trainer John Kiely is 85 years old.
Young John, who is studying biology, geography and business at St Augustine’s College in County Waterford, said: ‘I had to request the week off and thankfully got accepted!
‘I’ve parked the school books now for the week to be perfectly honest. This is my first ride at the Festival and it’s all a bit surreal.’
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield reports good money for the Willie Mullins challenger in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
He said: ‘Energumene has kind of been the forgotten horse in the build-up with some people thinking his chance had gone after being beaten by Editeur Du Gite and Edwardstone in the Clarence House, but punters have really tanked into him and he has joined Edwardstone at the front of the market.’
All calm before the gates open. Took a bracing hike in today rather than brave the car park. It was the best part of an hour to leave it last night, not easy to organise but that seems excessive nonetheless.
Energumene and Editeur Du Gite will line up in Wednesday’s Queen Mother Champion Chase with Edwardstone the favourite in the feature race of the day.
And once they’ve crossed the finishing line at Prestbury Park, all eyes will turn to a repeat battle on a different type of turf later in the day.
Energumene, last year’s winner of this race, is owned by Brighton and Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom, whose high-flying Seagulls host rivals Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium this evening.
Hoping for a double dose of despair for Bloom will be the Palace-mad Preston Family, who own Editeur Du Gite. Paddy Power price an Energumene/Brighton Win double at just shy of 3/1, with an Eagles victory coupled with success for 5/1 shot Editeur Du Gite a 44/1 shot.
Paddy Power were left with egg on their face after Jonbon’s defeat yesterday. Could something similar happen today?
Paddy Power delivered a dose of generosity to punters back in November when their traders were so impressed by videos emerging of Jonbon in schooling that they paid out on the horse to win the Arkle early.
Fast forward five months and there was very much egg on the faces of the same traders at Power Tower. Nicky Henderson’s charge ran a good race to come home in second but he couldn’t deny 6/5 favourite El Fabiolo victory, meaning the Irish bookies ended up paying out on two horses to win the same race.
An awkward conversation for one or two members of staff ensued.
Champion Chase contender Energumene! 🐎#ITVRacing | #TheOpeningShow pic.twitter.com/k7CZZn6Xpq
As good as Hermes Allen is, this is not a one-horse race. Far from it. It is no exaggeration to say that any of his nine rivals have the ability to win today’s race but the most dangerous is Impaire Et Passe, trained by Willie Mullins. A lot of shrewd judges have been talking this fellow up. What a clash this could be.
Ferguson is known to be particularly sweet on Hermes Allen’s ability, and the enthusiasm he fosters is shared by Nicholls, who has dominated British jump racing in the manner that Ferguson’s Manchester United teams used to dominate the Premier League.
‘He’s been a revelation so far this season,’ Nicholls purred. ‘He looks in great nick and he is progressive. I was worried to death at Stratford — he was just getting his act together and I didn’t know what we had! He is now a very good horse.’
The Real Whacker ahead of the Brown Advisory today!🐎 #ITVRacing | #TheOpeningShow pic.twitter.com/n1pyQsZFvK
Since making his racecourse debut at Stratford in October, Hermes Allen has continually shocked Ferguson, his other co-owners Ged Mason and John Hales, and trainer Paul Nicholls.
They did not know what to expect that first day but Hermes Allen won unchallenged by 27 lengths. From there, he went to the Cheltenham November meeting and demolished a good field by nine lengths.
His best effort came at Christmas, however, when he obliterated his rivals in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury. It was a performance that told you this six-year-old gelding had the talent to win at the biggest festival of all.
Many racehorse owners could walk past you on the street and you would not know who they were, but that is not true for one of the three men emotionally invested in Hermes Allen: Sir Alex Ferguson. Plenty of eyes will be on him as the action unfolds.
The opening race of day two often produces winners that go on to have spectacular futures — Istabraq (1997) and Faugheen (2014) to name just two — and this 10-strong field is packed with potential.
Horse to watch: Hermes Allen
Race: Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1.30pm)
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Just 18 years of age riding at Cheltenham Festival! @johngleeson123 👏#ITVRacing | #TheOpeningShow pic.twitter.com/8pSncnvURe
IMPAIRE ET PASSE is a really good horse and should have no trouble stepping up in trip in this afternoon’s Ballymore Novices’, despite winning over two miles at Punchestown last time.
Last season, Sir Gerhard was an impressive winner of the Ballymore and he made a winning debut over fences. I was impressed with him and he looks a value bet in the Brown Advisory contest. Langa r Dan has not had much luck at Cheltenham since finishing runner-up in the Martin Pipe Hurdle two seasons ago. He’s still well handicapped.
Delta Work revelled in the soft conditions over the Cross Country course last year when beating Tiger Roll and can deny his stablemate Galvin now. Elixir De Nutz has been contesting graded races and has improved with age. He looks a good each-way bet in a competitive Grand Annual field.
In the Champion Bumper, there’s a good backstory to the well-fancied A Drea m To Sha re and it would be remarkable for his octogenarian trainer John Kiely if he managed to win it.
NEWBURY’S Challow Hurdle has thrown up some good winners in recent years, including today’s Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase hope Thyme Hill and Friday’s Boodles Gold Cup contender Bravemansgame.
This season’s Paul Nicholls-trained winner Hermes Alle n looks well up to that standard and he can prove that in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. Nicholls has made no secret of how much he thinks of Hermes Allen and, equally tellingly, jockey Harry Cobden has described the gelding as the best novice hurdler he has ridden.
The Challow Hurdle form has also been franked, with runner-up You Wear It Well easily winning a decent race since. The fourth and fifth-placed finishers have also won since the Challow. That race was run on soft ground, which means today’s going holds no fears for Hermes Allen. He is also a fair price due to Willie Mullins having some popular runners.
The Festival ground is softer than many of us thought it would be a few weeks ago and that will be a positive for Dan Skelton-trained GALIA DES LITEAUX in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
She was impressive on heavy ground when winning her last run at Warwick in January and although there is a pulled up in her form this season, that came after she made a bad jumping mistake at Kempton on Boxing Day which was out of character.
Generally, Galia Des Liteaux’s jumping has been very good with Harry Skelton on board and, being a mare, she also receives a very useful 7lb allowance from her male opponents.
Willie Mullins has a mind-boggling 10 runners in the last race of the day, the Festival Bumper, which is an amazingly strong hand for the Irish champion trainer.
But don’t dismiss John McConnell-trained Encanto Bruno. He’s been saved for this race since being an impressive winner over course and distance at Cheltenham’s October meeting.
With 10 of the 24 runners, Willie Mullins may be attracting the attention of the monopolies and mergers commission here.
If the multiple Champion trainer cannot work out which of his battalion has the best chance, there is not much hope for us mere mortals, but FACT TO FILE is the choice of his son, Patrick, and can build on the promise of his second behind likely favourite A Dream To Share at Leopardstown.
The deeper ground may play more to the strengths of the selection, who has clearly got huge stamina reserves having previously scored over two-and-a-half miles at the Dublin venue.
WESTERN DIEGO was another to create a good impression in victory at Naas on his last start and is shortlisted, while FASCILE MODE, fourth to A Dream To Share at Leopardstown, could be worth a speculative punt.
COEUR SUBLIME would not be the heartiest battler to have ever set foot on a racecourse, but he remains a class act when in the mood and should give promising conditional Ben Harvey a good spin back in handicap company.
I fancied the eight-year-old to win this race 12 months ago off a mark of 151, so the decision by connections to run in the Arkle Chase left me baffled.
However, everything comes to those that wait and the eight-year-old can prove that a head defeat by Blue Lord at Punchestown last April was no fluke and he wi l l indeed relish the likelihood of a frenetic gallop and big field.
ANDY DUFRESNE has form figures which look more like a Wi-Fi code this term but the first-time tongue tie may be the catalyst to a better showing, while MASKADA will love the ground and may be finishing better than some.
When Matt met Michael. 👬
"I think we would have done better in recent years if we had Willie on the trainers roster." 🗣 Michael O'Leary.#ITVRacing | #TheOpeningShow | @MCYeeehaaa pic.twitter.com/goTcHWDovd
DELTA WORK lowered the colours of crowd favourite Tiger Roll in this event 12 months and, with the recent rain playing to his strengths, should make a bold bid to successfully defend his crown.
While last year’s reception in the winner’s enclosure may have been muted for Delta Work, his subsequent performance when third in the Grand National was anything but and his two runs since Christmas have suggested he remains capable of running to a high level.
Stablemate GALVIN acquitted himself with credit in the Gold Cup 12 months ago and ought to find this test and change of discipline to his liking. He disappointed in the Savills Chase but the prospect of better ground on the X-Country course should suit. BACK ON THE LASH would have preferred the rain to have missed Cheltenham, but he loves this track.
EDWARDSTONE ended a Festival drought of seven years for trainer Alan King in last season’s Arkle Chase and the nine-year-old can strike again on jumping’s biggest stage.
The Arkle has often proved a profitable pointer for this event, and the selection warmed up for this afternoon’s assignment with an encouraging effort in the rearranged Clarence House Chase at the end of January.
Reported to be in need of the run, Edwardstone was set a stiff task by rider Tom Cannon, who afforded the front-running Editeur Du Gite plenty of rope at the head of affairs and was forced to expend valuable petrol to close down the pacesetter late on. That effort took its toll in the dying strides, but it was a highly encouraging display, and he should strip sharper mentally and physically today.
ENERGUMENE, a further six-and-a-half lengths adrift, was left trailing by a bad error at the final fence, but he is capable of brilliance on his day and that deficit looks sure to be narrowed granted a better round of fencing. Last year’s runner-up FUNAMBULE SIVOLA could pick up some pieces late on.
"It's a race I like to win." 🗣 @gelliott_racing
A big hand to play today. 🐎#ITVRacing | #TheOpeningShow pic.twitter.com/hSi0EaikXC
GOOD RISK AT ALL was made favourite for this race last year, but narrowly failed to make the final line-up, so could gain compensation 12 months later.
The recent rainfall will play to the selection’s strengths and the return to today’s trip is also a major plus, as he did not appear to get home over three miles at Haydock last time when finishing sixth. He ought to be on the premises.
RUN FOR OSCAR, the winner of the Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket on the Flat in the autumn, is also a very talented hurdler as he proved when finishing third at both Haydock and Punchestown before the turn of the year.
LANGER DAN has been targeted at Cheltenham Festival handicaps for the last three years and Dan Skelton’s seven-year-old is another that is likely to be fully tuned-up for today’s test.
In THE REAL WHACKER, trainer Patrick Neville clearly has a horse capable of competing at the top level, an opinion crystalised by the decision to enter him as a novice in this year’s Boodles Gold Cup.
An unconsidered 10-1 chance for both of his Cheltenham successes this term, the market has finally woken up to the abilities of the son of Mahler, who possesses all the attributes required to hand his talented trainer a fairytale hat-trick at Cheltenham.
His appetite for jumping, confirmed stamina and love for Prestbury Park are three brilliant attributes, while the rhythm he has found in his two previous visits could make him tricky to overhaul.
Favourite GERRI COLOMBE has been touted as a future Gold Cup candidate by his handler and will be tough to beat, while THUNDER ROCK has a chance at a tall price.
Willie Mullins saddles four of the 10 runners, which suggests the quartet may be of similar ability judged on homework.
So, with conditions likely to favour those blessed with stamina, CHAMP KIELY could prove some value to topple those at the head of the market.
Fourth in the Royal Bond Hurdle when a little keen, the selection kept on gamely from the front to win a Naas Grade One in January, displaying a great attitude to see off a subsequent winner, and makes some appeal on his favoured ground.
Stablemate IMPAIRE ET PASSE has been all the rage in the antepost market, with bullish vibes from his Closutton stable. If his talent matches the hype, he could prove a tough nut to crack, while MASTER CHEWY is an enormous price but boasts plenty of talent and could reward the value seekers.
LOVE ENVOI and Jess are back to a heroine's return after her run in the Mares' Hurdle. 🌟 pic.twitter.com/49Ev7SnPEf
Two early non runners at Cheltenham; 2.10 Amirite, 4.50 Dancing On My Own
Latest from Cheltenham on a bright but cold morning; 1.5mm of rain yesterday. Temperatures dropped to -2.6 overnight and are forecast to rise above 0 by 8.00am. Light showers forecast from 11.00am with a heavier band of rain moving in later in the afternoon and through the evening (5-7mm).
Bring your umbrellas! ☔️
"Rain is on the way". 🗣 @Lauratobin1#ITVRacing | #TheOpeningShow | @chrishughes_22 pic.twitter.com/49TYTnJUTD
The Champion Bumper is designed for horses who are only starting their jumping careers. It is often a starting point for top-class hurdlers and chaser. You could find yourself the next big thing during this race.
The penultimate race of the day is the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase. This race is named after Nicky Henderson’s father and is a 2m handicap chase.
The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase attracts a big field and is run at a fast pace – making it an interesting watch.
Plus, it’s a good one for the Brits. Six of the last eight winners have also been supplied by British-based trainers.
Now this is an interesting one. It’s the only race in the Cheltenham Festival to not run on the main Cheltenham racecourse. Instead, it has its own track in the centre of the course.
The obstacles that have been created and the raised banks associated with the track make it a unique test. It has become somewhat of a specialist’s track.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is regarded as the most prestigious two-mile chase in Britain and Ireland. It’s been won by some big hitters in the past and today’s winner will need to be extremely fast to be in with a chance.
Watch out for Nicky Henderson’s horses this afternoon. He has won four of the last ten runnings of the race. He’s triumphed with Sprinter Sacre, in 2013 and 2016, and Altior in 2018 and 2019.
Are you looking for a competitive race? Well, this is the one. The Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle will be highly contested later today. The winner of the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle needs to be strong given the field usually features 20-plus runners.
The winner will need to be a decent horse too. The last six runnings have gone to a horse with experience in Graded races.
The second race of the day will be the Festival Novices’ Chase. This is a huge race and is regarded as the novice equivalent of the Gold Cup. It’s the most prestigious race of the season for staying novice chasers for I am expecting a lot from it.
Yesterday provided us with a fine day of racing… but it’s time to look at what we have in store today. Day two of Cheltenham will kick off with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
It is referred to as a stepping stone to either the Champion Hurdle or novice chases such as the Turners Novices’ Chase or the Festival Novices’ Chase.
Ireland have been dominant in this race for as long as I can remember. Ben Pauling’s Willoughby Court in 2017 is the only non Irish-trained winner in the last nine years.
Patrick Mullins won the WellChild National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Novices’ Chase for the second year in a row aboard his father’s Gaillard Du Mesnil.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old has placed in Grade One company at the last two Festivals, but it looked as if the 10-11 favourite had his work cut out to reel in the forward-going Mahler Mission.
However, John McConnell’s charge tipped up at the second-last to allow Gaillard Du Mesnil to put his stamina to good use and stay on past Chemical Energy in the closing stages.
El Fabiolo got the better of Jonbon in the Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy, to get Willie Mullins and Paul Townend off the mark at the Cheltenham Festival.
The duo fought out a titanic battle over hurdles at Aintree last season and the rematch was just as entertaining, with the main protagonists coming to the fore in the closing stages.
Discussing his win on board El Fabiolo, Townend said: ‘He’s learning to settle better these days and he would have no issue going up in trip. However, if he keeps winning over two miles, he’ll probably stay at two!’
Michael O’Sullivan struck aboard Jazzy Matty in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle to cap a fine opening day for the young rider who earlier took the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with Marine Nationale.
The 18-1 scorer led home an all-Irish one-two-three-four to get Gordon Elliott off the mark for the week.
Jazzy Matty was neck-and-neck with his competitors heading onto the final straight, before just poking his nose ahead as they crossed the finish line.
There were joyous scenes on day one of the Cheltenham Festival when Honeysuckle brought the curtain down on her career phenomenal career with an emotional victory in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle.
The sparkle of Henry de Bromhead’s superstar had seemingly been on the wane this term and the decision was made to return the dual Champion Hurdle heroine to the race she first announced herself in at the Festival for her swansong.
And the nine-year-old did not let her adoring public down by showing all the qualities that have made her one of the most loved and admired mares of the modern era.
Sent off the 9-4 joint-favourite, ever-loyal jockey Rachael Blackmore had Honeysuckle positioned in second throughout tracking the front-running Love Envoi.
Although the pack swarmed as the field made their way down the hill, the order remained the same until after the last.
With Love Envoi refusing to lie down, the brave mare Honeysuckle responded to every urging of her rider to gallop up the Cheltenham hill one more time, going to the bottom of the well and digging deep to edge her way to a titanic one-and-a-half-length triumph.
The victory gave her a fourth victory at the Festival and she signs off as one of the all-time greats having won 17 of her 19 career starts.
Constitution Hill lit up day one of the Cheltenham Festival as he took the Unibet Champion Hurdle crown in sublime style.
This race had been seen as the six-year-old’s date with destiny ever since romping to victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago – and Nicky Henderson’s charge did not disappoint, much to the delight of a packed Prestbury Park crowd.
Sent off at odds of 1-3, jockey Nico de Boinville was keen to keep things simple and had the Michael Buckley-owned winner tracking I Like To Move It, who was setting the fractions.
Travelling with supreme ease, Constitution Hill’s super-slick hurdling saw him breeze to the front after three out and De Boinville was simply nudging his mount forwards as he drew clear of the chasing back rounding the turn for home.
He was soon sauntering up the hill with victory from the Willie Mullins-trained State Man secured, and De Boinville was able to turn to the crowd and milk the applause as Constitution Hill in a canter.
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Marine Nationale. Read more here.
Arkle Chase – El Fabiolo. Read more here.
Ultima Handicap – Corach Rambler. Read more here.
Champions Hurdle – Constitution Hill. Read more here.
Mares Hurdle – Honeysuckle. Read more here.
Boodle Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Jazzy Matty. Read more here.
National Hunt Chase – Gaillard Du Mesni. Read more here.
What a day of racing we had on Tuesday. Ireland beat the British 5-2 on day one – with Willie Mullins taking the training honours and Mikey O’Sullivan the undoubted star in the saddle.
Hello and welcome to Sportsmail’s live blog for day two of the Cheltenham Festival. We will be bringing all the updates from today’s races – including the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
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