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Cheltenham 2024 – Day 2 – Race Analysis

Queen Mother Champion Chase

Written By Rich Mawer

Rich has been in horse racing since a small boy growing up in Yorkshire and heading to the Malton open days. At University Rich shared a house with a bookmakers son for 3 years, in that time he learned how to read form, course stats, use speed ratings and price up a card. In 1996 Rich went full-time with his betting, then with the advent of Betfair in 2002 Rich switched to the exchanges, learning to trade and lay horses.

Well it’s Cheltenham 2024 – Day 2 and Day 1 was a case of trying to find some value in behind the short priced obvious Willie Mullins horses. My two Nicky Henderson horses were both pulled up, Jeriko Du Reponet and Iberico Lord – the yard form is a serious concern going forward. I thought JPR One ran a decent enough race at 16/1, getting hampered by a faller and then outpaced but certainly did himself proud. Finally Love Envoi was our bet against Lossiemouth and turning in she looked nailed on for a place, as Lossiemouth motored past, but she just ran out of juice up the hill finishing back in 5th. I just can;t be backing short priced favourites, so we go again into Day 2.

1:30 Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle – 2m 5f

Well another Mullins short priced favourite in Ballyburn at the top of the market, he is by far the best horse in the race and difficult to oppose following his 7 length win over Slade Steel at Leopardstown at the start of last month. The way Slade Steel won the Supreme Novices’ yesterday franked that form and it will be no surprise to see Ballyburn go in. However, I think there is value in the unbeaten HANDSTANDS from the Ben Pauling yard as an each way bet, he is a rising star who improves with every run and the way he beat Grade 1 winner Jango Baie at Huntingdon, keeping on well to win by 2 lengths, shows he is still on the improve. He went in my notebook for this race and is the way I am going.

SELECTION: HANDSTANDS – 1pt each way at 14/1

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

Here we go again, trying to find an angle to take on a Mullins favourite. Fact To File had his from stamped again by Gaelic Warrior wining the Arkle yesterday. As he had him well beaten when Gaelic Warrior came down at the last fence at Leopardstown in February. However I am going to take a chance on STAY AWAY FAY who has the most experience in the field, the winner of last year’s Albert Bartlett and ran well in defeat here in the Cotswold Chase at the end of January, so clearly loves the track.

SELECTION: STAY AWAY FAY – 2pts to win at 7/2

Queen Mother Champion Chase

3:30 Queen Mother Champion Chase – 2m

Another rematch between El Fabiolo and Jonbon, both have been in great form and El Fabiolo is a perfect 6 from 6 over fences, after beating Jonbon in the Arkle last year. Jonbon also lost out to Elixir De Nutz here at the end of January when making a bad mistake four fences form home, so if you can forgive him that and also hope that the poor Henderson stable form at present does not effect him, he has a chance. However, I am going to side with a horse who has won me plenty over the years in EDWARDSTONE who won the Arkle here in 2022 and looked back to his best when adopting front running tactics in the Game Spirit at Newbury last month, heavy ground, but he ran out a 40 length winner. So has to be worth a chance here.

SELECTION: EDWARDSTONE – 1pt each way at 8/1

4:10 Glenfarclas Cross-Country – 3m 5f

Fingers crossed there is no more rain, as this race could be moved to the Friday, but the going is going to be heavy, no matter what. I have backed Delta Work in the past couple of cross-country races at the festival and he has rewarded me, but I just don;t see his build up to this year being quite as good as others in the race including his stablemate Galvin. Former Gold Cup winner, Minella Indo is the class horse in the race, he loves Cheltenham and bar a poor run in last year’s Gold Cup, when he was pulled up, he has a great record. He finished 4th in the cross-country in December and looked primed and ready for this. However I am going to side with GALVIN this year, to better his 2nd in the race last year. He seems to have had some good pre-runs and been aimed by Gordon Elliott at this race.

SELECTION: GALVIN – 2pts to win at 13/2

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