Wednesday at Cheltenham - The Gambling Times
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Wednesday at Cheltenham

We preview the second day, Ladies Day, of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

The seven race card begins with the Neptune Novices’ hurdle and includes the Queen Mother Champion Chase which will see Altior going for a third successive win.

Don’t forget any non-runners you can keep up-to-date via our Non-runners tool

We have detailed run through of every race, including our picks and also from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann.

Ladies Day – Wednesday, March 13 (Old Course & Cross Country)

1.30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 5f £125,000

First raced in 1991 and known as the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle, the Neptune is one of the big races at the Festival.

The race is only for novices and some of the sport’s superstars have taken this title over the years with the likes of Faugheen, Peddlers Cross, Hardy Eustace, Istabraq and Danoli all winning. Last year’s winner Samcro was one of the few odds-on successes.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
7 Champ 5/2
N J Henderson / B J Geraghty
2 Battleoverdoyen 10/3
G Elliott / J W Kennedy
Brewin’upastorm 8/1
Olly Murphy / R Johnson
8 City Island 9/1
M Brassil / M P Walsh
14 Sams Profile 11/1
M F Morris / B J Cooper
3 Beakstown 12/1
D Skelton / Harry Skelton
10 Easy Game 25/1
W P Mullins / R Walsh
11 Galvin 25/1
G Elliott / D N Russell
5 Bright Forecast 28/1
B Pauling / Nico de Boinville
6 Castlebawn West 33/1
W P Mullins / P Townend
9 Dunvegan 33/1
P A Fahy / D J Mullins
12 Jarveys Plate 33/1
F O’Brien / P J Brennan
1 Ask Dillon 50/1
F O’Brien / Sean Bowen
13 Notebook 50/1
H De Bromhead / Rachael Blackmore
15 Seddon 50/1
T R George / N D Fehily
16 Valdieu 50/1
N Meade / S W Flanagan

TGT says: The Champ will just be that and he wins the opener for Nicky Henderson and lives up to his name.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: Today’s card begins with the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Nicky Henderson’s Champ -named after the legendary jockey AP McCoy – has been the market leader since landing the G1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury in December. That form has taken more than a few knocks, however, and he is short enough at 5/2 with BetVictor.

The Irish have won four of the last five renewals and Battleoverdoyen, who will make a terrific novice chaser next year, will appreciate any further rain. Few novices’ have created as favourable an impression on me this term, however, as City Island (1.30) and he gets the each way vote this afternoon at 9/1 with BetVictor who are betting each way four places. Do note his owner sponsors this afternoons valuable contest.

The selection is unbeaten over timber and I know there are a number of judges close to the Gordon Elliot yard who feel Dallas Des Pictons is a good thing for the Martin Pipe Hurdle later in the week. That novice was readily brushed aside by City Island over the minimum trip earlier in the season and I will be disappointed if Martin Brassil’s exciting hurdler does not run a big race.

2.10pm RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y £175,000

Run since the 1940’s the Broadway Novices’ Chase has been associated with current sponsors Sun Alliance for nearly 30-years.

This race has become a breeding ground for gold cup winners.  Mandarin, Arkle, Ten Up, Master Smudge, Garrison Savannah, Looks Like Trouble, Denman, Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere have all won this before going onto Gold Cup glory and that could be added to this year with Presenting Percy ones of the favourites for the Gold Cup win.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
2 Delta Work 15/8
G Elliott / D N Russell
8 Santini 7/2
N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville
10 Topofthegame 7/2
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
7 On The Blind Side 12/1
N J Henderson / N D Fehily
3 Drovers Lane 16/1
Miss R Curtis / Sean Bowen
4 Mister Malarky 16/1
C L Tizzard / R M Power
5 Mortal 18/1
Joseph P O’Brien / Rachael Blackmore
9 The Worlds End 25/1
T R George / P J Brennan
6 Now Mcginty 28/1
Stuart Edmunds / T J O’Brien
11 Top Ville Ben 28/1
P A Kirby / Sean Quinlan
1 Count Meribel 50/1
N A Twiston-Davies / M D Grant
12 Drinks Interval 100/1
C L Tizzard / R Johnson

TGT says: Topofthegame gets our vote here but we like the Worlds End at each-way value.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: I have been with Santini for the RSA Chase all season, but he has not had the ideal preparation and I am jumping ship at the 11th hour. I still feel Santini will be the best of British but Delta Work (2.10) has won all three starts over fences for Gordon Elliot and encounters good to soft/soft ground for the first time over the larger obstacles.

The selection won the Pertemps Hurdle 12 months ago and is going down the same route as Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy who did the Pertemps/RSA double in 2016/17. The selection is 15/8 at BetVictor and looks a worthy market leader.

2.50pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 5f £100,000

The Coral Cup, run over two miles and five furlongs, was introduced in 1993 and is one of the season’s most competitive handicaps.

The 2008 winner Naiad Du Misselot was the first Festival winner to succeed by the then recently introduced new distance of a nose. 

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
22 Uradel 11/2
W P Mullins / R Walsh
9 Cracking Smart 12/1
G Elliott / J W Kennedy
13 Brio Conti 12/1
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
5 Farclas 14/1
G Elliott / D N Russell
8 Diamond Cauchois 14/1
G Elliott / N D Fehily
16 Canardier 14/1
D A McLoughlin / R T Dunne
2 Vision Des Flos 16/1
C L Tizzard / R M Power
23 Erick Le Rouge 16/1
Mrs J Williams / Chester Williams
19 Highest Sun 18/1
C L Tizzard / T J O’Brien
1 Wicklow Brave 20/1
W P Mullins / Mr P W Mullins
4 Scarpeta 20/1
W P Mullins / D E Mullins
6 Killultagh Vic 20/1
W P Mullins / P Townend
18 Knight In Dubai 20/1
D Skelton / Harry Skelton
20 Tully East 20/1
A Fleming / D Meyler
24 Calie Du Mesnil 20/1
W P Mullins / Katie O’Farrell
17 Apple’s Shakira 22/1
N J Henderson / B J Geraghty
11 Bleu Berry 25/1
W P Mullins / D J Mullins
12 Ballyandy 25/1
N A Twiston-Davies / Sam Twiston-Davies
14 Dancing On My Own 25/1
H De Bromhead / Rachael Blackmore
3 William Henry 33/1
N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville
7 Lil Rockerfeller 33/1
N B King / Bryony Frost
15 Burbank 33/1
N J Henderson / J McGrath
21 Eragon De Chanay 33/1
G L Moore / Joshua Moore
10 Monbeg Theatre 40/1
Jamie Snowden / Page Fuller
25 Oscar Knight 40/1
T Mullins / M P Walsh
26 Joke Dancer 40/1
Mrs S J Smith / Danny Cook

TGT says: An interesting race and hard to call, but Gordon Elliot’s Farclas is our pick here.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: Uradel has been the best backed horse in the Coral Cup and the 11/2 favourite looks to have been laid out for the race by Willie Mullins. The each way vote, however, goes to Knight In Dubai (2.45) who ran a very good race at Newbury last time when runner up from a 4lbs lower mark. The selection is 20/1 at BetVictor who are paying five places on the race.

3.30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y £400,000

The leading minimum-distance chase in the National Hunt calendar, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is one of the highlights of the Festival. Run since 1959.

The list of winners for the race reads like a who’s who of racing – Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded, Moscow Flyer, Flagship Uberalles, Viking Flagship, Barnbrook Again, Pearlyman and Badsworth Boy are just some of the superstars to have won this.

Altior has the chance to make his mark in history by claiming a third successive title.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
1 Altior 2/5
N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville
5 Min 4/1
W P Mullins / R Walsh
9 Sceau Royal 14/1
A King / D A Jacob
7 Politologue 25/1
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
2 Castlegrace Paddy 33/1
P A Fahy / D N Russell
3 God’s Own 33/1
T R George / P J Brennan
4 Hell’s Kitchen 40/1
H Fry / B J Geraghty
6 Ordinary World 40/1
H De Bromhead / Rachael Blackmore
8 Saint Calvados 40/1
H Whittington / G Sheehan

TGT says: Altior is the class act here, but we do wonder if his colours will be lowered and we think they will be in the shape of Politologue.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann:  In the feature Champion Chase Altior cannot be opposed but at 2/5 with BetVictor he makes little appeal as a betting proposition. Nicky Henderson’s chaser is unbeaten over fences in his 12 previous starts including this corresponding race 12 months ago. Min finished runner up to Altior in 2018 and is 8/11 in the market without the favourite. He can again follow Altior home.

4.10pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y £65,000

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase was introduced at The Festival in 2005 and was initially run as a handicap until switching to a conditions race in 2016.

Balthazar King and Garde Campetre are both two-time winners and Cause of Causes is looking to equal that this year. Tiger Roll is odds-on favourite to make it two from two in this year’s race.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
13 Tiger Roll 6/5
G Elliott / K M Donoghue
3 Auvergnat 6/1
E Bolger / D J McInerney
10 Josies Orders 9/1
E Bolger / M P Walsh
15 Urgent De Gregaine 10/1
E Clayeux / Felix de Giles
14 Ultragold 12/1
C L Tizzard / H Cobden
7 Fact Of The Matter 16/1
Jamie Snowden / G Sheehan
12 Tea For Two 20/1
Mrs J Williams / Lizzie Kelly
8 Hurricane Darwin 22/1
A Fleming / D Meyler
4 Ballycasey 25/1
W P Mullins / Mr P W Mullins
9 Jarob 28/1
G O’Loughlin / M A Enright
5 Bless The Wings 33/1
G Elliott / D N Russell
11 Kingswell Theatre 33/1
M Scudamore / T Scudamore
16 Vyta Du Roc 33/1
N J Henderson / D A Jacob
1 Amazing Comedy 40/1
D Cottin / J Plouganou
2 Aubusson 40/1
Mrs J Williams / Chester Williams
6 Devils Bride 66/1
H De Bromhead / Rachael Blackmore

TGT says: If Tiger Roll stays up, it wins – this would be our meeting NAP.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: Tiger Roll is 6/5 with BetVictor to win at the Cheltenham Festival for the fourth time having won the Triumph Hurdle in 2014, the NH Chase in 2017 and the X-Country in 2018 as well as last year’s Grand National. He is an absolute superstar and a worthy market leader in the X-Country Chase but the each way vote goes to French raider Urgent De Gregaine (4.10).

The selection was two lengths behind Tiger Roll 12 months ago and at 10/1 with BetVictor – each way 4 places – he can again reward each way support.

4.50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y £80,000

The Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, run over an extended two miles, was one of the new races introduced to The Festival in 2005 when the meeting was extended from three to four days.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
3 Band of Outlaws 13/2
Joseph P O’Brien / J J Slevin
17 Lethal Steps 7/1
G Elliott / D N Russell
2 Fine Brunello 9/1
Joseph P O’Brien / B J Geraghty
5 Chief Justice 14/1
G Elliott / K M Donoghue
18 Star Max 14/1
Joseph P O’Brien / Rachael Blackmore
12 Coko Beach 16/1
G Elliott / J W Kennedy
16 Ciel De Neige 16/1
W P Mullins / R Walsh
8 Fanfan Du Seuil 20/1
T R George / P J Brennan
10 Our Power 20/1
A King / Tom Cannon
14 Zizaneur 20/1
P J Hobbs / Mr D Maxwell
20 La Sorelita 20/1
W P Mullins / D J Mullins
6 Naturelle 22/1
A Couetil / Alexis Poirier
15 Dogon 22/1
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
1 Torpillo 25/1
N A Twiston-Davies / D A Jacob
7 Got Trumped 25/1
Mrs J Harrington / R M Power
9 Beat The Judge 25/1
G L Moore / Joshua Moore
11 Fox Pro 25/1
Mrs J Williams / Lizzie Kelly
13 Prabeni 25/1
C J Mann / J McGrath
21 Praeceps 25/1
A King / Wayne Hutchinson
19 Oi The Clubb Oi’s 33/1
Ian Williams / T J O’Brien
22 King D’Argent 33/1
D Skelton / Harry Skelton
4 Cracker Factory 40/1
A King / Sam Twiston-Davies

TGT says: We like a couple of each-way shots in the shape of Coko Beach and Ciel De Neige.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: Gordon Elliot’s Lethal Steps (7/1 from 10s at BetVictor) is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time and has attracted plenty of support in the market in recent days. Indeed, it would be no surprise if he went off market leader come post time. Note Elliot has saddled the winner of the race twice in the last half-dozen years.

5.30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y £75,000

The Champion Bumper is the most prestigious flat race, or “bumper”, in the National Hunt calendar. The contest was introduced at The Festival in 1992.

The Irish have dominated this race over the years and trainer Willie Mullins has had nine winners.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
3 Envoi Allen 10/3
G Elliott / Mr J J Codd
13 Blue Sari 10/3
W P Mullins / B J Geraghty
7 Meticulous 8/1
Joseph P O’Brien / D O’Brien
1 Abacadabras 10/1
G Elliott / Ms Lisa O’Neill
2 Ask For Glory 11/1
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
6 Master Debonair 12/1
C L Tizzard / R M Power
8 Sempo 12/1
Joseph P O’Brien / Mr Derek O’Connor
11 Thyme Hill 20/1
P J Hobbs / R Johnson
12 The Glancing Queen 20/1
A King / Wayne Hutchinson
4 Flic Ou Voyou 25/1
P F Nicholls / Sam Twiston-Davies
5 Jelski 25/1
N A Twiston-Davies / Jamie Bargary
4 Cascova 25/1
M Meade / N D Fehily
9 Some Detail 50/1
N J Hawke / Sean Bowen
10 Thor De Cerisy 66/1
M Scudamore / Brendan Powell

TGT says: Paul Nicholls’s Ask For Glory gets our vote in the last on the second day.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: Willie Mullins is normally mob-handed in the concluding Bumper and saddled four of the first five home 12 months ago, but he relies on just the 4-y-old Blue Sari (3/1 fav at BetVictor). The last winner from his age group was the brilliant Cue Card who went off 40/1 back in 2010.

The each way vote goes to Sempo (5.30) who is 12/1 at BetVictor and created a favourable impression when showing improved form to win by 15L at Thurles last month. Joseph O’Brien saddles two with Meticulous (8/1) long considered the yard’s leading chance, but I just prefer the chance of his bigger-priced stablemate.

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