Paul Ferguson has three selections for us on day two of the Cheltenham Festival, Simonsig (2:05); Grands Crus (2:40) and Spirit River (4:00) EW. Compare odds and bet
Day Two at Cheltenham can be a “grey” day courtesy of the exciting novice pairing of Simonsig and Grands Crus.
Nicky Henderson’s Simonsig (2:05) can kick things off by landing the Grade 1 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle for Barry Geraghty, who enjoyed the armchair ride aboard the brilliant Sprinter Sacre yesterday.
The six-year-old was beaten by Fingal Bay over this sort of trip in December, after which he was given a break before slamming the smart Knockara Beau in Kelso’s Morebattle Hurdle last month.
It had looked as though the Supreme over 2m would be his target at one stage, but Henderson has opted for the Neptune and, with the ground drying out, he is taken to last home up the hill.
That really is the big worry with the exciting son of Fair Mix, but he’s growing up all the time and he looks the most exciting runner in what could be a slightly below par running of the race. If he settles, he’ll take a bit of beating.
Grands Crus (2:40) is another who had two possible Festival engagements, but connections have decided to take on fellow novices in the RSA Chase and that can pay dividends to the unbeaten seven-year-old.
Runner-up to Big Buck’s in last year’s World Hurdle, he has done little wrong in three starts over fences (made one serious error here on debut) and looked very good when winning the Feltham at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Doubters will point to him tying up in the closing stages that day, but Tom Scudamore was pretty aggressive on him that day and today’s more strongly run race will be right up his street.
Of the day’s handicappers the one I’m taking a chance on is Spirit River (4:00) in the Coral Cup, who looks a bit of each-way value at 20/1.
The seven-year-old carries the same weight (albeit 4lbs higher on official ratings) as when impressively winning this race two years ago and reverts to hurdles after a second crack at novice chasing failed in November.
The son of Poliglote has only actually had four starts since that victory in 2010 and, at the prices, he looks well worth taking a chance on.
2:05 Cheltenham Festival: Simonsig (5/2 Bet365, Betfred, Paddy Power)
2:40 Cheltenham Festival: Grands Crus (6/4 Bet365, Boylesports, Hills)
4:00 Cheltenham Festival: Spirit River (each-way 20/1 Lads, Hills)
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Last Year’s Tips Included 40 Leading Prospects: £499.80 profit to a level £10!
- AL FEROF won Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 10-1
- BENSALEM won Stewart Family Handicap 5-1
- BOBS WORTH won A Bartlett 15-8, 4/4 for year
- CAPTAIN CHRIS won Arkle Trophy 6-1
- FIRST LIEUTENANT won Neptune Investment 7-1
- (plus Grade 1 in Ireland 16-1)
- JAMES DE VASSY won Lanzarote Hurdle 8-1
- LONG RUN won King George 9-2, Gold Cup 7-2
- OSCAR WHISKY won Aintree Hurdle 6-1
- Peddlers Cross (Fighting Fifth Hurdle)
- Medermit (Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase)
- FINIAN’S RAINBOW (Maghull Novices’ Chase)
- WISHFULL THINKING (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)