Paul Ferguson has Three selections on day two of the Cheltenham Festival. Compare odds and bet. Selections…
With Sprinter Sacre not a betting proposition, today’s feature Queen Mother Champion Chase is best watched as Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten superstar is simply un-opposable.
The big betting heat of the day is the Coral Cup and, with the Willie Mullins horses in such good form yesterday, it’s not too surprising to see Abbey Lane being backed in to favouritism overnight.
However Pendra (4:00) is a horse regular readers will know I am a big fan of and he is the only horse I backed after the publication of the handicap weights a fortnight ago; I’m not deserting him now and 8/1 represents fair value about a high-class novice, who should relish the step up in trip.
Charlie Longsdon saddled a couple of winners at Market Rasen on Sunday and his stable-star has been bought by JP McManus since we last saw him chasing home Melodic Rendezvous in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle in early January.
Sadly we didn’t get to see how the winner would perform in the Supreme yesterday, but I suspect a mark of 139 underestimates the son of Old Vic and everything is in place for a bold show under Tony McCoy.
Earlier on the card Pont Alexandre (2:05) can keep the Mullins bandwagon rolling in the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle, with the five-year-old looking a top-class long-term prospect on both starts in Ireland to date.
The five-year-old is the first horse that Mullins saddled in a Grade 1 on his debut for the yard and he followed up, by staying on really strongly to land a Grade 2 (under a penalty) at Leopardstown in January.
The bullish vibes from both trainer and Ruby Walsh are infectious and, given they could have considered running either Champagne Fever or Un Atout here, it has to be significant that this was always the stable’s number one hope.
Heavily backed in recent weeks, the selection was a best priced 13/8 overnight with Betfred. For those looking for a bit more value Sizing Gold could get a little closer to the selection than he did last time as he should improve for meeting slightly better ground.
Held in high regard himself, I backed him at big odds for the Albert Bartlett, so am pretty disappointed to see him running today but he could easily outrun his odds of 33/1. Paddy Power have him chalked up at 22/1 without the market leader and can be backed each-way in that market.
The concluding Champion Bumper looks as competitive as ever and the Irish will obviously hold a strong hand with Le Vent D’Antan and Golantilla looking very good on debut. The latter reportedly worked poorly at the weekend, however, which is slightly off-putting (though these vibes can, of course, sometimes be misleading).
Of the home contingent, I’m sure expensive purchase Fascino Rustico is capable of much better than he showed on debut for Paul Nicholls, but Regal Encore (5:15) looked really good at Chepstow in October and is worth supporting despite a 151 day lay-off.
Snapped up by JP McManus after winning at Southwell last February, the son of King’s Theatre travelled with ease, before picking up impressively for ‘AP’ and he can round off a good day for the champion jockey.
Anthony Honeyball has his string in fine form, saddling three winners from his last nine runners, and the selection was available at 9/1 with Paddy Power last night with each-way terms to 4 places.
2:05 Cheltenham Festival: Pont Alexandre (13/8 Betfred)
4:00 Cheltenham Festival: Pendra (each-way 8/1 Bet Victor)
5:15 Cheltenham Festival: Regal Encore (each-way 9/1 Paddy Power)
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Last Year’s Book Results – Leading Prospects:
- SPRINTER SACRE – Unbeaten – winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- SIMONSIG – Winner at Aintree & Cheltenham
- CINDERS AND ASHES – 10/1 winner of Supreme Novices Hurdle
- BOBS WORTH – 9/2 winner of the RSA Chase
- MENORAH & SILVINIACO CONTI – Both Aintree Winners
- SIR DES CHAMPS – Unbeaten inc 3/1 Jewson Cheltenham Winner
- FINGAL BAY – Won 4 times inc Challow Hurdle
- RAYA STAR – 10/3 winner at Wetherby, 12/1 Ladbroke Hurdle winner, 15/2 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner
- AMBION WOOD – 14/1 EBF Final Sandown winner
- CHAMPION COURT – 6/1 G2 Dipper Novices Chase winner
- PALACE JESTER – 14/1 winner at FFos Las
- SWINCOMBE FLAME – Hat-trick winner inc Lanzarote Hurdle at 9/2
- TEAFOR THREE – 5/1 NH Cheltenham Chase winner (Manifesto Novices’ Chase)