Alex Hammond’s Tip of the Day: Sky Sport’s Alex Hammond provides a race-by-race guide to day two at the Cheltenham Festival. Cheltenham free bet if you lose
NEPTUNE NOVICES’ HURDLE
If I could put this up in flashing lights (or neon), I would. Neon Wolf for Harry Fry is my top tip. I implore Harry Fry to take this route and not run in the Sky Bet Supreme as it looks the easiest option for this embryonic chaser.
He’s a long-term prospect for his talented trainer and hopefully he can get a Cheltenham win on his CV this year before going on to great things in the future over fences.
He’s now only 13/8 favourite given the news that Finian’s Oscar misses the race, but he’s solid for me. It seems we’ll know on Sunday morning where Neon Wolf runs and it looks like this is his most likely target.
This Grade One looks fascinating with several horses in with a shout. On my shortlist are 100/30 favourite Might Bite who crashed out when looking set to hack up in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas and then had a nice confidence boost to win easily at Doncaster last month.
If the ground is soft enough, Acapella Bourgeois, who flew home for Sandra Hughes in a Grade Two novice chase at Navan last time, will run a big race but it was a horse I mentioned a moment ago, American for Harry Fry who I had been going to take a chance on prior to his withdrawal; back to the drawing board!
It’s not going to take me long to tell you what I fancy for this. Yes, it’s often a dreadful race to try and find the winner of, but this year there looks to be a blot on the handicap in the shape of Tombstone.
Gordon Elliott’s horse is a class act and off a mark of 149 could be chucked in. He’s 5/1 clear favourite with Sky Bet and you’ll see worse favourites than him during the week.
He beat Stayers’ Hurdle fancy Jezki in a Grade Three at Gowran last time and last year’s Sky Bet Supreme fourth had the option of being supplemented for the Champion Hurdle, but they decided to stick with the handicap route.
His biggest threat comes in the shape of stablemate Automated who is Sky Bet‘s 10/1 second favourite and he looks a great bet for each way punters.
Everyone loves a duvet day, well today is even better, it’s Douvan day! He looks the most solid horse of the week, but at 1/4 he isn’t backable.
He’s one to put in accumulators though and should be a banker. Let’s just hope we see the championship performance that we are expecting from Willie Mullins’ star.
God’s Own could be one to back in the market without Douvan and he’s currently 3/1 with Sky Bet. He has the option of the Ryanair too, but I think Tom George is leaning towards the Champion Chase with the rest of the season in mind.
CROSS COUNTRY CHASE
Way too difficult to get serious about, but Enda Bolger does little wrong with his runners in these races and he’s represented by Cantlow, Auvergnat, Quantitaviseeasing, Colour Squadron and Love Rory.
He won’t have things all his own way though and it should be a good spectacle.
FRED WINTER H’CP HURDLE
Dinaria Des Obeaux is an exciting filly for Gordon Elliott and she is one to keep on side in this ultra competitive juvenile handicap. She was an impressive winner on her debut for Elliott in a maiden hurdle having won her only start in France and wasn’t disgraced in Grade One company the time after that behind stablemate Mega Fortune who goes for the Triumph.
She got back to winning ways in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse last month, albeit she was awarded the race in the steward’s room after a narrow defeat and being hampered by first past the post Ex Patriot.
She’s a 10/1 shot with Sky Bet for Wednesday’s race and at that price offers some each way value. Noel Fehily really fancies his mount, 6/1 favourite Divin Bere. He beat leading Triumph fancy Master Blueyes at Huntingdon on his debut for Nicky Henderson giving weight to the runner up, that looks a very good performance.
Carter Mckay is Sky Bet‘s 3/1 favourite for the bumper for a man who has an impressive record with his runners in this race; Willie Mullins. He cost £160,000 last April and is owned by Pearl Bloodstock and it looks like money well spent so far as he has won both his bumpers for new connections to add to one second place finish and one win in the point-to-point field.
Warren Greatrex could saddle the best of the Brits in the shape of Western Ryder who is a 7/1 poke. He couldn’t give masses of weight to Daphne du Clos last time out and wasn’t disgraced in defeat that day at Newbury. He’s an each-way price at the moment.
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