Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival sees the Betawy Queen Mother Champion Chase as the headliner at 3.30 and this is a must and just watch event, with the all conquering Douvan freely available at a tasty 1-4.
As with Altior yesterday, this prohibitive price is probably fully justified, as Willie Mullins’ 7-y-o looks a class (or two) apart. Unbeaten in all 9 chases, it’s unlikely that anything else in the race can mount a serious challenge, so view and admire.
There are betting opportunities elsewhere on the card, not least in the first race at 1.30, the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle. Favourite for this is the Harry Fry trained Neon Wolf, which is unbeaten in Points, Bumpers and both hurdle runs. The manner in which this horse has won over timber indicates even more improvement to come for today’s step up in trip and although 2-1 is not over exciting, this could look a huge price come 1.37 this afternoon.
For a value outsider in this race, try Consul De Thaix e/w at 16-1 for the Nicky Henderson yard.
NJH also looks the guy to follow in the second race at 2.10, the RSA Novices Chase over 3 miles and a bit. He runs three in this, all with chances, but for me, the one to be with is Might Bite at 7-2. Would have won the Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day by at least half the track bar a fall at the last and has since proved its wellbeing with a canter round Doncaster. Already a winner on this course as a hurdler, bar a fall this is a strong bet.
Regular blog readers may remember some very uncomplimentary comments made previously about the inclusion of the Glenfarclas Chase at quality Cheltenham meetings, but today’s Mickey Mouse event (‘See, you’ve done it again’) has thrown up a contender worth a small e/w punt. Usuel Smurfer, from the same owner/trainer/jockey combination that won the last race yesterday is an ex-French trained 7-y-o which has had one try at the ‘Bank’ fences and finished a close second behind today’s opponent Auvergnat at Punchestown at the beginning of last month. Half a stone better off with that horse today and yet is available at 18-1 – let’s have a go and maybe I can learn to love Walt Disney.