PREVIEW: Cheltenham Festival Day 2

On day one at Cheltenham, the favourites were on top form for many of the races, despite the heavy going, but will this be the same on day two?

In the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, Samcro is the red-hot favourite and has been praised like no other horse all week. The Gordon Elliott-trained horse has won on his last seven starts and looked very impressive when winning the Deloitte.

Black Op must be considered highly too, and he handled the heavy ground well at Cheltenham last time out, but Samcro should be seen to be too much for the rest of the field.

In the RSA Chase, even though Presenting Percy seems a sure fire favourite, it is anything but the case in this grade one chase. Monalee could come close especially after seeing off a quality field at the Flogas Novice Chase. Also, Elegant Escape has shown great form this season and could provide headway as well.

The Coral Cup is harder too call, but the favourite in this, Max Dynamite, should not be underestimated, maybe since he was pointed at the Coral Cup. William Henry was also impressive when winning in the Lanzarote Hurdle, and will be up there.

Le Breuil could also come close after taking a nine-length victory over Benatar but has since struggled to recapture that form.

Potentially the race of the whole festival will be the Queen Mother Chase, which includes three top class horses in Min, Douvan and Altior. All who will certainly have a chance of winning this grade one chase.

However, between the three, Altior is quite a short price mainly because the Nicky Henderson trained horse is unbeaten over fences this season, which includes beating his rival in this race, Min, at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2016.

Willie Mullins’ trained horse, Douvan, has made a return to this race where it saw him take off at red-hot favourite last year, but an injury meant he was well beaten. If he can make a return to his earlier form, then can definitely push Altior all the way.

In the Cross Country Chase there are two standout horses, and it is no surprise to see them at the top of the odds. Cause of Causes and The Last Samurai have impressed all season long and should go neck and neck throughout the race. Cantlow could also perform an upset due to the impressive form of the horse.

The Fred Winter Handicap is as wide open as ever, with Nube Negra heading the betting, mainly due to the race it ran against Apple Shakira, only losing by four lengths. Embole could be worth a fancy, mainly due to the form of the horse, and the fact that eight of the last 13 winners have been 14/1 or above.

Willie Mullins has clearly targeted this race as the Irish trainer has sent seven of his fastest flat runners over to partake in this race. Despite the impressive form this season from Acey Milan and Didtheyleaveyououtto, it’s hard to look past the Mullins’ horses in this race.

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