Cheltenham Festival 2018 Day Two Odds Comparison - Wednesday 14th March

Cheltenham Festival 2018 Day Two Odds Comparison - Wednesday 14th March

There is certainly no let up in the action at the Cheltenham Festival, and Day Two looks set to begin with a bang, as the mighty, Samcro takes to the track in our opener. Can anything derail the Gordon Elliott star? The big race of the day is of course the Champion Chase, but will Altior and Douvan make it on time? Here’s our take on each of the day’s seven contests.

1:30 - Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

The Irish do like a home-trained banker for this meeting, and in the Gordon Elliott-trained, Samcro, they may well have exactly that. Six races and six wins, see the six year old by Germany now unbeaten in the point to point, bumper and hurdling spheres. Samcro’s latest effort was to slam a Grade 1 field by 5 ½l in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle, without apparently breaking sweat. He looks very, very good and currently heads the market for the Day 2 opener at best betting odds of evens with Betfair.

We won’t be opposing him here and we predict he’ll go off shorter. That said, he may be headed to the Supreme Novices’ so be sure to back him with a betting site offering Non-Runner No Bet.

Best of the rest may well prove to be the Nicky Henderson runner, On The Blind Side (6/1 with Betfair). Unbeaten in three career starts, the overall level of his form looks strong, with previous victims Springtown Lake and Momella both going on to record solid wins of their own. Should Samcro head to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle instead, we would expect this one to end up favourite on the day.

2:10 - RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase

It seems to be boom or bust with Anthonyn Honeyball’s, Fountains Windfall in his career over fences to date. Four starts have yielded two falls and two impressive wins. He really couldn’t have done it much easier than he did when landing a handicap off a mark of 146 at Kempton last time though, with the subsequent hike to 158 leading him to take this route. He’s the best horse in the race for us and worth backing at 8/1 with Betfair, despite those jumping errors.

Of those at bigger prices, it’s hard to knock what Black Corton (16/1 with BetVictor) has done this season. In the capable hands of Bryony Frost, the Paul Nicholls runner is four from five this year, with his only defeat coming when going down narrowly to Elegant Escape two starts back. He looked to have work to do with Fountains Windfall last time out when that one came down four from home, but will likely be right there to capitalise on any errors once again.

2:50 - Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

One of the biggest handicaps of the week often tops the list when it comes to betting turnover on Day 2. Expect a big field and a hugely competitive contest in what is always an ideal race for an each way punt. The exact makeup of this field is however difficult to predict at present. A couple of useful pointers when assessing the early entries are that eight of the past 10 winners have been aged seven or younger, with only one of the winners in this period being saddled with more than 11st6lbs.

Nicky Henderson’s, William Henry would be our early bet for the race. It didn’t quite work out for this one over fences, but he is yet to finish outside of the first two in five starts over these smaller obstacles, and heads here on the back of a good win in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton. At 14/1 with Betfair in our odds comparison, he looks good each way value and well worth a bet.

3:30 - Queen Mother Champion Chase

With the likelihood seeming to be that Douvan will miss this contest, there is no doubt that Nicky Henderson’s Altior (11/10 with Ladbrokes) is the best horse in the race. His current wellbeing does however remain something of a mystery. The eight year old is due to run at Newbury this weekend, but as things stand he is yet to be sighted at the track this season following a health issue and wind operation. We do hope to see him back at his best, but can’t back him at such a short price with so many questions still unanswered.

Min did the job impressively in the Coral Dublin Chase last time and looks set to go well. It’s hard to think that the likes of Politologue and Fox Norton wouldn’t have won that Leopardstown contest in similar fashion though and they look to be better value at the current odds. Politologue appears to be a horse firmly on the up, and having already accounted for Fox Norton in the Tingle Creek this season, looks the each way bet in the race at betting odds of 5/1 with William Hill.

4:10 - Glenfarclas Chase

Expect to see a clutch of runners in the JP McManus colours here, as his horses so often dominate this type of contest. Enda Bolger has been his chief partner in crime over the years, and that combination will likely be represented by 2016 winner Josies Orders this time around. He looks set to go well again, but preference is for the horse who took this prize 12 months ago.

Gordon Elliott’s Cause Of Causes has been an absolute superstar around here over the years, winning a National Hunt Chase, the Kim Muir Handicap and of course this contest last year. A proven ability in this type of race counts for plenty and the odds of 10/3 available with Betfair look a perfectly fair price.

4:50 - Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

We Have A Dream from the yard of Nicky Henderson boasts the best form of those listed in the early betting for this race, but with a Grade 1 win already to his name, the Triumph Hurdle looks to be his most likely destination. Pete So High won well last time out in a big field maiden at Thurles and is interesting going for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown.

The one we like though is Nube Negra from the yard of the increasingly powerful Dan Skelton. Skelton’s former boss Paul Nicholls has taken two of the past three runnings of this, but it could be his protégé’s turn this year. Second to Apple’s Shakira two starts back at this track, he again produced another solid effort in regard to this race when winning as he liked last time out in a Novice contest at Doncaster. Our Cheltenham odds comparison shows him priced at odds of 16/1 with BetVictor and he looks worth an each way punt.

5:30 - Weatherby’s Champion Bumper

The Willie Mullins runner Blackblow beat a good looking field in the big bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival and consequently rocketed towards the head of the market for this. Both he and the second that day – Rhinestone from the yard of Joseph O’Brien – look likely to go well. Another runner from the O’Brien yard, Alighted, made quite an impression when scoring on debut in the Gigginstown House Stud colours, and is another for the short-list.

Best of the bunch though may well prove to be Nick Gifford’s Didtheyleaveuoutto. The manner in which he travelled supremely well throughout last time out at Ascot was certainly impressive, as was the turn of foot he displayed to quickly put the race to bed. He looked to have a lot left in the tank to our eyes that day and we will be backing the son of Presenting to follow up in this one at solid looking odds of 8/1 with Betfair.