2020 Cheltenham Festival day two tips – Through the card tips
Jon Vine takes a look through the card on Ladies’ Day and provides readers with his 2020 Cheltenham Festival day two tips for every race on Wednesday 11th March.
Day two at the Cheltenham Festival is officially known as Ladies’ Day, and viewers look set to be treated to a stellar card. The highlight on Wednesday is always the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and the 2020 renewal looks set to be the best race of the entire meeting!
I’ve taken a look through Wednesday’s card in full to provide my Cheltenham Festival day two betting forecast.
2020 Cheltenham Festival Day Two Tips
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Tips
Many experts are suggesting ENVOI ALLEN is the next big thing, and I’d certainly count myself amongst them. Gordon Elliott’s charge hasn’t put a foot wrong during his career so far. Last year’s Champion Bumper winner has claimed Grade One victories over both two and two-and-a-half miles this term. Although the margins of his victories haven’t been emphatic, you get the feeling Envoi Allen has been doing just enough to get the job done – a trait all true champions possess.
I’ve already backed Envoi Allen for the Ballymore and he features in a number of my Cheltenham Festival multiples. However, from a single-bet stand-point at this stage, the favourite doesn’t offer much in the way of value. You might be better off waiting until all of the free bet offers for Cheltenham day two are released, to see if you can get a tasty price boost on Envoi Allen. Also, there’s now a strong chance that Gordon Elliott will switch his star to the Supreme, which would be a nightmare for tipsters!
So, taking that into account, I’m going to throw up THE BIG BREAKAWAY as the second of my Cheltenham Festival day two tips in the Ballymore.
Colin Tizzard’s novice has looked a real star-in-the-making. Robbie Power has been virtually unmoved in the saddle as The Big Breakaway has sealed eight-length triumphs at Newbury and Chepstow. As he’s never truly been tested, we don’t know how well Tizzard’s charge will respond to pressure and Cheltenham remains an unknown. However, my eyes are telling me that The Big Breakaway is a very good horse and one of Power’s top rides at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. He looks the best each-way Ballymore tip on 8/1 with Unibet.
Regular readers of mine will already know that Champ does not feature amongst my Cheltenham Festival tips. I’m not denying Nicky Henderson’s favourite is a classy horse, and three miles is certainly his best trip. Yet, I don’t think Champ is any better over fences than he was over hurdles. Plus, he’s shown a liking real liking for Newbury and Aintree, where there’s an exceptionally long run to the line. The Old Course at Cheltenham is completely different, and Champ hasn’t won on either of his outings around this track.
Allaho scares me, as he looks a Grade One winner in waiting. Something is telling me, though, that Willie Mullins may choose the Marsh Novices’ Chase over the RSA. Copperhead is another looming danger in the betting. Yet, MINELLA INDO has been my long-term fancy for this three-miler throughout the season, and I see no reason why I should desert last year’s Albert Bartlett winner.
Those who suggested his victory at last year’s Festival – where Minella Indo started with odds of 66/1 – was a fluke were made to eat their words at Punchestown. Henry De Bromhead’s star followed up with a second Grade One triumph, again beating Allaho to end his novice hurdles season on a high.
I will admit, the results Minella Indo has secured over fences don’t look overly impressive. The form of his loss to Laurina has taken a nose dive, but Rachael Blackmore’s mount jumped and travelled well over an inferior trip that day. Minella Indo got off the mark in another novice contest, beating a future Grade Two winner in Captain CJ. Quotes from Henry De Bromhead’s stable tour suggest the team are confident, and I’m sure Minella Indo will produce a big performance on his return to Prestbury Park.
I had included Pym as a good each-way chance shot, but with four very strong contenders at the head of the betting, I can’t see Henderson’s second strong getting involved. As I mentioned earlier, I think Allaho is the main danger to Minella Indo. I think the two Irish contenders are stronger challengers than both Champ and Copperhead. A reserve-forecast between Minella Indo and Allaho could be an excellent back-up plan, if last year’s Albert Bartlett winner comes up just short.
Coral Cup Tips
I’m going to fire two arrows at this lucrative handicap, and the first of my Coral Cup tips will be PROTEKTORAT. Dan Skelton’s five-year-old overcome Imperial Alcazar and Redford Road to claim a maiden victory over hurdles in a Listed race here on New Year’s Day. On just his second start over two-and-a-half miles, Protektorat then ran a blinder to place third in the Ballymore Trial on Trials’ Day.
Skelton’s youngster crossed the line just four lengths behind Harry Senior that day, when giving his rival five pounds at the weights. I thought that performance was worthy of a run in the Ballymore itself, so to see Protektorat enter this handicap with just over 11-00 on his back is a chance I don’t want to pass up.
The second of my each-way Cheltenham Festival day two tips will be EGLANTINE DU SEUIL. On her first start for Willie Mullins, Eglantine Du Seuil scored in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle here at Cheltenham. Mullins’ mare backed up that victory with a couple of thirds in Grade One company, losing out to Honeysuckle at Fairyhouse and Reserve Tank at Punchestown.
Eglantine Du Seuil made eye-catching progress through the pack in a handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival, eventually coming up a length short over that two mile trip. Mullins has left the County Hurdle option open, but I think Eglantine Du Seuil would be much better suited to this longer distance and she looks a solid each-way Cheltenham Festival tip.
Champion Chase Tips
Wow, what a wonderful renewal of this historic Grade One we have to look forward to. Any of the top three in the market would be a worthy winner of day two’s highlight. But, sadly, there can only be one winner.
Chacun Pour Soi may be the best jumper out of the three and comes to Cheltenham on the back of a win over Min in the Dublin Chase. I was, however, expecting Willie Mullins’ chaser to pull further clear of his rival than he eventually did that day. Cheltenham is an unknown quantity for this fragile sort too, so I’m not going to include Chacun Pour Soi in my Champion Chase tips.
Quotes from Nicky Henderson’s stable tour suggest he’s got Altior in ideal shape and the two-time Queen Mother winner proved he still had an electric turn of foot when winning the Game Spirit. Yet, the performances Altior has produced over the past 18 months suggest he could be slightly on the decline, and I think DEFI DU SEUIL will be waiting to receive the Champion Chase crown with open arms.
Philip Hobbs’ charge was one of the stars of the season during his novice campaign last term, and Defi Du Seuil has carried on in the same vein in 2019/20. Following a hard-fought victory in the Tingle Creek, Barry Geraghty’s mount blew Un De Sceaux away in the Clarence House, sealing a seven-length triumph without ever coming out of third gear.
I’ll be expecting Geraghty to sit quietly behind the pace. The stronger the early pace, the better. Jumping the last, Defi Du Seuil will make his winning charge, and I don’t think anyone in this field will be strong enough to deny him. He’ll be my sole runner in the Cheltenham Festival day two tips in Wednesday’s feature race, the Champion Chase.
Cross Country Chase Tips
I won’t spend too long on the Cross Country, as I think TIGER ROLL is an absolute banker if he turns up in one piece. The two-time Grand National winner proved his fitness with a fine return to action in the Boyne Hurdle. A third Cross Country victory will have been the main target for Elliott and his team and, even on even money, I think Tiger Roll is an excellent bet. As you would expect, he’s the most confident of my Cheltenham Festival day two tips.
Boodles Handicap Tips
While writing my original preview of this juvenile handicap, I uncovered some very interesting trends. Every single winner of the Boodles Handicap had either run on the flat, or had an outing in France before winning at the Cheltenham Festival. There have also been more winners carrying a price higher than 16/1 than below it. So, while the likes of Aramax and Mick Pastor are sure to be popular Cheltenham Festival day two tips, I’m going to place my faith in two overlooked outsiders.
The first of those being BLACKO, who will carry 11-5 if Alan King throws his juvenile into the fray. Although he could only place on both his starts over hurdles in France, Blacko has ran out a comfortable winner on both of his outings on British soil, beating two possible Festival rivals along the way.
The second of my each-way Cheltenham Festival tips will be BAJAN EXCELL for last year’s Champion Hurdle winning trainer, Gavin Cromwell. An experience horse on the flat, Bajan Excell has won nicely in two competitive handicaps this term. Cromwell’s charge will be dropping down in class, having run in a level-weight Grade Three last time out, and winning experience on an undulating track like Limerick could come in handy around Cheltenham. Of all my Cheltenham Festival tips for the handicaps on day two, I think Bajan Excell offers the most value.
Champion Bumper Tips
Another short-priced selection to round off my Cheltenham Festival day two betting forecast, but I’m finding it hard to see past APPRECIATE IT. Willie Mullins’ six-year-old was beaten on his first start under rules, but he’s bounced back with two hugely impressive displays.
Patrick Mullins sat happily just behind the pace at the Dublin Racing Festival, and displayed a nice turn of foot to put the race to bed with ease. We know he stays two-and-a-half miles, a fact which important over two miles around Cheltenham racecourse, and I don’t think there’s any value to be gained betting against the favourite.
In fact, if you rolled three of my Cheltenham Festival day two tips, Defi Du Seuil, Tiger Roll and Appreciate It into a treble, you’d get around 15/1 at this stage with bet365. To me, that looks excellent value!