Day two of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival was another brilliant day, with City Limits winning the opening Ballymore Novices’ Hurdles for the sponsors. We then got to see three possible future Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders in the RSA Chase, in which Topofthegame got the better of Santini and Delta Work.
There was also a stunning finish to the Coral Cup as William Henry returned fresh from wind surgery to snatch victory away from Wicklow Brave, who had finished second to Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D’Allen on his last start.
Altior then landed his second Champion Chase but not before he gave backers a fright by landing on the top of the water jump.
Tiger Roll was next and he put up what will probably go down as the performance of the week when winning a second Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, which was his fourth victory at the Cheltenham Festival. A second crack at the Grand National now looks assured for Gordon Elliott’s charge who could become the first horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals since Red Rum.
There was also a first Cheltenham Festival winner for trainer Joseph O’Brien in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle before amateur Jockey Jamie Codd made it two wins from two rides at this year’s festival by winning the bumper aboard Envoi Allen.
Now it’s time for our five free tips for day three of the Cheltenham Festival.
JLT Novices’ Chase (1.30)
It’s round three between Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation with the score standing at 1-1. However, it could be worth remembering that Vinndication was the 11/8 favourite when the three met at Sandown last time.
Kim Bailey’s six-year-old was unbeaten up until then and, as plenty of horses don’t take to Sandown, he could be the value-bet to come back to his best form in the JLT Chase. The overnight rain that is forecast at Cheltenham should keep the ground soft and that could turn this into a real test of stamina which should suit him.
Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10)
There doesn’t look to be a horse with the potential of Presenting Percy or Delta Work in this year’s renewal of the Pertemps Network Final, with the last two winners both going on to prove graded class over fences the following year.
However, the 145-rated chaser Abolitionist could be a potential handicap blot off a mark of 134 over hurdles. His big target is the Grand national but, as his trainer trained Pineau Du Re to finish third in this race before winning the Grand National, he looks worth an each-way punt as he goes on soft ground. This could also be a real test of stamina, so it has to be a bonus that he’s run well over further in an Irish Grand National.
Ryanair Chase (2.50)
Footpad has performed consistently over two-miles at the Cheltenham Festival over the last three years, finishing third in a Triumph Hurdle, fourth in a Champion Hurdle, and when winning the Arkle last year.
On each occasion, he has run as though he would relish a step up in trip, and he gets the chance to prove that here. Trainer Willie Mullins certainly thinks it’s what he wants as he’s always said he could be a future Cheltenham Gold Cup horse. Ruby Walsh must also think he’s going to improve for the trip, as he’s picked him over Un Des Sceaux, who has finished first and second in the last two renewals.
Stayers’ Hurdle (3.30)
New kid on the block Paisley Park runs here after a brilliant season but he did finish last in his race at the 2018 festival. Meanwhile, it will be a big feather in the cap of Willie Mullins if he can get Faugheen to win a Stayers’ Hurdle at the age of 11.
That’s why Supasundae looks the each-way bet in the race. Jessica Harrington’s nine-year-old was second to Penhill last year and won the Coral Cup at the 2017 festival, so he could pick up the pieces if the principals don’t run their race.
Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (4.10)
Trainer Neil Mulholland has already won big races like the Classic Chase and the 888bet Handicap Chase this year and he’s kept Kalondra fresh for this race. The eight-year-old is a course winner at Cheltenham and was well-fancied to win the Betvictor Gold Gup in November but unseated his rider. He will need some luck, as he likes to be held up, but I’m hoping this will be the big day his trainer is convinced Kalondra has got in him.