Cheltenham Festival 2020 Day Two Preview : Tiger Roll set for another Cross Country Win
Cheltenham Festival 2020 Day Two Preview
Day two of the Cheltenham Festival takes place on Wednesday 11th March and the feature race of the second day is the Champion Chase. This is a race that Altior has won for the past two years, and he is back looking for three in a row. However with the up and coming Defi Du Seuil and Irish raider Chacun Pour Soi up against him, this is likely to be his toughest task to date. Elsewhere there are a further six races to look at with the RSA Chase featuring potential Gold Cup horses of the future and the Cross Country Chase where Tiger Roll looks to land a Cross Country/Grand National double for the third consecutive year.
Here we take a look at each race on day two of the festival, with links below to take you to the other three days of the meeting.
For all the latest news ahead of the big meeting, make sure you keep checking our Cheltenham Festival page where we will highlight horses that are not running or have been ruled out as well as any major betting moves to report. We also have a dedicated page for day two of the meeting where you will find information about the day as well as a look back at the results from the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.
Ballymore Novices Hurdle - 1.30
If you are looking for people's so called 'bankers' of the meeting then you are going to find one of the most fancied horses of the week in the opening race on day two. The horse in question is Irish runner Envoi Allen, who won the Champion Bumper last season and is coming back to try and win his second Cheltenham Festival race here. At the moment he does have other entries, although it is highly likely he will run in this race, this has been the plan for him all season.
The Gordon Elliott trained runner has a perfect record in his career so far. He ran in one point to point and won that, moved to national hunt flat races and won all four of his starts in that sphere, including a Grade One and Grade Two race, then he's done the same over hurdles, winning three out of three including two Grade One races.
As far as form goes, he doesn't have anything to prove at all, he has it all in the book. The only question mark over him is whether he can do it on the day, but we have seen nothing from him to suggest otherwise so far. He has been at the festival in the past and handled the pressure, we think he can do that again.
He is a banker in many people's eyes, and already a short price with the bookmakers. That is all justified, and he is our pick in the race to get punters off to a flying start.
RSA Chase - 2.10
A race where we may find Gold Cup horses of the future, and last year's winner Topofthegame would certainly have been a possible for that race this season but was unfortauntely injured over the summer. This season we look to have a typical renewal, full of horses that appear to love jumping and have proven stamina for the longer trips.
The Nicky Henderson trained Champ heads the betting, a horse that has attracted attention ever since he was named. He is named after former top jockey AP McCoy, with owner JP McManus picking out the horse he liked the best to use the name on. This is the chosen one, and big things are obviously expected. However, it hasnt been plain sailing so far. He fell in his most recent run, which was at Cheltenham and in his two victories before that he was less than impressive over the obstacles.
He is taken on in this race with an Irish runner who is lacking experience, with just two chase starts to his name, but one that looks tailor made for jumping and long distance races. The horse is Minella Indo, who caused a huge shock when winning at a price of 50/1 at the festival last year. We won't get anywhere near those odds on him this time around, but he looks to have a great chance in this race.
He was beaten on chase debut but came out and won really nicely on his second start. It would have been nice to see him run again over hurdles, but even without that he looks to be a major player in the contest.
Coral Cup - 2.50
One of the toughest races to solve all week, let alone on this day. The Coral Cup is a minefield, full of horses that are potentially better than their handicap mark suggests or horses that have once been very good and slipped down the weights.
If you can pick the winner out of this race you are doing well, and for our selection we go to Ireland for a horse that has really caught the eye in his last two start.
The horse is Thosedaysaregone, a handicapper from the shrewd Charles Byrnes yard. He won his most recent outing at Leopardstown by just over a length, while in his previous race he was an eye catching runner down the field, looking to need further. That has been the theme of both recent runs, this horse needs a longer trip to be seen at his best.
If he turns up in the Coral Cup then he will get that, while he should have no trouble handling the fast pace they will go after running over two miles on his last two starts. There could be plenty left in the tank for this horse, his trainer is shrewd and knows how to get one ready, so we are backing Thosedaysaregone for the Coral Cup.
Champion Chase 3.30
If the front three in the market all make it to Cheltenham and line up against each other for the Champion Chase then it will more than likely give us the race of the festival If they are anywhere near each other as they swing for home then it could be one of the greatest Cheltenham finishes we have ever seen.
Altior will be a noticeable absence for this race. He's won for the past two years but was found to be lame at the weekend. He's had to be withdrawn from the race. Defi Du Seuil has relished the drop back in trip and won two Grade One races this season, as well as a Grade Two over course and distance. Chacun Pour Soi disappointed on his first start this season but made up for it with a hugely impressive success at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Altior came back to two miles and won the Game Spirit at Newbury to show he is not out of it, and that was enough for most bookmakers to make him favourite for the contest. Despite that, and despite his two wins in the race we have to go against him here. Defi Du Seuil has looked a different animal back to two miles, and is the form horse of this season. He will stay strongly like Altior and up the hill we should witness a great battle. We are siding with Defi Du Seuil to come out on top in it though, he is the pick for us.
Cross Country Chase - 4.10
If you are a fan of backing Irish horses, this is where you will find the second of their big bankers of the week. Tiger Roll is a special horse, aiming to win the Cross Country for the third time, win his 5th festival race in total and after this if all is ok he is going for his third straight Grand National title. The bookies will be fearing the Envoi Allen and Tiger Roll doubles on the day, something plenty of punters will be thinking about placing.
It is hard to get away from Tiger Roll in this race, he is the standout candidate. Even though Easyland has been bought by JP McManus with the Cross Country in mind, and rates as a danger, he is going to have to improve massively to get near Tiger Roll who had a good comeback race on Sunday 16 February.
The manner of his victory last season was hugely impressive, with over 20 lengths the winning margin. This is a horse loved by the people, a Cheltenham legend, a Grand National legend and one that we cannot go against.
Boodles Juvenile Handicap - 4.50
Another tough race to solve on day two is the Boodles Juvenile handicap, a race formerly known as the Fred Winter. This is a race for younger horses who are just not quite good enough to run in the Triumph Hurdle, this gives them another option.
With that in mind, pinpointing which horses will run here and which will go for the Triumph is not easy, but we think we have found a horse that is destined for this race and looks to be on a handicap mark good enough to go close.
The horse comes from the Nicky Henderson yard and that is Palladium. He's ran three times over hurdles and won his most recent two outings, with the winning margins being 11 lerngths and 10 lengths. While he has certainly not been beating too much of note, by winning so easy he is giving the handicapper a tough job when it comes to rating him. He doesn't quite look good enough to be anything other than an outsider for the Triumph, so hopefully the Henderson team run him here where we think he can go well.
Champion Bumper - 5.30
The Irish tend to always have a strong hand in this race and it is one of their recent winners from the Dublin Racing Festival that really stands out here. The horse is called Appreciate It and is trained by Willie Mullins, a man who has had plenty of success in this race before.
He's ran three times this season, winning his last two starts. The first of those was a six length victory in a Leopardstown race which looked to be decent and he caught the eye. However, his most recent win was enough to really impress us, and something that pushed him into favouritism for this contest.
He won a Grade Two bumper at Leopardstown again, this time coming away from the field to win by seven and a half lengths while being eased at the finish by jockey Patrick Mullins. He seems to have a serious engine and will thrive going up the Cheltenham hill, this is a horse to take note of for now and the future, and our pick in the Champion Bumper, the final race on Wednesday's card.