Thursday, 17 August 2017

Cheltenham Festival 2018: Wednesday's Early Favourites

Embed from Getty Images
James Stevens previews what could be a great second day at Cheltenham, which could feature a clash between superstars Altior and Douvan. Check out the early favourites for Day Two here!

Embed from Getty Images
Neptune Novices' Hurdle - Debuchet (16/1)
Last year's leading trainer Gordon Elliott has the favourite for both the big novice hurdles, with Fayonagh in the Supreme and this horse Debuchet for the Neptune. The latter finished second behind the current Supreme favourite in the Champion Bumper at the last Cheltenham Festival before going on to take a listed prize in convincing style. He looks better suited to the 2m4f trip than the 2m in the Supreme, and if he can prove his class over hurdles could be a leading figure in the Neptune.

With uncertainty about Fayonagh's (16/1) ideal trip, he could end up in the Neptune and is a co-favourite with his stable companion. Another for Gordon Elliott in the race is the unbeaten Samcro (16/1) , who has carried the Gigginstown colours to four victories. He was last seen winning easily at Fairyhouse. Nicky Henderson's Champion Bumper third Claimantakinforgan (20/1) , and Willie Mullins' Next Destination (20/1) who finished a place behind him are both Neptune chances.

Embed from Getty Images
RSA Chase - Yanworth (12/1)
One of the classiest hurdlers in training is Alan King's Yanworth (12/1), and he could be a force if switched over fences next year. In the race won by leading Gold Cup hope Might Bite last year, Yanworth could only finish midfield when sent off favourite in the Champion Hurdle but landed two top level prizes last season in the Liverpool and Christmas Hurdle.

Henry De Bromhead's Monalee (16/1) finished second at the Cheltenham Festival last season, and could improve over fences. Finian's Oscar (16/1), who missed out on the Festival, could make amends in 2018 for Colin Tizzard. He established himself as a top horse when winning the Mersey Novice Hurdle, before losing out by a nose in a Grade One event at Punchestown. Neptune first and second, Willoughby Court (16/1) and Neon Wolf (16/1) are also chances.

Embed from Getty Images
Queen Mother Champion Chase - Altior (13/8)
Undoubtedly if the Champion Chase features both Douvan and Altior it may be one of the very best renewals of the race in its' history. Altior (13/8) is the bookies favourite at a short price, and Nicky Henderson's seven-year-old has been a sensation. The former Supreme winner enjoyed a faultless campaign over fences last year, winning the Arkle at Cheltenham along with the Celebration Chase, Henry VIII.

Douvan (7/2) would prove a very popular winner of the race following his massive disappointment last year. Willie Mullins' superstar seven-year-old lost his 14 race unbeaten streak when found lame after this run, and hasn't been since. Mullins' team is boosted by Yorkhill (10/1) and Min (12/1) who could represent the County Carlow master. Fox Norton (14/1) , who was second to Special Tiara, is another with a chance for Colin Tizzard.

Embed from Getty Images
Cross Country - Cause Of Causes
One of the Cheltenham Festival greats is Cause Of Causes (9/1) who will return to the Cotswolds in search for a fourth Festival success. A winner of the National Hunt Chase and Kim Muir, he hasn't enjoyed success anywhere else than the March showcase. He won this race by nine lengths last year, before going on to finish second in the Grand National. Gordon Elliott's nine-year-old would be fancied to reclaim the prize.

Josies Orders (10/1) won the race in 2016, but missed out all of last season. The nine-year-old is a specialist on cross country courses, and would be fancied to win the prize for a second time. Improving Foxrock (14/1) is another who could appear at the Festival, he's beaten the likes of On His Own and On The Fringe in hunter events last year. Bless The Wings (16/1) was second in this last year before finishing in the same position in the Irish Grand National. JP McManus' Cantlow (16/1) and Auvergnat (16/1) could go to the Cross Country.

No comments:

Post a Comment