Much like Friday, day two of Cheltenham’s opening meeting of the season gives us another seven races to get stuck into, all 7 of them being Class 2 races for good measure so we should see some pretty nice types for the future coming out this weekend.
Whatever is placed in these races today are bound to be horses to watch, at least for the first few months of the season anyway, so get your notebooks out but in the meantime here are what we think are the best of the bunch on day 2 of the opening meeting of Prestbury Park’s season:
2.00 (3m1f Handicap Chase) – RELENTLESS DREAMER
We have a very competitive thee mile, one furlong handicap chase to kick things off with and we could have found an excellent each-way shout in the shape of Rebecca Curtis’ Relentless Dreamer at a very tasty price.
The 9yo came out for just one summer run in a very valuable race at Uttoxeter and showed his wellbeing when running third under jockey Adam Wedge. The same man is jocked up today and he can guide our horse to a strong finish at nice enough oddse along with Branqudeur D’Or and For Good Measure who will each be popular in the ring.
2.35 (2m+ 4yo only Hurdle) – GUMBALL
Don’t get me wrong, I can see why the top one Redicean is favourite for this race however there is a strong feeling that Philip Hobbs’ horses were under a cloud all of last season and thus will be coming out this year really rather underestimated.
The time to watch them may well be in handicap races as it appears they will be running off marks that do not truly represent their ability and thus will be getting weight all round, for now though we see an opportunity in this contest.
Gumball then is one who, at these weights anyway, can possibly prove to be too good for this lot at a very fair price and can take care of both the favourite Redicean and potentially also Padleyourowncanoe for place money.
3.10 (2m Handicap Chase) – FOXTAIL HILL
This could be another one for the Twiston-Davies yard as his Foxtail Hill looks like a decent bet to get his season off to the best possible start in the two-mile handicap chase.
Having won this race last year, Foxtail Hill has clearly shown before a liking for these conditions and for the time of year and may be fair value to double up. Bigmarte looks set for place money while I had Modus down as a possible winner of the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Sunday so if this is his trainer’s preferred destination then we must take note of that.
3.45 (3m Handicap Hurdle) – AARON LAD
Dr Richard Newland has very promising 5lb claimer Charlie Hammond up on his Aaron Lad for this and the move may well pay dividends on Saturday with the extra weight possibly the final nail in the coffin of the opposition.
Moving up the ranks nicely before pulling up last backend, Aaron Lad skipped his first planned assignment this season on account of a vet’s certificate but appears ready to go and may well find himself handicapped well enough to take this ahead of Sykes at a big price.
4.20 (3m Novices’ Hurdle) – DINIONS
He may well go off at a short price and as favourite I’m afraid, but it’s hard to ignore the chances of Gordon Elliott’s Dinions n this who comes to Prestbury Park chasing a five-timer.
The races he has been winning en route to this race this year have been nothing of this sort of quality of course, however he’s been doing it all with considerable ease and looks a decent bet to keep his winning run going under top man Richard Johnson.
Colin Tizzard looks set for another good season and his Ultragold is probably best of the rest on this occasion while De Name Evades Me can run on into the places too.
4.55 (2m4f Novices’ Chase) – MONBEG LEGEND
Nicky Henderson’s name has not appeared too much in our first two blogs of the Cheltenham season but it will surely start typing itself by the time December rolls around!
The legendary trainer runs Monbeg Legend in this and all things considered he looks the safest bet, the 8-year-old having not run outside of the first two in any of his 5 chase races to date and with plenty more improvement surely to come.
Gordon Elliot teams up once again with Cubomania and there’ll be a fair few bets running on him should Dinions go on to win the 4.20, however he may just find one too good on this occasion. Movewiththetimes remains one to look out for and could yet pose a danger under Barry Geraghty.
5.30 (2m+ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) – STRONG GLANCE
We hope to end Cheltenham’s opening meeting of the season on a high and will take a chance on Strong Glance being the horse that can do it for us.
Fergal O’Brien’s came on nicely from race one to race two; scoring on debut in good style at Southwell before running a more than respectable fifth in a Listed bumper at Ascot back in December.
He has been wisely waited with and comes from the yard that won this race last season so it’s hoped they know exactly what they have at their disposal and that he is good enough to get the job done. Alain Cawley rides.