Day two of the April Meeting offers punters the last chance to see the professionals at Cheltenham before we break for the season.
After racing is over, the Cheltenham April Sale takes place. A select group of placed and winning point-to-pointers and National Hunt form horses go on offer in the Tattersalls sale ring.
Before that though there is a fine card to watch which include some Challenger Series finals, a Grade 2, a Listed event and a Premier Handicap. We have a tip for all seven races.
1.30 (Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – Class 2) – WELL VICKY
This 2m4½f race is the final of the NAF Challenger Series. There are plenty in with chances in this 18-runner contest, but the one that caught our eye most is Alastair Ralph’s Well Vicky.
Before finishing fourth to Dollar Bae last time, who also made our shortlist for this race, Well Vicky had won three in a row and was improving sharply.
She was favourite for that race on merit and there’s nothing to suggest her improvement has suddenly stopped. In fact, we reckon it was only the soft ground that beat her and she can get back to winning ways here.
Sashenka and Grivetana are also worth considering.
2.05 (Mares’ Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase Final – Grade 2) – VOICE OF CALM
Though this is for novice mares, as a limited handicap at Grade 2 level it is very competitive.
Despite this, we got it down to La Renommee, La Domaniale and Voice Of Calm who we think are the three to concentrate on, especially the latter.
Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old is just too good a price to ignore. She ran well enough on her chase debut last autumn before hating heavy ground at Bangor, though it should be noted that she was put straight into Listed company there.
She improved when third in a handicap at Taunton before winning ever so easily at Leicester last time and it seems there is a good bit more to come from her.
2.40 (Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – Listed Race) – LUTINEBELLA
Outside of the Cheltenham Festival, though surely success there will come in time, Fergal O’Brien tends to do very well at this course.
His Lutinebella won in an absolute hack canter last time and looks capable of getting to and beyond the required level to win this race. Paddy Brennan takes the ride as usual.
Challengers are numerous, including Queens Rock, Zestful, Ahorsewithnoname and Ilovethenightlife.
3.15 (Challenger Series Mares’ Chase Final Handicap Chase – Class 2) – CREDO
This mares’ chase is a bit of a stamina test, being run over nearly three and three-quarter miles around the New Course.
That said, the ground is quick this week and it’ll suit those with a bit of pace between fences which is where Credo may just get the race won for trainer Anthony Honeyball.
The eight-year-old has been the model of consistency this season. Since going chasing in November, her form figures read 21221 and, most importantly, on two of her last three runs she showed very different talents, both of which she’ll need here.
At Hereford in December, she plugged on and kept going on soft ground over this trip. It showed she has the stamina and she is more experienced now. Last time out at Warwick she was faced with quick ground which she skipped over beautifully to win very easily. She can put it all together here.
It’s competitive in behind. Gazette Bourgeoise is a live danger, while there is plenty to like about Rose Of Arcadia, My Silver Lining, Good Luck Charm and Lady Kk.
3.50 (Fillies’ Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Class 1) – OBSESSEDWITHYOU
This race is a Premier Handicap, akin to the Grade 3 handicaps we were used to seeing so it’s a good race.
Any juvenile race is hard to judge. None of the runners are experienced, while they are also improving at different rates. It makes sense though that almost all horses in this field will have been trained to peak today in order to win at this level.
With that, we can see the level they each reached at the same stage of their hurdling careers, their respective second runs being the ones to concentrate on, before adjusting that for weight as this is a handicap.
That being done, Jamie Snowden’s Obsessedwithyou looks good value. Based on what she achieved after two runs and having improved nicely since, she seems well handicapped to go well at a nice price ahead of Pink Fire Lilly, Arclight and Komedy Kicks.
4.25 (Mares’ Handicap Chase – Class 3) – FORTUNES MELODY
Over the two-mile trip on this sort of ground, proven speed really should come to the fore.
With that, Harry Fry’s Fortunes Melody looks excellent value to turn over the likely short-priced favourite Pink Legend who represents Venetia Williams.
Another thing to note is that, while we’re backing a mare who hasn’t won in six chase wins, she has a record over fences this season of 1353224 and never seems far away. She is almost guaranteed to run her race and we know she likes these conditions which isn’t the case for all the mares in the field.
The aforementioned Pink Legend is the main danger, ahead of Royale Margaux.
5.00 (Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race – Class 2) – MARY
As the last race is so wide open, we can afford to take a small punt rather than have a very firm opinion. That punt is on Mary.
Ian Williams trains the four-year-old filly who is by Yeats and her handy weight advantage is what we’re trying to take advantage of here.
She was runner-up on her debut, putting in a performance that would see her be competitive here so considering the level of improvement she surely has in here on race two, her chance is obvious.
This is competitive though, with any amount of others holding chances including El Elefante, Dontyawantme and Bobbi’s Beauty in the finale.