Cheltenham Festival: Day Two Betting Tips

The top-class racing at the Cheltenham Festival continues apace on Wednesday.

The feature race of the day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, is the fastest chase around where only the best jumpers need apply.

There is also a handicap equivalent, the Grand Annual, and three other Grade 1s to decide the champions of their respective divisions.

Here are tips for all seven races on day two of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

1.30pm – Gallagher Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1 - 2m5f)

Aside from a reverse on his hurdling debut, BALLYBURN has gone unbeaten through his career and looked to have champion novice hurdler honours in safe keeping after he won in emphatic fashion at the Dublin Racing Festival. That was over two miles, but he has already won over 2m4f and his pedigree suggests he is more of a stayer anyway. He has therefore been switched to this target over the Supreme and looks very tough to beat here.

Selection: Ballyburn

2.10pm – Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (Grade 1 - 3m½f)

Fact To File is a serious talent but still looks a little raw. He sometimes struggles to settle in his races and can be fiddly at his fences, jumping to his right on occasion. While he could easily become the best of these in time, there is plenty of room to oppose him in the here and now at odds-on. Stay Away Fay comes strongly into calculations if this turns into a battle, but the value play could be MONTY'S STAR. A half-brother to Monalee, who was fourth in the 2020 Gold Cup, Monty's Star looked set for the top himself when winning at Punchestown in heavy ground on New Year's Eve.

Selection: Monty's Star

2.50pm – Coral Cup (2m5f)

You could pick any number of horses who have a good chance of winning this extremely competitive handicap hurdle. Had the rain stayed away, First Street or Guard Your Dreams would have been big-priced runners worth considering. Their form is mostly on less-testing ground, however, so the vote goes to DODDIETHEGREAT. He was fourth in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last time on heavy ground and he shaped very much like a longer trip would suit. He gets that now and has snuck into this race at the bottom of the weights.

Selection: Doddiethegreat

3.30pm – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1 - 2m)

One of the pitfalls of worshipping Willie Mullins is that we rarely stop to critique his horses. People just assume El Fabiolo will win this race, and it is not doubted that he is the likeliest winner of the Champion Chase. But eight of the 11 odds-on shots in this race since 2000 have been beaten, because punters fail to respect the fences enough in lightning-quick two-mile races. El Fabiolo shares that weakness. So can JONBON, if his last run is any guide, but that was under a new jockey and he is generally a sound jumper. The difference in price between him and El Fabiolo is too great.

Selection: Jonbon

4.10pm – Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase) (3m5½f)

A bunch of former Gold Cup horses dominate the market for this cross-country chase. None have a better CV than MINELLA INDO, who won the Gold Cup in 2021. He was also second in 2022 and had previously finished first and second at Cheltenham Festivals early in his career. This is his time of year and he took well to the idiosyncratic course when racing here in November. The weights are much more in his favour this time.

Selection: Minella Indo

4.50pm – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (2mf)

Plenty of these are interesting, but the one niggling doubt about LIBBERTY HUNTER had been that all his form to now was in soft or heavy ground. That won't be an issue now given all the rain that has fallen in the build-up to the festival. He has been impressive, winning his last two runs in good style and beating an Arkle horse on the second occasion. With Harry Cobden booked, he deserves to be seen as the likeliest winner of the Grand Annual.

Selection: Libberty Hunter

5.30pm – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (2m½f)

Willie Mullins is the obvious place to start in this race, and of his eight runners You Oughta Know appeals as the best value. But Mullins always throws plenty at the bumper. Paul Nicholls rarely does and for that reason TEESHAN firmly enters calculations. He won a point-to-point by 41 lengths and then on his debut for the yard eased clear in heavy ground at Exeter. He will suit Cheltenham and have no issue with the ground.

Selection: Teeshan

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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