Megan Nicholls Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Tips – Champion Chase, Grand Annual & more

Every day of the Cheltenham Festival, BetMGM horse racing ambassador Megan Nicholls brings her renowned insight on the biggest week in the sport exclusively to our Cheltenham Hub.

The former jockey, now an award-winning TV pundit, previews the action on day two in Gloucestershire.

And remember: for the latest odds, specials, profiles, blogs and more visit the BetMGM Cheltenham Festival Hub.

Cheltenham 1.30 – Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle

Ballyburn (1/2 fav) is obviously another short-priced favourite for Willie Mullins but he does look to be very smart.

He was impressive at Leopardstown, is a strong traveller, has speed as well as stamina and being back up in trip should not be a problem provided he settles nicely.

Ballyburn looks like he is an extremely talented horse going forward and could just be the superstar novice hurdler that we see this year.

I think it's open in behind him – but I wouldn't be looking away from the favourite.

Megan's Selection: Ballyburn WIN

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Cheltenham 2.10 – Broadway Novices’ Chase

This is a red-hot race despite only having six runners.

Fact To File (10/11) is an absolute monster and blows you away when you see him in the paddock; a gorgeous big horse.

It's unknown territory with him being up in trip but the only way anyone could beat him is by outstaying him – and I hope that Stay Away Fay (10/3) will do just that with cheekpieces on for the first time.

He won at the festival last year in the Albert Bartlett and I think running in open company gave him some really solid and valuable experience around Cheltenham last time.

I am going with Stay Away Fay hoping he can outstay Fact To File, who we have seen is beatable over fences and hasn't had the ideal prep race, considering it was only a match race last time.

Megan's Selection: Stay Away Fay WIN

Cheltenham 2.50 – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

Sa Majeste (5/1) is the obvious contender here. There's been lots of talk about him – it's his handicap debut and he has limited experience but, with what he's done so far, you can't really knock him.

The form is strong after beating Noble Yeats last time. That form has been boosted and we know the quality that Noble Yeats has, so I’ll take Sa Majeste to win this.

For an each-way bet, I have looked at two horses here. Lucky Place (10/1) is one of Nicky Henderson’s, so the form of the yard would be a question mark and he’s another running in a handicap for the first time.

With that in mind my main each-way shout here would be Ballyadam (16/1), who drops down in grade. He was fifth at Cheltenham in the County Hurdle last year and has gone well in all his races here to date in the big handicaps.

He does have to carry top weight but last year he was in a more competitive race, so I think Ballyadam can outrun his odds and be a fairly solid each-way candidate here.

Megan's Selection: Sa Majeste WIN; Ballyadam EW

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Cheltenham 3.30 – Queen Mother Champion Chase

This is another straightforward one from me. It’s my banker from last year – and I suppose we better put him as the banker again this year – El Fabiolo (1/2 fav).

I can't see him getting beat to be honest. He's a league above the rest here. He can make mistakes but he's enough of a brute to just plough through the fences, and that's fine!

I think Jonbon’s (7/2) confidence has gone. I'd like to see Edwardstone(7/1) ridden the same way he was at Newbury and, if he is, the forecast here will be him and El Fabiolo.

Megan's Selection: El Fabiolo 1st, Edwardstone 2nd (Forecast)

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Cheltenham 4.50 – Grand Annual

I'm going Sa Fureur (9/1). I picked Quilixios in the Arkle and he obviously finished in behind him last time out at Naas.

He runs in a handicap chase for the first time and, having been run in graded races previously, I like that angle.

Sa Fureur looks a very smart hurdler and I just think he is unexposed in comparison to a few of the rest. If he can handle the bigger field, which I don't think will be a problem, then I think he runs a massive race.

He was disappointing at the festival last year but it's too early to say he doesn't like Cheltenham so I am giving him another chance here.

**Megan’s Selection: Sa Fureur WIN

Cheltenham 5.30 – Champion Bumper

I've talked about it for the last couple of weeks and I'm going to stick to my guns and go with Quebecois (14/1), who I think has a great each-way chance.

I think my dad holds a really strong hand here with him and Teeshan (8/1) but I don't think there is an awful lot between them and Teeshan is about half the price.

It's a really open race but I don't think any horse in here is a world-beater and none have particularly blown me away to think they have an outstanding chance.

Megan’s Selection: Quebecois EW

All odds correct at time of publication but subject to change

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