Cheltenham Festival: Day Two (Ladies Day) Preview & Betting Tips - 13th March 2013

Day two is Ladies Day at the Festival, but with four Grade 1 races – including the Queen Mother Champion Chase – you’re more likely to have your gaze cast firmly over the racing than the various fashion disasters on display. So read on for our betting tips for the second day of the Cheltenham Festival.

1:30 – John Oaksey National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders´ Novices´ Chase) – 4m

The National Hunt chase is the longest race at the Festival at four miles and has 24 fences to skip over. Now in its 153rd year, who are the likely contenders to take victory in this historic race?

Boston Bob was installed as the bookies favourite, but after his impressive last-gasp triumph in the Grade 1 Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown last time out he is to appear in the RSA Chase later in the day. A bold but potentially fruitful move.

As such, our pick for this one is the seven-year-old Irish gelding Buddy Bolero, who has won each of his two chases to date. He was impressive and showed indications there is more to come when winning at Leicester by 12 lengths last time out and at 9/2 with Betfred or Coral we think he is the leading contender here.

Offers On This Race:

2:05 – Neptune Investment Management Novices´ Hurdle – Grade 1, 2m5f

The first Grade 1 of the day, this race was won last year by the highly impressive Simonsig, who won the Arkle on day one, despite being pushed hard by our 33/1 each way tip, Baily Green. The highly rated German five-year-old Pont Alexandre is still the favourite for this one and is available at a standout price of 13/8 with Betfred.

Trained by Willie Mullins, Pont Alexandre won easily when making all the running last time out at Leopardstown in a Grade 2 hurdle and should have what it takes to step up here. Having said that, with just three races under his belt, the youngster might get spooked by the Cheltenham crowds, so it might be worth looking a little further down the card.

We like the look of the Jonjo O’Neill-trained six-year-old, Taquin Du Seuil. The French gelding has come in a lot in the betting from an initial price of 16/1 to its current best odds of 5/1 with Bet365. He won a Grade 1 hurdle at Newbury in December and has been rested since. With AP McCoy in the saddle, he is our choice here.

Offers On This Race:

2:40 – RSA Chase – Grade 1, 3m110y

As mentioned, Boston Bob is running in this more prestigious race, and has been backed into the 7/2 favourite with SkyBet and others. Despite winning last time out we do have our doubts about Bob’s class as he left it very, very late and could easily have missed out. In a field of this standard we think the glory will go elsewhere.

And that might mean to current 4/1 (Stan James) second-favourite, Unioniste. The French five-year-old grey has won four of his last five, inckuding a Grade 3 handicap chase at Cheltenham in December. With Ruby Walsh in the saddle he has a better chance – in our estimations – than the current favourite Boston Bob.

For a decent each way punt, consider the 33/1 shout Real Milan (with Stan James). He was pulled up at Ascot last time out but has won five of his eight rules races and might just sneak third.

Offers On This Race:

3:20 – Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase – Grade 1 2m

The feature race of the day, it is all about one horse: Sprinter Sacre. The Nicky Henderson-trained French seven-year-old appears destined for greatness after winning his last seven, including the Grade 1 Victor Chandler Chase at Cheltenham in January and the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December.

If you backed Sprinter Sacre when priced at evens, give yourself a pat on the back: he’s come in to just 1/4 with most bookies now, though is still available at 2/7 with Bet365. So do any of the other runners stand a chance of success? Well, anything can happen in racing, but we think this is the most likely race of the festival to go with the favourite.

Of course, Sprinter Sacre has not won everything ever, and only managed third place in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year. So if you think he’ll slip again on the biggest stage, the 2011 winner Sizing Europe could be your best bet at odds of 6/1 with Totesport. Or even back those two in a straight forecast (with Sacre first, of course).

* Stop Press * Coral have announced that they're offering odds of evens on Sprinter Sacre, and will be until at least the end of Saturday. Maximum bet is £20 per person - get on it now whilst you can! Full details here.

Offers On This Race:

4:00 – Coral Cup (A Handicap Hurdle) – Grade 3, 2m5f

Our first selection to consider in this handicap hurdle is Master Of The Sea. Priced at 12/1 with Totesport and others, the Irish six-year-old has won each of his last four hurdles, stepping up in class each time, but getting the same result on each occasion. With 11-0 on his back it will not be easy, but we think he could be the one to triumph here.

Another option we like the look of is Mr Watson, who is priced at 16/1 with BetVictor. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained six-year-old won a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in January and could emulate that success again here. He looks a very good value each way shout at those odds.

Offers On This Race:

  • Bet on the Coral Cup with Coral and if your selection finishes second to Pendra, you'll get your money back as a free bet worth up to £200. Click here to claim this offer from Coral.
  • Back a winner at odds of 4/1 or more and get a free bet to use on the Novices Chase that takes place tomorrow at 1:30. Read our summary or claim this offer from Bet365.

4:40 – Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3, 2m110y

Another race introduced in 2005, this is a good chance to spot some future racing stars as all the runners are four-year-olds. With so few races behind them and the handicaps likely to have a big influence, it’s pick a name out of the hat time here.

Having said that, we do like the look of second-favourite Kalmann, who is priced at 10/1 with BetVictor and Ladbrokes. He has been backed in over the last few days, indicating his camp fancy he’ll do something special here. Not having raced in the UK puts a big doubt in our minds, but a small wager at 10/1 seems reasonable to us.

Offers On This Race:

  • Place an each way bet on this race and if your horse finishes 5th, you'll get the losing place portion of your bet refunded as a bonus (max £200). Click here to claim this offer from Betfred.

5:15 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper – Grade 1, 2m110y

The Champion Bumper is the last race of the day and another Grade 1 with a potentially very exciting field of runners in a rare flat race at Cheltenham. Our pick to shine in the last race of day two is the Irish gelding Golantilla, available at decent odds of 8/1 with Betfred and others.

The five-year-old showed some form when completing a 13-length victory over two miles at Cork in which he ticked all the right boxes. We’re hoping the ground will have churned up a bit by this time of the day, in which case he’ll be in his element.

Individual Race Previews & Betting Tips

As well as the summaries provided above, we also delve a bit deeped into the feature races. You can find these previews by clicking on the relevant races heading or by choosing from the list below: