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2021 Cheltenham Festival Day Two Tips – Best bets for every race on Wednesday

By Jon Vine
17 Mar 2021
  • We provide our tips for every race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival
  • Four Grade One races will take place at Cheltenham on Wednesday 17th March
  • Bob Olinger, Monkfish and Nube Negra are our best bets in the big races
  • Craigneiche and Embittered are our best bets in the handicaps
  • We also fancy Sir Gerhard to beat Kilcruit in the Champion Bumper
Craigneiche (left) is our selection in today's Coral Cup. (Getty)
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Four fantastic Grade Ones headline the action on Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival. After Altior’s late withdrawal, Chacun Pour Soi will carry an odds-on price into this year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase.

A couple of our strongest handicap fancies run on day two as well, so let’s dive straight into our Cheltenham selections.

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day Two Schedule

1:30pmBallymore Novices' HurdleGrade One2m 5f
2:10pmRSA Novices' ChaseGrade One3m
2:50pmCoral Cup Handicap HurdleGrade Three Handicap2m 5f
3:30pmQueen Mother Champion ChaseGrade One2m
4:10pmCross Country ChaseClass Two Handicap3m 6f
4:50pmGrand Annual Handicap ChaseGrade Three Handicap2m
5:30pmChampion BumperGrade One2m

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day Two Tips – Tuesday 17th March

Race 1 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Tips

Bob Olinger1:20pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade One) 2m5fGET 15/8 HERE
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Just seven novices will go to post in this year’s Ballymore, making any sort of each-way punt rather pointless. While I have great respect for both Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame, I backed BOB OLINGER to win the 2021 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the start of the season, and I’m confident he will prove himself the best horse in this race.

Henry De Bromhead said he fancied Bob Olinger to beat Ferny Hollow when they clashed over two miles on his reappearance, so his charge must show plenty of speed on the gallops. Rachael Blackmore's mount proved his stamina on heavy ground in the Lawlor's Of Naas, and I think his finishing kick will be strong enough to see off two capable rivals.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Best Bet – BOB OLINGER

Paul Townend and Monkfish celebrate after winning the Albert Bartlett. (Getty)

Race 2 – Brown Advisory Chase Tips

I’m a huge fan of MONKFISH, so I’ve been delighted to see how well he’s jumped since switching to fences. I backed him at a decent price after he won his beginners’ chase in the autumn, and I’m fully expecting Willie Mullins’ star to win the Brown Advisory Chase.

However, I’ve also been very taken with Eklat De Rire this season. Henry De Bromhead’s star made all to win over 25 furlongs on debut, and comfortably saw off two classy rivals in Escaria Ten and Pencilfuloflead to win his maiden Graded race as Naas.

I backed Eklat De Rire each-way at 14/1 when I published my ante-post preview of this race, as I think he has the best chance of troubling Monkfish. A final field of just six takes an each-way bet out of the equation, but a reverse forecast between the two could be a profitable bet.

Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase Best Bet – MONKFISH + Eklat De Rire (Reverse Forecast)

Race 3 – Coral Cup Tips

Craigneiche E/W2:30pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m5fGET 12/1 HERE
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Grand Roi has the ideal profile for the Coral Cup, and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing the market leader. I’ll probably have a bet on him myself on the day, as I could see Denise Foster’s runner getting strong at the top of the market.

The one I like even more is CRAIGNEICHE, who hacked up on his only start of the season so far at Ascot. 

Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old has only raced four times in his entire career so far and, if you read my full guide to the Coral Cup, you’ll know that lightly-raced sorts do especially well in this race. Nicky Henderson’s recent record in the Coral Cup is very strong, and there’s plenty of reason to suggest Craigneiche remains open to further improvement.

Coral Cup Best Bet – CRAIGNEICHE (each-way)

Race 4 – Champion Chase Tips

Chacun Pour Soi has been the outstanding chaser of the season thus far. Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old has won all three of his starts, with the last two coming in Grade Ones at Leopardstown. If in the same vein of form, then the favourite will take some stopping in Wednesday’s feature. However, given how fragile he’s been in the past and his lack of experience around Cheltenham, I’m inclined to take him on.

Drying ground would really suit Rouge Vif, who bolted up in a handicap here earlier in the season, and ran well in the Tingle Creek considering the ground was far too soft for him. I’ve backed Rouge Vif at a big price. I’ve also back NUBE NEGRA each-way in the 2021 Champion Chase, and he’ll go down as my best bet.

Dan Skelton’s charge has always been a lovely jumper of a fence, placing twice in Graded company as a novice. He’s only been seen once so far this season, putting in a career-best effort at Kempton to thrash Altior in the Desert Orchid. Nube Negra ran up to an RPR of 170 without coming out of third-gear at Kempton, so there’s clearly more to come from him. 8/1 remains a tasty each-way price.

Champion Chase Best Bet – NUBE NEGRA (each-way)
Champion Chase Next Best - ROUGE VIF (each-way)

nube negra
Nube Negra winning at Kempton earlier in the season. (Getty)

Race 5 – Cross Country Tips

Tiger Roll E/W3:40pm Cross Country Chase (Class 2) 3m6fGET 5/1 HERE
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If Easysland is back to his best, he’ll win. Yet, prior to winning last year’s Cross Country, Easysland ran five times. He’s only been seen once so far this season, a losing effort in a handicap here at Cheltenham in November, so there’s a chance he could be a little undercooked.

I don’t really have much interest in this year’s Cross Country. It’s not the most exciting race. I had an each-way bet on TIGER ROLL when he drifted out to 9/1 after the Boyne Hurdle. That was more of a sentimental punt than a confident selection though, and I won’t be backing anyone else against the favourite.

Cross Country Chase Best Bet – TIGER ROLL (each-way) 

Race 6 – Grand Annual Tips

I was delighted when EMBITTERED was declared in the Grand Annual, and even happier to see Rachael Blackmore get the ride. Joseph O’Brien’s charge has been running at a high level since switching to fences. Although he hasn’t managed to win, his four efforts have been extremely respectable.

After a similar novice hurdles campaign, O’Brien dropped Embittered into the County Hurdle last season, and only Saint Sam and Aramon were able to get past him. Embittered looks really well-treated with just 11-00 to carry, and I can see why he’s been backed into favouritism. He’s probably my strongest handicap fancy of the week.

Grand Annual Best Bet – EMBITTERED (each-way)

Race 7 – Champion Bumper Tips

Sir Gerhard4:50pm Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2mGET 2/1 HERE
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I was worried for a while that SIR GERHARD might not run at Cheltenham, given his new trainer, Willie Mullins has the favourite for the race, in the form of Kilcruit. 

Sir Gerhard destroyed Minella Drama – who’s recently won a Listed Hurdle and is now rated 142 – by 12 lengths on his sole point-to-point start, before thrashing two future winners in The Banger Doyle and Vintage Prosecco by 14 and 17 lengths on debut under rules. Sir Gerhard then quickened clear of a decent yard-stick in Letsbeclearaboutit to win a Listed Bumper at Navan by a comfortable margin.

I think there’s little to separate Sir Gerhard and Kilcruit at the top of the Champion Bumper betting. Both are clearly outstanding talents. I just feel Sir Gerhard will be too strong for Kilcruit in the finish, and he appeals most at 2/1.

Champion Bumper Best Bet – SIR GERHARD


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