Race-by-race guide to Cheltenham Day Two
An amateur jockeys race that has turned into a bookmakers' benefit fund over the years. If a gun were put to the head, Charles Byrnes' AlFa Beat would get the nod but favourites have a poor record in this and it's a race best watched.
Some good animals have come out of this over the years and the list of previous winners include Danoli, Istabraq and Hardy Eustace. Even in poor ground, Jessica Harrington's Oscars Well has a great turn of foot and has the ability to go one better than the Willie Mullins-trained So Young.
The formbook says Time For Rupert will win this with a little bit in hand, but the lack of a run this year is of some concern. Aiteen Thirtythree, Jessies Dream, Wymott and Mikael D'haguenet can't be scratched from the list either so it might be best to sit this one out.
Master Minded made hard work of the Victor Chandler Chase but Tony McCoy admitted afterwards that he gave him a poor ride. Big Zeb will probably go off as favourite but he's been taking on the same horses in small fields in Ireland, so I'm not convinced we've learned anything new. If both horses run to form, Master Minded should just about edge it.
Some big gambles have been ruined by outsiders in this race over the years so be careful if following the money. It's hard to find the winner in such a big field, but Howard Johnson's Arcalis is a reliable enough sort and could be worth a few pence each-way around 16/1.
A race for four-year-old novices only. The word on the street is that trainer Venetia Williams has been preparing Tenor Nivernais for this all season and at 6/1, he can be worth backing each-way.
The Irish have a great record in the bumper, winning 14 of the last 18 renewals; although Cue Card was a surprise winner for Colin Tizzard at 40/1 last year when he beat Al Ferof. I've a feeling the prize money will stay in Britain again this year and based on his Newbury form, the progressive Ericht (Nicky Henderson) is worth a punt at around 6/1.