Tipster and Racing writer Mike Barrett’s Cheltenham Day 2

OVERVIEW – Buoyed by a double for the Mullins yard yesterday punters will be eager to get ‘stuck into’ the exciting Faugheen and in truth he looks hard to oppose. Winner of a point, bumper (beat Josses Hill by wide margin) and three hurdles in facile style Ruby Walsh’s mount will go off at short odds. Having supplied the 1-2 in the mares contest on Tuesday the feat could be repeated here with Rathvinden who could ‘turn the tables’ on his most recent Cheltenham conquerer – the unbeaten Red Sherlock. There are a couple of capable English challengers in the Mick Channon trained Knock House and Nicky Hendersons hat trick seeker Royal Boy
VERDICT – Faugheen can give Willie Mullins his third win in this race in the last 11 years. Royal Boy, Knock House and Rathvinden look the main contenders for the minor honours.

OVERVIEW – The Irish have a fine record here with 5 wins in the past decade and they can again take the prize here but not necessarily with the market leader Ballycasey (some stamina doubts). The one that can bring the prize home is the lightly raced Peter Fahy trained 7yo Morning Assembly. A tough sort who admittedly is unproven on ground better than soft and went down to Galway Plate scorer Carlingford Loughlast time he should have more scope for improvement than the last named and he can give Davy Russell back to back victories in the race (Lord Windermere last year). There are several promising home challengers in the line up and they include Smad Place (placed in two World Hurdles) who has made a bright start to his chasing career and CD winner Le Bec, along with Sam Winner who bids to give Paul Nicholls win number 3 in the last ten seasons. The last trained is also represented by former Irish point winner Just A Par but the talented 7yo does tend to take a good tug.
VERDICT – Russell and Fahy can and the spoils with Morning Assembly. Smad Place ,  Sam Winner and Carlingford Lough look the main threats to the selection.

CORAL CUP hc Hurdle 2m 5f
OVERVIEW  – Paul Nicholls does not boast a good record in this  Grade 3 event but the champion trainer who is treble handed here can strike Edgardo Sol. A quick perusal of this fellows form figures will hardly ‘set the pulse racing’ but he usually runs well fresh and at this track (last time excepted) but he ooks to be on a feasible mark and has the assistance of 5lb claimer Harry Derham to boot. At attractive odds the course winner can fend off the Emma Lavelle trained Timesrembered who boasts fair form in good novice events and this trip/ground also looks up his street. Gordon Elliott’s Bayan comes here a fresh horse (last hurdles outing saw him just touched off by Sametegal who finished runner up in finale yesterday) while the Pipe team will fancy their chances with Dell ‘Arca who ran a good second in a valuable Newbury handicap last month over the minimum trip. Last years Triumph Hurdle runner up Far West (also representing Nicholls) is another for the short list along with Nicky Hendersons top weight Whisper.
VERDICT – Edgardo Sol is the selection to land this typically competitive affair (no favourite obliged in past 10 runnings). Timesrembered looks next best ahead of Whisper and Bayan.


OVERVIEW – Sire De Grugy has claimed the mantle of top 2 miler since the enforced absence of Sprinter Sacre and the Moore trained 8yo looks set to go off favourite to land his ninth chase success. However he has not always been seen to best effect on this track, despite not being beaten that far but at the forecast odds he must be considered a ‘lay’. Nicky Henderson will be eager to land the prize in the absence of his star chaser and he has a strong contender in CD winner Captain Conan. Despite the fact that his last appearance saw him well beaten by Sire De Grugy at Sandown the Barry Geraghty ridden 7yo has already scored a success over the ‘jolly’ and he looks better suited by the ground and track. Arvika Ligeonniere looks the best hope of the Irish but he has not looked quite at home going left handed. The one that appeals to me is the Tom George trained Module who acts on the ground, is tough and has scored over track and comes here on the back of a battling success over Dodging Bullrts (not disgraced yesterday) in a Newby Grade 2 event on heavy over the trip.
VERDICT  – Module under Paddy Brennan can continue his rise in the chasing ranks and is just given the nod to beat Captain Conan, Sire De Grugy and Hinterland

Compiled by Mike Barrett
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