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Ginger Joe - Betting Tips for Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival

Publish Date: 12/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • Full coverage of Day 2 at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival
  • Betting Tips for all seven races on Day 2
  • Win and EW selections for Ladies’ Day

We roll into Day 2 of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival

The action doesn’t stop, as we roll into Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival, where the highlight of the day is undoubtedly the two-mile Champion Chase. A new king will be crowned this year, as Energumene misses the Festival this year.

With many assuming this absence could bode very well for stablemate El Fabiolo, who is last year’s winner of the Arkle Chase. While he’s an obvious contender, you can never be sure when it comes to the Jumps.

Looking beyond the main event, we have some highly competitive Handicaps happening on Day 2. I have strong fancies in both the Coral Cup and the Grand Annual, so we could be in for an excellent Wednesday.

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13:30 The Gallagher’s Novices’ Hurdle 2m 5f

The opening race on Day 2 of the Festival is the Gallaghers Novices Hurdle. Unbelievably, Willie Mullins trains five out of the eight runners here and frankly, his squad look like they will be very hard to beat.

Ballyburn heads the betting, following on from his superb display at the Dublin Racing Festival, which saw him triumph over Slade Steel. Ballyburn is especially Impressive in that he has a rare combination of speed and stamina. So, barring an accident, it’s hard to see anything else taking the win, and and should be all the stronger for the experience too.

Admittedly, Il Atlantique and Predators Gold both hold decent credentials, but they have plenty to find to match Ballyburn and I really don’t see either of them pipping their stablemate at the post. The main British hope is Handstands, for Ben Pauling, who is now four from four. There's no doubt that he looks the part, but it’s tough to assess his form, and I suspect he may be a tad short of class here.

GJ Verdict

Ultimately, Ballyburn should be too good for his rivals, so it’s an open race for the places past that, but my marginal preference here is Ben Pauling’s Handstands..

  • Win: Ballyburn (NB)
  • EW: Handstands

14:10 The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase 3m

The current favourite for the Brown Advisory is yet another horse from the seemingly-endless Mullins string, Fact To File. He definitely looked very impressive on his last two starts, and consequently he’s at a very short price. While Fact to File does have a clear and obvious engine, his five rivals are all excellent horses too, and I reckon that one of them might just have the beating of him.

American Mike actually got the better of the much-fancied favourite when they met on their respective seasonal debuts, at Navan back in November, so I expect a really big run from him. He is a horse that has taken a bit of time to find himself, but he looks far more mature this year, and despite his double-figure price, he has to be in with a squeak.

However, I believe that Fact To File’s main threat here is Monty’s Star; a cracking horse that I really like. Although he was beaten on his Chase debut, he was much better at Punchestown next time out, and in my eyes, he clearly took a big step forward to win that day.

GJ Verdict

I’m more than happy to take a chance on Monty’s Star, and I consider American Mike a decent option too, especially for anyone who is looking for a bit more value here.

  • Win: Monty’s Star
  • EW: American Mike

14:50 The Coral Cup 2m 5f

It’s somewhat rare for me to have a fancy in the Coral Cup, but for this year’s renewal, there are two horses that stand out. The first of those is Might I, who runs for Harry Fry. He is a horse that has a lot of ability on his day, and he brings good course form into this race as well.

Historically, he has been a horse that left plenty of work out on the track, but this season he looks a very straightforward proposition and I think he will go very close this year. The second runner on my radar is Jigoro for Gordon Elliott. He has form that ties in with Tullyhill and Mystical Power and that brings him right into the mix here.

GJ Verdict

Regardless of my usual apathy when it comes to the Coral Cup, I have two clear selections in mind. I think Might I wins this, with Jigoro not far behind him at the line.

  • Win: Might I
  • EW: Jigoro
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15:30 The Champion Chase 2m

The highlight race for Day 2 is the Champion Chase and I find it very hard to see past El Fabiolo here. He won the Arkle last year and looks even bigger and stronger this season, so he sets the bar very high indeed.

As for the rest, much as I love him, Jonbon hasn’t quite looked the same horse this season, which is a big concern. So, I’ll have to pass this time. Captain Guinness isn’t here without a chance, but he has been somewhat out of form this season and will need to really bounce back if he is to trouble the favourite. There are plenty of others here that I might have considered, but there are none amongst them that will perform well on the current soft to heavy ground.

GJ Verdict

With the ground nice and soft here at Cheltenham, I think this race will play right into El Fabiolo’s hands, with the best of the rest being Captain Guinness.

  • Win: El Fabiolo (NAP)
  • EW: Captain Guinness

16:10 Cross Country 3m 6f

The Cross Country is a unique race, and also a controversial one, as many believe it shouldn’t be a part of the Cheltenham Festival at all. However, I’m a big fan, and I have a strong selection for this year’s renewal too.

Minella Indo is the favourite here, but I’m far from convinced that the market has this right, I’d put him further down, and definitely behind the Gigginstown pair. He did run well here in December, but he would still have a lot to find to be a real contender here, and I’m not convinced he’s the strongest finisher either.

The fact that the ground is coming up so soft has me all over Delta Work here. He won the last two renewals, and it would be fantastic if he were to make it three. Coko Beach is an interesting contender here, who shares the same owners. He is two years younger than Delta Work, and rated a couple of pounds higher too. It’s his first try over banks, but if he handles them, he’s got a fair crack of the whip of doing very well here.

GJ Verdict

Anything can happen in this race over the banks, but my money is on Delta Work this time around. And although it’s his first time in this type of race, I’m counting on Coko Beach to pick up a place.

  • Win: Delta Work
  • EW: Coko Beach

16:50 Grand Annual 2m

The Grand Annual is another race where I have a very strong opinion. The runner that’s firmly on my radar here is Madara, for Sophie Leech. He is only a five-year-old, but he has already had nine Chase starts and has won his last two in seriously good fashion.

He won well here at Cheltenham in December, and then absolutely bolted up at the Dublin Racing Festival in February, looking like he had plenty more to come. I can even see him being a Graded horse next year, and his experience can only help his cause in such a deep race. Beyond Madara, the only other one I would consider is Triple Trade, who might just outrun his odds here.

GJ Verdict

I can’t see past Madara as the winner of this year’s Grand Annual and I’m hard-pushed to come up with a worthy placer,

  • Win: Madara
  • EW: Triple Trade

17:30 Champion Bumper 2m

The final race on Day 2 is the Champion Bumper and it’s a surprisingly competitive renewal. My pick is yet another Willie Mullins runner, You Oughta Know. At the beginning of the season he was actually favourite for the Supreme, but connections have decided to keep him in Bumpers and he ran a blinder at the Dublin Racing Festival, where he finished second to Jeroboam Machin (who misses the Festival this year due to injury).

There’s not too much catching my eye from there on, but of the remainder, Jalon D’Oudaries, Teeshan and Cantico all look to have decent chances for a place, based on what little we’ve seen of them so far.

GJ Verdict

Based on his performance at the DRF, You Oughta Know wins this from my perspective. Beyond him, there’s an interesting mix, with Jalon D’Oudairies being my marginal preference to take a place.

  • Win: You Oughta Know
  • EW: Jalon D’oudairies

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