Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Neil Morrice: Best Bets & Tips - Wednesday 17 March - Cheltenham Festival Day 2

Neil Morrice: Best Bets & Tips - Wednesday 17 March - Cheltenham Festival Day 2

Neil Morrice Best Bets & TipsNeil Morrice brings you all of his best bets and tips for day two of the Cheltenham Festival and from Kempton Park.

Check out Neil's video previewing day two below.


Cheltenham

Race 1 BALLYMORE NOVICES’ HURDLE
(GRADE 1)
No2 BOB OLLINGER
Trainer: Henry de Bromhead - Jockey: Rachael Blackmore

Many Paul Nicholls diehards regard Bravemansgame as the Ditcheat trainer’s best winning chance this week, and his hat-trick of successes last year is alluring. However, he’s been off since the end of December and was beaten on seasonal reappearance, which makes BOB OLLINGER the preferred option. He bolted up at Navan and Naas and has only been beaten once in four career starts after winning between the flags. His trainer believes he has the ‘wow’ factor to bring to the table to get the Irish off to a perfect start of Day 2. With that in mind, Gaillard Du Mesnil can make it a benefit for the Emerald Isle by claiming a minor cheque, and must not be underestimated in his own right, having impressed in a first time hood in a Leopardstown Grade 1 last time.

Race 2 BROWN ADVISORY NOVICES’ CHASE (Grade 1)
No6 THE BIG BREAKAWAY
Trainer: Colin Tizzard - Jockey: Harry Cobden

The race that heralded the entrance of the immortal Arkle back in the Sixties is all about quality. I can’t remember such a small field but none of the six contenders can be safely ruled out. There’s a good vibe in Lambourn Each Way for roughie Dickie Diver, who could attract market support, while Fiddlerontheroof is better than his form figures this season read. Sporting John took a while to warm up before delivering in a Grade 1 at Sandown and may be vulnerable, while Eklat De Rire has built up a fine understanding with jockey Rachael Blackmore. There’s been massive support for Monkfish, who made it three from three over fences in effortless style in the best trial run in Ireland and is odds-on, but maybe this is the stage on which
THE BIG BREAKAWAY can show his true prowess ? His trainer left me in no doubt in conversation last week that this is the stable’s best chance of a winner at the Festival. In National Hunt terms he cost telephone numbers out of the Irish pointing field, and gives the impression that the best has not been seen of him. The yard was under a cloud when he was twice beaten in December, but Tizzard says the winding-up work he delivered on his home gallops was nothing short of sensational.

Race 3 CORAL CUP HANDICAP HURDLE (Grade 3)
No26 WITNESS PROTECTION (Each Way)
Trainer: Martin Keightley - Jockey: James Best

With 28 horses set to face the tape this is a proper handicap, and plenty will look for an unexposed winner. Such a horse is Craigneiche who tries to make it a third success on the bounce in the race for Nicky Henderson. He’s won three from four and has surely been trained specifically for the race? Grand Roi is similarly lightly-raced and done nothing wrong, though he’s higher in the weights. Ironically he is a former inmate of Seven Barrows. Also wearing that badge is Burbank, who could prove a lively outsider for his Scottish stable, while Shakem Up’Arry has very good novice form and was far from disgraced behind Soaring Glory in the Betfair Hurdle. With his unorthodox low head carriage he should appreciate the step up in distance, but even better value is WITNESS PROTECTION. From a small local stable that knows how to win here, the eight-year-old is two from three this season and gets in right at the base of the handicap. This course should suit him, and I could see him running into the money at a big double-figure price.

Jockeys Ride Horses

Race 4 BETWAY QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (Grade 1)
No8 ROUGE VIF (Each Way)
Trainer: Harry Whittington - Jockey: Gavin Sheehan

If Chacon Pour Soi runs Cheltenham as well as he does Leopardstown then he’s a genuine odds-on contender for Willie Mullins. He’s dotted up in back-to-back Grade 1s but negotiates the very different undulations of Prestbury Park for the first time. That is enough to perhaps take him on, and the two-mile championship is therefore more open than it looks. Strong traveller Nube Negra hammered the sadly absent Altior on his only start this season at Kempton and possesses a serious turn of foot. Politologue defends his 2020 triumph but was no match for First Flow in the Ascot Chase. The drying ground will be against last year’s Arkle heroine Put The Kettle On, and sensing a big upset I’m siding with ROUGE VIF. His comeback success in a handicap here was exhibition stuff, and though twice beaten subsequently his stable was under a cloud. His trainer, who rides him out every day, tells me he’s very much on song, and though you have to be to win a Queen Mother, he can put in an earning run at a price.

Race 5 GLENFARCLAS CROSS COUNTRY CHASE 
No13 TIGER ROLL
Trainer: Denise Foster - Jockey: K Donoghue

The same horses that dominated the Cross-country last year can do so again, but with a different outcome as the choice is
TIGER ROLL over Easysland. David Cottin has prepared Easysland for this one day and does not appear concerned about the multiple winner’s defeat over this course at the November meeting, when he was beaten nine lengths into fourth by the reopposing Kingswell Theatre. Veteran Tiger Roll has taken his customary route here via a Grade 2 hurdle at Navan, and although finishing last he gave connections sufficient encouragement for a return to the Festival. As there will be no attempt at a third Grand National for this treasured entity, this is very much a make or break mission for Tiger Roll, but I think he can achieve it.

Race 6 JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL CHALLENGE CUP HANDICAP CHASE (Grade 3)
No7 US AND THEM (Each Way)
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien - Jockey: JJ Slevin

The Grand Annual is traditionally one of the hardest races to win here, and today’s renewal is no exception. My attention is drawn to Sky Pirate who likes the course and was far from disgraced chasing home Allmankind in the Kingmaker at Warwick. Hat-trick seeker Ibleo is progressive and could still be ahead of his mark; Glen Forsa has dropped in the weights; Not That Fuisse and Amoola Gold represent a rampant Skelton stable but the dark horse is
US AND THEM. Form figures of 83-08F7 do not inspire at first glance, but this infrequent scorer has the form from his novice days when second in the Arkle and third in this race last year to have a big say and turn the tables on Duc Des Genievres and Chosen Mate.

Race 7 WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER
(Grade 1)
No6 KILCRUIT
Trainer: Willie Mullins - Jockey: Paul Townend

Mullins looks to have an iron fist clenched around the Bumper, with unbeaten new recruit Sir Gerhard joining exciting ante-post favourite KILCRUIT. If seeing is believing the latter is going to be very hard to beat, as he took out a Grade 2 at Leopardstown pulling the proverbial bus in a manner no race of that nature has been dispatched in many years. Sir Gerhard won a point before landing the odds in less competitive races, and makes his debut for the stable having moved from the sidelined Gordon Elliott. Three Stripe Life could make it complete domination for the Irish if endorsing the promise of his debut success at Navan for caretaker trainer Denise Foster.

KEMPTON PARK
Race 5 No2 EPIC EXPRESS (Nap)
Trainer: Chris Dwyer - Jockey: Thore Hammer Hansen
In what looks a weak maiden EPIC EXPRESS a is the standout on debut for Chris Dwyer. The Twilight Son gelding should be primed to take this out after finishing second on his latest of two career outings at Chelmsford.

Race 6 No6 FAMILY FORTUNES
Trainer: Michael Madgwick - Jockey: Charles Bishop

FAMILY FORTUNES looks like a horse getting ready to win after two solid earning runs this season. This is his preferred track, and he can lower the colours of multiple scorer Uzincso.

Place Accumulater Perm (Races 3-9)

5, 7 x 6 x 2 x 6, 3, 10 x 1, 2 x 5, 6, 8 x 6, 7

R72

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