Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Day Two Preview

In any normal year Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival is usually a clear highlight, but this season we are treated to a fantastic Day 2 card. We kick off this year’s Ladies Day with what many would call the ‘Irish Banker’ in Envoi Allen, an extremely exciting recruit to Hurdling for Gordon Elliot. That trainer is also responsible for another short-priced favourite on the day, as dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll bids to make it a hat-trick in the Cross Country Chase – setting up an unprecedented assault on Aintree to win three in a row. By far the most exciting contest on the day however is the feature Grade 1 Champion Chase, where three of the very best two-mile Chasers line up. Reigning Champion Altior will face his toughest task to date against young prodigies Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi. In what will hopefully be a battle for the ages, let’s hope that Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival can be just as successful as the first.

13:30 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m5f

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Envoi Allen

Envoi Allen has been faultless since winning his point-to-point at Ballinaboola in February 2018, winning four Bumpers on the trot including the 2019 Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham – where he saw off the likes of Blue Sari, Thyme Hill and Abacadabras. Continuing that unbeaten run over obstacles, Envoi Allen coasted home in a Maiden Hurdle at Down Royal in November, easily beating the useful Front View (139) by six-and-a-half lengths. Stepped up into Grade 1 company for his next start, Envoi Allen once more enhanced his reputation, this time in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse. Making almost all under Davy Russell, this exciting Cheveley Park Stud Novice saw off close Supreme 2nd Abacadabras by one-and-a-half lengths, with Champion Hurdle 3rd Darver Star four-lengths back in third. Considering that form has been massively boosted on Day 1, Envoi Allen really showed his class. Stepped up in trip for the first time at Naas in January, Envoi Allen was last seen on the track when contesting the 2m4f Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle. Setting off in front, Envoi Allen was headed by Supreme faller Elixir D’ainay at the second Hurdle, but he showed professionalism to settle behind that rival in second. Jumping well, Envoi Allen travelled up into the lead after the second last travelling strongly, and was pushed clear up the run in to score by three-and-a-half lengths. Although Envoi Allen did look a bit tired that day at the finish, he is the type of Horse who will only ever do enough in a finish – so having a bit of company right up until the last flight at Cheltenham should suit. Having had a nice long break since the beginning of January, Envoi Allen will be primed to the minute for the Ballymore – and although it’s a boring selection, he could just simply be better than these rivals.

Envoi Allen 5pts Win @ 4/6 +3.33pts

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Longhouse Poet

One at a much bigger price who I think is worth playing each/way however is Martin Brassil’s Longhouse Poet. Running in the same colours as last year’s winner City Island, this six-year-old has already shown great form over Hurdles. Longhouse Poet made my National Hunt Horses to Follow list this season having impressively beaten Monkfish in a Bumper at the Punchestown Festival – his only start since winning a point-to-point earlier last year. Having had time to mature over the Summer, Longhouse Poet made his Hurdles debut in a 2m3f Maiden at Naas in November- where he shaped as if he would come on for the run when just beaten under two-lengths by unfortunate Supreme faller Elixir D’ainay. Putting that experience to good use, this Yeats Gelding made his next start a winning one at Navan in December, beating Martin Pipe fancy Column Of Fire (143) by a length-and-three-quarters. That form has worked out well with Opposites Attract (131) a dual subsequent winner back in third place, and Longhouse Poet seemed to enjoy the soft ground.
Stepped up into Grade 1 company for his next start, this Martin Brassil charge finished third behind Envoi Allen in the aforementioned Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle. Although seven-lengths behind that day, Longhouse Poet made a mistake at the last flight, but kept on well up the run-in. Unlike Envoi Allen, this six-year-old has been sighted again since that Naas run, when contesting the 2m6f Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival last month. Ridden by Jamie Codd, Longhouse Poet raced keen in the early stages but still ran a cracker – leading narrowly at the final flight before being headed up the run in. The winner that day was Paul Nolan’s Latest Exhibition (149), a strong fancy for many in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on Day 4 of the Festival. Despite being defeated at Leopardstown, a particularly pleasing piece of form arose in the fact that Longhouse Poet finally managed to improve past old rival Elixir D’ainay, beating him by four-length – proving he is still a Horse on the upgrade. Whilst there’s no doubt that Longhouse Poet saw out the 2m6f trip that day, he did seem to weaken in the final furlong – so stepping back in trip to a stiff 2m5f at Cheltenham should be perfect. Longhouse Poet is owned by Sean and Bernardine Mulryan, and Sean is the current CEO of race sponsors Ballymore – so it is no surprise to see the Horse aimed for this race, and I’m sure it’s been a long-term target for Martin Brassil. Although he may struggle to reverse form with Envoi Allen, Longhouse Poet is definitely a Horse I could see hitting the frame at a big price.

Longhouse Poet 1pt Each/Way (3 Places) @ 20/1

 

14:10 – RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m½f

There are two types of people in this world; those who are big fans of Champ, and those who cannot have him at all. I’m certainly in the latter camp. Some Horses come along and you just never warm to them, but this Nicky Henderson Horse has done himself no favours this season over fences. A very novicey winning Chase debut at Newbury in early November was followed with another average round of jumping at the same course later that month, when he narrowly avoided going through the elbow to see off Black Op. Saved for the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, Champ did jump better in the main but highlighted his IQ level once more when absolutely crashing through the second last fence. He completely lost all focus that day when in the lead, and you’d be a braver man than I if you didn’t think something similar could happen in the hustle and bustle of the Cheltenham Festival. Nicky Henderson does of course have previous experience with these nutty three-mile Chasers, with Nico de Boinville somehow guiding Might Bite to success in 2017 – but that was a weaker renewal than this.  To compound my scepticism surrounding his chances, Champ missed his scheduled Cheltenham preparation at Kelso last month due to adverse weather, meaning he comes into the race off the back of a fall – and having his first attempt at three-miles over fences. As I’m making comparisons, even Might Bite had a confidence booster around Doncaster before his RSA run (having previously fallen in the Kauto Star).
Away from the market leader, Copperhead has been confirmed by the Tizzard’s and deserves to take his chance here. Whilst I admire his improvement and attitude, the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase has been a graveyard for RSA contenders over the past ten years with O’Faolains Boy (2014) the only Horse to complete the double. I’d also worry that the terrible ground at Ascot was in part owing to the manor of Copperhead’s victory – especially as Horses such as Pym (Pulled up) simply couldn’t jump out of the mud. You cannot blame connections for wanting to try their hand in the RSA, but the NH Chase looks a much more suitable and ultimately easier race. Conversely to my opinion on Copperhead, Willie Mullins’ Allaho is a Horse I would be all over if turning up for the Marsh Novices’ Chase over the shorter trip of 2m4f. This buzzy six-year-old was beaten by a fitter Horse in stablemate Easy Game over Christmas, but made up for that run under no uncertain terms when scoring by twenty-one lengths on his next start at Fairyhouse. Both of his runs this season have come over 2m5f, and I would have concerns about him stepping up in trip to three-miles at the Festival – especially as on his last two starts over this trip, he has been beaten by Minella Indo.

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Minella Indo

This juncture brings me perfectly onto Henry de Bromhead’s seven-year-old, who has been my idea of an RSA winner since impressively winning the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle twelve-months ago. In fact, this was highlighted in my National Hunt Horses to Follow 2019/20 guide which stated; ‘All roads for this Horse will surely lead back to the Cheltenham Festival; namely the Grade 1 RSA Novices’ Chase’… and this is exactly how Henry de Bromhead has mapped out his season. It’s an old cliché that the Knockeen handler improves his Horses bundles when sending them over fences, but it’s clearly something he excels in. Although not perhaps undertaking an orthodox route back to Cheltenham, there’s only ever been one race in mind for Minella Indo this season.
Starting out in a 2m4f Beginners Chase at Gowran back in November, this Novice went dramatically out to his right at the first fence he jumped in public – but he has been near enough foot perfect ever since. Putting in a fine jumping display after 206 days off the track, Minella Indo simply didn’t have the speed to go on with impressive winner Laurina – who was clearly on a going day. Leopardstown was the next port of call for the 3m Grade 1 Novice Chase on the 29th December, but connections were forced to pull this Horse out on the day due to rapidly drying ground.
Minella Indo was last seen in another Beginners Chase, this time at Navan in January. At the time the race looked fairly innocuous with this seven-year-old sent off the 2/5 favourite; and he jumped exemplary throughout the contest. There was no pace on at Navan that day however and Rachael Blackmore was forced to make the running. Although Minella Indo is comfortable enough in setting the pace, he seems to be at best effect when taking a lead, just like he did in the Albert Bartlett last year. Minella Indo was probably getting a bit lonely when still tanking along between the last two flights, but He was forced to work for his victory by a fast finishing Captain Cj. At the time this useful Horse had some decent form in the book such as when third to Carefully Selected in November, but Captain Cj (142) boosted the form no end when winning the Grade 2 Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan last month. It’s not just this strong form that makes Minella Indo look like a stand-out bet in the RSA however; the way that he jumps is fantastic. When he meets a stride with Rachael he flies over the fence, but he is also able to pop one when not quite meeting it right. He seemed to love going left-handed last time and was extremely quick through the air, but arguably the most pleasing jump he put in was the last at Navan when under pressure – where he came up out of Rachael Blackmore’s hands and showed he can be brave when required. Minella Indo has undertaken an enterprisingly light campaign over fences to date, but as such his preparation means he will be in prime condition for Cheltenham, and I think he will take a lot of beating at a track he seemingly enjoys.

Minella Indo 3pts Win @ 7/2 [4/1 Ante-Post]

 

14:50 – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m5f

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Protektorat
My first selection for the Coral Cup is Dan Skelton’s Protektorat, who’s gained plenty of experience since joining Lodge Hill as a three-year-old from France. Starting his career with Guy Cherel across the Channel, Protektorat finished second in a Listed Hurdle at Auteuil. Moving to Dan Skelton for famous connections including Sir Alex Ferguson, Protektorat underwent a fairly underwhelming Juvenile Hurdle campaign – unseating on debut at Cheltenham in December 2018 before returning to Prestbury Park on Trials Day last season, finishing twenty-two lengths behind Fakir D’Oudairies. His last start of the season came at Kempton in February when finishing down the field in the Grade 2 Adonis Juvenile Hurdle, but he would prove to be a totally different animal once receiving a wind-operation in August 2019.
Protektorat made his first start for the Skelton’s since having his wind tinkered with at Sandown in November, running in a 2m Maiden Hurdle. Wearing a first-time Hood, Protektorat took a keen hold help-up in the rear, before making very eye-catching headway from the third last Hurdle. Slicing his way through the field under Harry Skelton, Protektorat had to be switched left on the run in and led 50 yards from home – but was headed in the final few strides by Nicky Henderson’s Keen On (134). Despite being defeated by a head, this was by far the most promise Protektorat had shown to date, coming on Heavy ground which seemed to play to his strengths. The Handicapper must have been in a good mood that day however, as he subsequently dropped his Handicap mark by 4lbs down to 128. This provided a perfect opportunity for the Skelton’s on Tingle Creek Day, where Protektorat contested the 2m Listed December Handicap Hurdle. A huge fancy of mine on the day, Protektorat was once more held-up in rear, and once more carved his way through the field between the last two flights. Despite trying his hardest, Protektorat was eventually outbattled to finish one-and-three-quarter lengths second. The form of this race has been working out extremely well however, with winner Mack The Man (130) favourite for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday, and the third-placed Song For Someone (154) finishing second to Thomas Darby in an Ascot Grade 3 Handicap.
Returning to Novice company on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham, Protektorat was seemingly unfancied in a 2m4½f Listed Novices’ Hurdle. Held up as usual, Harry Skelton produced a masterful ride to lead at the last and beat Imperial Alcazar (139) by a head. Under very strange circumstances however, the stewards deemed Harry Skelton to have cut across the Fergal O’Brien Horse, so was disqualified and placed second. It was clear to see this wasn’t the case however, and on appeal the result once more went Protektorat’s way. The form of this New Year’s Day race is strong, with the second winning nicely since at Leicester, the third Welsh Saint (134) fancied for some Handicaps this weekend, and the fifth Redford Road (140) a Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Trial winner on his previous start. Connections gave Protektorat one more run at Cheltenham when last seen on Trials Day in the Grade 2 Classic Novices’ Hurdle, and again this Dan Skelton charge put in a top performance. Travelling well from his usual held up position, Protektorat stayed on strongly up the Hill to finish four-and-a-half lengths third behind Harry Senior (144) and King Roland (141), despite having to give 5lbs away to both of those rivals. This performance clearly rates him as a classy Novice Hurdler, with the Handicapper agreeing and handing out a mark of 144.
The step-up to two-and-a-half miles on softer ground after his wind-operation has seen a completely different Protektorat this season, and he now rates as one of the leading contenders for the Coral Cup Handicap. Co-owner John Hales has already won this race with Aux Ptits Soins as a five-year-old in 2015, and Protektorat fits into some key trends for the race himself. Firstly Protektorat is French Bred, and is of course a second-season Hurdler. He is also a five-year-old, so fits into the winning-most age over the past ten seasons. Top trainer and Jockey combination Dan and Harry Skelton are a huge positive to his chances, and the pair have history in this race – finishing second with Long House Hall in 2016. A further interesting pointer is that Protektorat has an official rating of 144, which is just below the average winning mark of 145 over the past ten runnings.

Protektorat 1pt Each/Way (6 Places) @ 16/1 

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Eglantine Du Seuil

My Second selection for the Coral Cup is Eglantine Du Seuil, who runs in the colours of Sullivan Bloodstock Limited for the genius that is Willie Mullins. This Mare won her AQPS Flat Race at Fontainebleau in October 2017, and was subsequently purchased by Jared Sullivan in order to pursue a career with the Irish Champion Trainer. Eglantine Du Seuil made her debut as a four-year-old when winning a Mares Maiden Hurdle at Sligo in August 2018, and followed that effort up at Listowel a month later when finishing third behind Triplicate (141) and Aramon (148) – in what would turn out to be an extremely strong race. Not seen for 180 days after this good run, Eglantine Du Seuil was chucked in the deep-end when running in the Grade 2 Mares Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival – springing a huge shock to win by a short-head despite odds of 50/1. Being held-up by the genius that is Noel Fehily, this Mare made good headway between the last two flights to take fourth place at the final Hurdle, and then stayed on extremely strongly up the Hill to win a photo-finish with stablemate Concertista.
Eglantine Du Seuil proved this effort to be no fluke when running well in two Grade 1 events subsequently, the first of which coming at Fairyhouse in April where this Mare finished third behind Henry de Bromhead’s Honeysuckle (158) and stablemate Elfile (142), on only her first start over two-and-a-half miles. Considering her strong performances over the Spring, Willie Mullins allowed Eglantine Du Seuil to take her place in another Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival, this time taking on the boys in the 2m4f Champion Novice Hurdle. Despite not having much room rounding the home bend, this Mare once more showed she is a good Horse under Jonathan Burke – keeping on well to finish third behind Reserve Tank (151) and Sams Profile (148). Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner City Island was well beaten behind our Mare that day, which puts into perspective how strong her form has been shaping up.
Returning to the track at Punchestown in November, Eglantine Du Seuil finished a solid third behind stablemate Stormy Ireland (149) in a 2m2f Listed Mares Hurdle, with Gordon Elliot’s recent Dublin Racing Festival winner Black Tears (141) just ahead in second. Eglantine Du Seuil once more ran behind her useful stablemate Stormy Ireland in a Grade 3 event at Leopardstown over Christmas, finishing a disappointing fifth. A mistake at the first flight seemed to knock the confidence of this usually sound jumper however, and a mistake when starting to sneak into the race at the third-last sealed her fate – with her stablemate stringing the field apart from the front. Rachael Blackmore was easy on this Mare when her winning chance was gone however, which proved to pay dividends at the Dublin Racing Festival. Dropped back in trip to two-miles, Eglantine Du Seuil contested the highly competitive Grade B Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle from a mark of 140. Travelling in the rear, this Mare made eye-catching progress to pass the field on the extreme outside – running on strongly to take a slight lead at the final flight before being collared by the fast finishing Thosedaysaregone (134) and Golden Jewel (126). Such an eye-catching run to finish fourth in a twenty-two runner race was very impressive for her Handicap debut.
A step-up back in trip to two-and-a-half miles at Cheltenham would surely be right up the street of Eglantine Du Seuil, who will have a perfect mark for the Coral Cup considering she is already rated 143 in Ireland. This Willie Mullins Mare has a lot in her favour if she were to have a tilt at the race – she’s French Bred, is a second season Hurdler, and is a six-year-old. Another massive positive is that she has already won at the Cheltenham Festival, proving she handles the unique track and atmosphere – as well as being able to travel over from Ireland. This Mare seems to save her best efforts for the Spring, and I really feel she has unfinished business over the intermediate trip. Her official rating is clearly open to improvement considering it would be only her second start in a Handicap. One negative to Eglantine Du Seuil’s chances is that a Mare has never won the Coral Cup, but they have been getting closer – with Apple’s Shakira just under three-lengths away in sixth last year, and Barra third in 2018. I’ll make use of the non-runner-no-bet concession here, as Eglantine Du Seuil has a host of Cheltenham options.

Eglantine Du Seuil 1pt Each/Way (6 Places) @ 20/1

 

15:30 – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 2m

Altior was going to be my selection for the Champion Chase, so in his absence I am just going to sit back and watch two fantastic Horses in Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil.

 

16:10 – Glenfarclas Chase (Class 2) 3m6f

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Tiger Roll

There’s no point me going on about this one; Tiger Roll is one of my all-time favourite Horses, and I’m firmly in the camp that he will take all the beating in his bid to win a third successive Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday. Sit back and enjoy!

Tiger Roll 5pts Win @ 10/11

 

16:50 – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Fred Winter) (Grade 3) 2m½f

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Aramax
My first selection for the Fred Winter is Gordon Elliot’s Aramax, who has improved bundles so far this season. Starting his career with Guillaume Macaire in May 2019, this half-brother to Aramon (Rated 148 and a Grade 1 winning Hurdler) finished a promising third at Dieppe in a three-year-old Hurdle. Confirming that promise wasn’t misguided, Aramax subsequently bolted up in another 3yo Hurdle at Vittel in July, winning by five-lengths. After this good performance, Aramax was subsequently sent to Gordon Elliot, in order to continue his career under the ownership of JP McManus.
Starting off his Irish career in the deep-end, Aramax was pitched straight into Grade 2 company at Leopardstown on Boxing Day. Racing in mid-division, this youngster was given a nice educational ride to get used to the new style of Hurdles, making a mistake at the second flight in the process. Aramax never really got into the race that day (like most Horses!) behind impressive runaway winner Aspire Tower, and He made a tired mistake at the second last causing him to take a tumble. Despite falling at Leopardstown, Aramax put in a much-improved performance just over two weeks later, when running in a four-year-old Conditions Hurdle at Fairyhouse. Chasing the leaders under Mark Walsh, Aramax disputed third before the second last where he Jumped left. Despite the Jump hindering his momentum, this Son of Maxios was going extremely well and was almost on terms with the leaders at the second last, but tired late on – finishing third. Although not able to get his head in-front, Aramax faced the tough task of trying to give Wolf Prince (136) 5lbs that day – a Horse who would’ve been my idea of the Fred Winter winner had he not been ruled out of the Festival.
Aramax was last seen on the track at Naas earlier this month, when running in a four-year-old Novice Hurdle. Taking a lead from Gin On Lime (131), Aramax was asked by Mark Walsh to press on from the third last, going upsides the leader with stablemate Recent Revelations making a line of three. Disputing the lead with his stablemate thereafter, Mark Walsh asked his charge to press on after the second last, and Aramax duly obliged – lengthening away up the run-in to record an impressive eight-length victory. The form has substance to it with Jessica Harrington’s Filly bolting up in France before finishing fourth in a competitive Grade 3 Mares Novice Hurdle, whilst stablemate Recent Revelations had won by eight-lengths on his previous start – so it clearly was a nice performance from Aramax to put distance between himself and those rivals. A further positive comes from the fact that this race was won by Band Of Outlaws last season, en route to Fred Winter glory.
Aramax has earnt himself an Irish rating of 134 over Hurdles for his exploits to date – the same mark which Band Of Outlaws was given this time last year. The British Handicapper added an extra 5lbs onto his mark at Cheltenham, so you’d imagine that Aramax will do well to get a British rating lower than that – but this wouldn’t put me off his extremely strong chances. In regard to trends, Aramax obviously graduated from French Hurdles, and is trained by the second-most successful trainer in the race – Gordon Elliot. One trend that is massively against Aramax is the fact that he is German-bred, but the sample size is so small that I wouldn’t have any qualms about him busting that stat. With many Horses in the Fred Winter betting set to defect into the Triumph Hurdle, this looks the perfect time to get on Aramax – who’s been confirmed by Gordon Elliot to be running in the race.

Aramax 1.5pts Each/Way (5 Places) @ 15/2 +13.5pts

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Langer Dan

My second selection for the Fred Winter is Langer Dan, who is seemingly a bit of a forgotten Horse in the race. This Ocovango Juvenile made his debut for the Dan Skelton yard at Ludlow in October, where he ran a really taking race – travelling powerfully and ultimately scoring cosily – beating Brambledown by two-and-a-quarter lengths despite drifting left after the last. In fact these little quirks meant you could upgrade his performance in my eyes, as he was having a good look around down the home straight, and was learning plenty on his first day at work. The Skelton’s clearly agreed with this assessment as his next start came at Wetherby in November in their Listed Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle. Once more travelling powerfully throughout the race, Harry Skelton had Langer Dan covered up right up until the final flight, where he completed a masterful ride to thread the eye-of-the-needle between the leading pair to gamely score by just over a length. The form of that race is now looking fairly strong; the second Maria Magdalena ran out when looking like winning at Catterick, and the third placed Nordano (140) bolted up at Ascot last weekend by sixteen-lengths – having previously finished behind the likes of Allmankind and Goshen.
Langer Dan went to Cheltenham in December for his next start, running in the Class 2 Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. Tracking the leader throughout, Langer Dan jumped and travelled very professionally, but just couldn’t get past Gary Moore’s Botox Has (139), who I think is up there with the best Juvenile Hurdlers around this season. Despite finishing five-lengths behind a good Horse that day, Langer Dan ran strongly to the line and produced a fast Jump at the last despite being under pressure from his Jockey. This Jump ensured he finished four-lengths clear of Elysian Flame in third, with Group Stage (131) further back in fourth – a Horse who has since finished a close second behind Thyme White in a Listed Juvenile Hurdle. Langer Dan was last seen on the track back at Ludlow earlier this month, when running in a Novices’ Hurdle. Despite being sent off an odds-on favourite, this was likely a nice lowkey preparation race for the Cheltenham Festival; as Harry Skelton buried him in midfield of a thirteen-runner race, before asking his mount to go and claim leader Garry Clermont (131) in the home straight. Langer Dan put in some fantastic jumps at the final two flights, but his Jockey never really drew the whip on him – using hands and heels to finish one-and-a-half lengths behind his more experienced rival. Garry Clermont is due to run in the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle this weekend which could give the form a significant boost, but it was the perfect preparation for Langer Dan’s Fred Winter bid with the pair pulling ten-lengths clear of the rest.
Langer Dan’s mark of 135 was unchanged by the British Handicapper following on from his Ludlow preparation, which will guarantee him a run in the Fred Winter. This is actually the same mark which 2018 Fred Winter favourite Nube Negra had when finishing third for the Skelton’s, who underwent an extremely similar preparation; finishing second in the December Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham before running in a Novice Hurdle at Doncaster. Langer Dan looks to have a fantastic chance of going equally as well as his stablemate, as his slick jumping is a strong asset. It’s also pleasing to see Langer Dan has ran in field sizes of 11 and 13 during his career, as the experience of running in a large field alike to Cheltenham is a lot different to a six-runner Juvenile Hurdle. This seems to suit his running style perfectly, as Harry Skelton will be able to cover him up in midfield before producing his mount at the second last. Langer Dan is Irish-bred so he fits the current trend, with the last three Fred Winter winners matching that trait. One question mark Langer Dan does have to answer however is that he never ran over the Flat nor in French Hurdle races. Whilst his Jumping wouldn’t be of any concern, perhaps he could be lacking in experience compared to some of his rivals. Despite this minor concern, Langer Dan looks a massive price at 33/1.

Langer Dan 0.5pts Each/Way @ 33/1 +2.8pts

 

17:30 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m½f

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Appreciate It

Patrick Mullins might not have won in the final race on Day 1 with short priced favourite Carefully Selected, but he has a great chance of making amends on Wednesday with Appreciate It in the Champion Bumper. This six-year-old was extremely impressive in the Grade 2 Bumper at Leopardstown last month when scoring by seven-and-a-half lengths, and this facile Dublin Racing Festival looks worth playing in the Champion Bumper, where trainer Willie Mullins has an excellent record of 9 victories to date.

Appreciate It 2.5pts Win @ 2/1

.Preview Article Horse Name Header Image - Ferny Hollow

Although I do fancy Appreciate It, Horse to Follow Ferny Hollow showed a dramatic improvement in form at Fairyhouse last time out when really showing that he had learnt to settle in his races. Clearly his stablemate is number one on Jockey bookings, but Paul Townend takes the ride on this Cheveley Park Stud Horse, and he has solid each/way claims.

Ferny Hollow 1pt Each/Way (4 Places) @ 14/1 +16.8pts

+19.93pts (Day 1 & 2 +38.63)

Good luck! – Jake Price

 

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