It’s been a spectacular opening day of the Cheltenham Festival! Willie Mullins was utterly dominant, as many did expect. Well, he didn’t quite made it a four-timer though, as Annie Power crashed through the last fence when she looked a sure winner. The bookies probably cried tears of joy that moment. A Mullins four-timer would have cost them millions. Nonetheless it was the Mullins Show on day one. It all kicked off with Douvan in the Supreme, half an hour later Un De Sceaux stamped his authority on his rivals in the Arkle, and Faugheen duly lived up to the hype in the Champion Hurdle – with Artic Fire and Hurricane Fly producing a one-two-three for the all conquering Irish trainer.
One a side-note: Our selections produced a whopping near 40pts profit on the day! Can be continue like that on day two? Well, let’s try. Part I of my preview for Wednesdays action is below – short and snappy once again.
Neptune Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Wide open race. Question marks all over the runners. Parlour Games is an improving sort, usually very strongly travelling. Should go close with good course form. If Nichols Canyon gets the trip, he rates a big danger. Will his jumping hold up, though? Windsor Park is an all improving sort as well, but looks short enough for what he showed so far. Vyta Du Roc may enjoy this test and can progress as well.
Hard to distinguish the better fancied horses. Looking for value, I like to think Ordo Ab Chao is overpriced. Won a trial over course and distance and seemed to enjoy the hill. Has obviously a bit too find and will have to improve to feature, but has the right profile and could well be the one to spoil the party.
Ordo Ab Chao @ 14/1 Coral – 2.5pts EW
RSA Chase (Grade 1 Novices’ Chase)
Don’t pretend to be smart here – Don Poli looks the real deal and has the best form in the book. He won at the Festival last year, but looks a stayer through and through. Reportedly lazy, he never shows too much but once asked for all, he usually finds plenty. His most recent Leopardstown win over 3m is the strongest form any horse has to offer here and he looks to be a class above the rest.
Don Poli @ 2/1 Bet365 – 10pts win
Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)
This looks as open as it gets and it evolves around the winners of the last two renewals. If either Sire De Grugy or Sprinter Sacre can run to something close of their brilliant best, they are hard to beat. Consistent Champagne Fever and Dodging Bullets could capitalize on any flaws in the big two’s performance. It would not be totally out of the world to see a big price going well approaching the last either. It’s very tough to call what happens here but even though I don’t fancy him to win, I believe he’ll run a fair race for a very big price…
Talking about old boy Sizing Europe. Key to him seems to be to bring him fresh to a race. He won all his last starts when off for more than 100 days. That’s the case here. He goes well at Cheltenham, and retains some ability as he won over 2m5f this season on his seasonal debut. His legs may not be quick enough and he may get outpaced, but I can see him staying on for a place.
Sizing Europe @ 50/1 VC – 2.5pts EW