Cheltenham Festival 2021 day two tips and best bets including the Champion Chase

Day two of the Cheltenham Festival looks to have merely sporadic hopes of British-trained winners, especially with the late defection of Altior ahead of the feature.

Nicky Henderson was compelled to scratch the brilliant veteran from the race that honours the Queen Mother (3.05), rather emphasising the folly of his not declaring him for the Tingle Creek earlier in the season with a view to his being ripe for the Festival.

That makes it easier for the Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi, which roughly translates as “everyone for himself”. Punters will be piling in to the hot favourite, who still has slight doubts about the suitability of the Cheltenham hill, but has been imperious in Irish combat since joining the Closutton trainer who, quite increadibly, has never won the Champion Chase.

Last year’s winner Politologue benefitted from the late withdrawal of Chacun Pour Soi then. His inability to reel in First Flow at Ascot renders him up against it here.

Both Davy Russell and Jamie Codd, regulars on the traditional Cheltenham preview night circuit, have been really sweet on the chance of Bob Olinger in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1.20), which opens day two. Like last year’s winner Envoi Allen, Bob Olinger comes here after Grade 1 success at Naas, and he shares the same rating (150) as Bravemansgame, trained by Paul Nicholls.

Keskonrisk may offer some value here for Joseph O’Brien, whose horses are coming back into form. The key to his chance is stepping up markedly in trip but he is unexposed and there is quite a bit of upside at 12-1.

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  • Cheltenham Festival results 2021: Honeysuckle and Shishkin amongst winners on day one

The Mullins-trained Monkfish, owned by Richi Ricci, looks one of the good things of the week in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (1.55). This son of Stowaway has gone on a remarkable unbeaten run and the shell of a horse who battled bravely to Albert Bartlett glory 12 months ago has grown into something of a tank as a novice chaser.

He beat Latest Exhibition by a neck here last year and it is evidence of his progression that, despite his compatriot having developed into a high-class chaser, he hammered him by 11 lengths without breaking a sweat at Leopardstown.

Another member of the Mullins dynasty, young trainer Emmet, has a staggering 44pc strike-rate with his jumpers in Britain. As such, with it being less appealing for the Irish to have a long-shot runner at the Festival this year due to the absence of a crowd, Sneaky Getaway is interesting at a big price in the Coral Cup (2.30).

He won a couple of hurdle races impressively earlier in the season. A couple of indifferent performances preceded a much better effort on the Flat last time and he sports cheekpieces for the first time.

French raiders are, alas, a rare thing at the Cheltenham Festival, rendering the presence of Easysland so welcome in the Glenfarclas Chase (3.40). There have been doubts about his participation for months but the mount of Felix De Giles has arrived in Britain safe and well. His 17-length hammering of Tiger Roll last year renders him a near-certainty here if he can repeat that at the age of seven and he is available at even money.

O’Brien has a formidable hand in the Grand Annual (4.15), with the reliable Entoucas a hopeful choice at 13-2, Paddy Power paying five places, though he can hardly have too much in hand.

Willie Mullins is long odds-on to win the Weatherbys Champion Bumper (4.50), having recently acquired Sir Gerhard from the dispersal of Cheveley Park’s horses with Gordon Elliott. He joined the exciting Kilcruit but Cool Jet, 33-1, is an interesting alternative.

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