Cheltenham Festival Day Two Preview – Horse Racing Betting March 14

Monalee makes appeal in the RSA

Cheltenham Festival

SAMCRO looks a banker in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the start of day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

Gordon Elliott resisted the temptation to run his star novice in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle yesterday and probably has another Irish raider, Next Destination, to beat in this lesser contest, though nobody will be getting rich at the current best 8/11.

Honours were fairly even between Ireland and the home team on the opening day of The Festival and day two promises to be just as competitive, though Irish eyes should be smiling again after the second race, the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase.

This is as much a race for future stayers as yesterday’s National Hunt Chase and Presenting Percy has been popular with ante-post punters and is set to go off favourite (currently a best 5/2). He won the Pertemps Final over hurdles last year for Patrick Kelly and has proved just as adept over fences but could find MONALEE a tough opponent.

Henry De Bromhead’s seven-year-old has always looked a chaser in the making, despite having the speed to finish second in last year’s Albert Bartlett over the smaller obstacles. He’s won both completed starts over fences, beating today’s rivals Al Boum Photo and Dounikos in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time, and the return to 3m is probably a plus – the 7/2 with Betbright looks a bit of value. Bryony Frost has developed a terrific partnership with Black Corton but this may be a step too far for the Paul Nicholls runner.

RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase Current Best Odds

Presenting Percy 5/2, Monalee 7/2, Al Boum Photo 7/1, Black Corton and Dounikos 8/1, Elegant Escape 11/1, Ballyoptic 18/1, Bonbon Au Miel 25/1, Allysson Monterg 50/1, Full Irish 100/1

The Coral Cup comes under the ‘too hard’ category while a late injury scare has dampened enthusiasm for backing ALTIOR at a best 5/4 in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and who’s to say which of Willie Mullins’ five runners in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper will prove best but TIGER ROLL could be worth an interest in the Glenfarclas Chase over the cross-country fences.

Gordon Elliott won the race last year with Cause Of Causes, ridden by Jamie Codd, and that partnership has been backed for a repeat (a general 11/4). But the stable also run Bless the Wings, who has run over the cross-country fences, and Tiger Roll. The latter won the National Hunt Chase at the meeting last year and his run behind Bless The Wings at Cheltenham in December had all the hallmarks of a prep race, though he’s now into a general 6/1. The Last Samuri is the potential fly in the ointment but the Aintree specialist will have to adapt quickly to the unique challenge of the obstacles.