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As all good each way things do, our selection Ballyandy finished fourth yesterday. Altior was the victor in the Arkle as expected, but didn’t do it quite in the exhilarating style that we have become accustomed to. Onwards and upwards and the excitement begins to bubble again for day two.
Day two kicks off with the stayers hurdle for the novices. This trip definitely takes some getting, and it is good to have a horse who will stay 3 miles +. There is a strong market leader in this race in the form of Neon Wolf, and he is the selection. Unbeaten in four lifetime starts, Harry Fry’s runner has simply got better and better each time he has come under starters orders. Looks a dour stayer based on his relentless success last time out in a Grade 2 at Haydock. Fry has given his 148 rated runner over 7 weeks off the track since his last run and he has already shown he can go well fresh, or recently raced. Neon Wolf can be backed at 47/25 2.88 +188 1.88 1.88 -0.53 with Bet365 and Paddy Power.
The second favourite Bacardys is bound to be popular with bettors under the combination of Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins. A winner of two of his three starts over hurdles, the son of Coastal Path won going away last time over 2 miles 2 furlongs. He has something to find with the favourite on bare form, but has to be respected.
The bookmakers have got the 3 mile novice chase at the festival priced up as a relatively open affair, with the market leader installed at 7/2 4.50 +350 3.50 3.50 -0.29 . Here at SBO, we believe that it may not be as competitive as expected with Might Bite potentially offering some fantastic value. The F in Nicky Henderson’s horses form figures may temper enthusiasm with some bettors and in reality it is that letter that has meant Henderson’s horse starts at 7/2 4.50 +350 3.50 3.50 -0.29 with Bet365 and Paddy Power.
The time he fell, the son of Scorpion was a fully 20 lengths clear and was going to win hard held and impressively. Has really got the potential to be anything, and Nicky Henderson will have undoubtedly schooled this horse extensively to ensure his jumping can stand up to the rigours of Prestbury Park. If he attacks and is ridden prominently, he should win. The bookmakers are giving the horse just a 22% chance, and we believe he is closer to 35-40%.
The second favourite Alpa Des Obeaux has to be treated with a bit of caution. The horse is talented, but burst a blood vessel last time out, and the strain placed on the horse at Cheltenham could be too much. The main danger to the favourite might actually come from its own yard. Whisper is a tough and game runner, who has previous festival success, which is a big bonus. The horse has transferred from hurdling to chasing in seamless fashion and comes in to the race on the back of back to back wins at Prestbury Park. May have slightly less ability than the favourite, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the frame.
13:30 Cheltenham – Neon Wolf to Win
Wednesday 15th March
Odds: 47/25 2.88 +188 1.88 1.88 -0.53
14:10 Cheltenham – Might Bite to Win
Wednesday 15th March
Odds: 7/2 4.50 +350 3.50 3.50 -0.29