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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 21 April 2021
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The42's Winning Post: Everything you need to enjoy day two of Cheltenham

After a brilliant opening day of racing, there’s plenty more in store this afternoon.

Winning jockey Barry Geraghty with Sprinter Sacre Winning jockey Barry Geraghty and trainer Nicky Henderson with Sprinter Sacre after the 2013 Champion Chase. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Three big talking points…

1. The Queen Mother battle

The highlight of Day Two of the festival brings together last year’s winner Sire De Grugy (11/4) and 2013 victor Sprinter Sacre (7/2). Throw in the Paul Nicholls-trained Dodging Bullets (5/1) and Champagne Fever with the Ruby-Mullins influence (5/1), and this is a race loaded with potential.

Twelve months ago, Sire De Grugy took advantage of Sprinter Sacre’s absence – due to a heart scare – to win for trainer Gary Moore and with his son Jamie on board. When Sprinter Sacre returned to action in January in the Clarence House Chase in Ascot, it was Dodging Bullets who ruined the plans of a fairytale comeback to run out the winner.

Champagne Fever’s recent Cheltenham record is extremely impressive winning the Champion Bumper in 2012, the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2013 and finished second in the Arkle last year. It promises to be a brilliant battle and keep an eye on veteran Sizing Europe (40/1), the winner of this race back in 2011.

2. The dominance of Ruby and Mullins

The theme of the opening day in the Cotswolds was the dominance exerted by Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins. The partnership saw them claim the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the Arkle Chase and the feature Champion Hurdle. But for Annie Powers’ dramatic fall, the duo would have enjoyed a fourth win and Mullins was still celebrating as Glens’ Melody triumphed.

Can we expect more of the same today? Mullins has ten horses running with Walsh aboard four of them. There’s not as much expected of them in comparison to today’s fancied runners. Still it’ll be interesting to see how Nichols Canyon, Adriana Des Mottes, Daneking and Champagne Fever fare.

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh The all-conquering duo of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

3. Coneygree opts out

The decision of Coneygree to opt out and go for the Gold Cup instead is a notable development when assessing the RSA Chase. Does that pave the way for favourite Don Poli (7/4) to emerge victorious? The winner of the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle last year is bidding for another success at the festival. Willie Mullins horses have won this race three times and could be set for a fourth win.

An each-way fancy…

Paul Townend and Rebecca Curtis combined with Irish Cavalier to win today and they have Beast Of Burden (12/1) in tomorrow’s opening Neptune Novices Hurdle, who could be worth a small wager as an outside shot.

Accumulator…

Today’s racing showed how the best-laid accumulator plans can go awry when Annie Power fell. It’s is a difficult day to forecast but €1 on a double of Don Poli and Champagne Fever will see you get a return of €16.50. Warning – you may also lose €1.

Originally published Tuesday 20.30

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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