By News Team
10th March 2020
The second day of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival is upon us and with another four Grade 1s on the seven-race card on Wednesday, the fantastic action doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Here is our preview of the best of the racing, where we fancy owner JP McManus to have a stellar day.
John has more than a Sporting chance against Envoi Allen
Wednesday’s action kicks off with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1.30pm) and it sees Envoi Allen put his unbeaten record on the line. Seen by many as one of the bankers of the week, it’s no surprise to see the Gordon Elliott-trained contender available at 4/6.
He’s unbeaten and is a more than worthy favourite, but he didn’t scream that two-and-a-half miles on soft ground was to his liking at Naas and he could be vulnerable. Speaking of impressive, Sporting John couldn’t have created a much more striking impression when hacking up by over six lengths on soft ground at Ascot last time. Like his market rival, he is unbeaten and given he’s a 7/2 chance and Envoi Allen is odds-on, he looks a pretty solid betting proposition.
Alfa looks set to be in the Mix in Coral Cup
While the Coral Cup (2.05pm) is one of the most competitive races of the entire meeting, Alfa Mix looks a very interesting proposition. Gavin Cromwell’s five-year-old has been a gradual improver for the Irish handler, but it’s his last two performances that are the ones that mean he’s a big player here.
He won a very competitive handicap at Naas and then showed that was no fluke when just being touched off in a similarly competitive heat over the same course and distance. Though beaten by just over a length, he finished 18 lengths ahead of the third, who has subsequently come out and won recently.
He’ll have no problems with the soft ground and although he does lack a bit of experience, he looks a smashing each-way bet at 9/1.
Seuil Defi has a chance in Champion Chase
It could be a brilliant day for JP McManus because his Defi Du Seuil looks to have a very strong chance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.30pm). The seven-year-old is unbeaten in all three starts over two miles this season and has got better with each start. Having won last year’s JLT we know he has the stamina for further – a big asset if it gets really testing – and he is much preferred to Chacun Pour Soi here.
Altior’s absence is a big blow to a race that promised to be battle of the meeting, but these two are very very good horses in their own right and it should still be a cracker. Willie Mullins’ charge beat Defi Du Seuil at Punchestown last season, but that was at the end of the year and Defi had had a very tough campaign, so he had excuses. He’s a very good horse in his own right, but Philip Hobbs’ contender is taken to win for the Festival for a third time at 11/10.