Shishkin v Energumene a highlight on day two of Cheltenham Festival
The highlight is the mountwatering clash between Shishkin and Energumene who fought out a thrilling finish at Ascot in January and now once again take each other on.
The action gets underway at 1.30pm and concludes at 5.30pm. We have previewed the action with our race by race guide and you can find the latest odds at Mybettingsites1.30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (2m 5f)
The Willie Mullins-trained Sir Gerhard looks tough to oppose. A brilliant winner of the Champion Bumper 12 months ago, he has looked every inch a superstar with two stunning victories so far over hurdles, latterly in Grade One company. Journey With Me is unbeaten under Rules and has impressed in two runs over hurdles this year, but needs to take a step forward, as does Grade One scorer Stage Star who also commands respect along with the progressive Three Stripe Life.
Selection: Sir Gerhard
2.10pm Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (3m)
Bravemansgame has impressed in four starts over fences this term and clearly warrants respect for trainer Paul Nicholls who has compared the seven-year-old to another former winner of this event in Denman. Ahoy Senor chased home Bravemansgame in a Grade One at Kempton in December, but is respected along with the unexposed Dusart and Capodanno. However, L’Homme Presse has done nothing but improve this season with four straight victories and he looks a leading player judged on his recent Grade One win at Sandown in this event.
Selection: L’Homme Presse
2.50pm Coral Cup (2m 5f)
Just the 26 runners to choose from. Unexpected Party and The Shunter both command plenty of respect given their progressive profiles, matched with The Shunter’s previous form at the track. Another live contender is the unexposed Camprond who has been saved for this race, but Saint Felicien makes plenty of appeal. Thoroughly unexposed, he backed up victory at Gowran Park in November when second in a Graded contest at Naas and he looks to have the perfect make-up stepping up in trip to make his presence felt here.
Selection: Saint Felicien
3.30pm Champion Chase (2m)
Shishkin looks the one to beat. Unbeaten in seven runs over fences and already a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, he beat Energumene in a race for the ages at Ascot in January and with this track likely to suit Shishkin given the stiffness of the track, he is taken to confirm his superiority. Put The Kettle On, Nube Negra and Chacun Pour Soi filled the first three in last year’s contest and are respected along with 2020 winner Politologue, the progressive Funambule Sivola and the forgotten horse Envoi Allen.
4.10pm Cross Country Chase (3m 6f)
Tiger Roll is bidding to make history with a record-equalling sixth victory at the Cheltenham Festival. He looks the one to beat here given his stunning victory in the contest 12 months ago and with drying ground conditions in his favour, it is tough to see him getting beat. Grade One scorer Delta Work and former winner Easysland can chase him home.
Selection: Tiger Roll
4.50pm Grand Annual Handicap Chase (2m)
Embittered heads the betting for this event and scored in Graded company at Punchestown in October. Below-par in three runs since, he drops into handicap company for the first time over fences since April 2021. He is deeply respected along with the Paul Nicholls pair of Il Ridoto and Thyme White, whilst Frero Banbou was a good second at Lingfield in February and is respected. Sky Pirate won this event 12 months ago and also commands respected. However, course and distance winners Editeur Du Gite and Before Midnight look the pair to focus on and they are taken to fight out the finish with the former’s brilliant jumping technique set to see him come out on top.
Selection: Editeur Du Gite
5.30pm Champion Bumper (2m)
What a race to look forward to. 22 runners go to post, including Facile Vega who is a son of the meeting’s winning-most horse Quevega. Brilliant in two runs to date, he heads seven runners for Willie Mullins which also includes James’s Gate, Madmansgame and Redemption Day. However, American Mike has looked every inch a superstar in two runs so far and is taken to come out on top in the finale.
Selection: American Mike