Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Wednesday March 15
By ANDREW ATKINSON
Irish trainer Willie Mullins – who dominated the Cheltenham Festival in 2015 and 2016 with 15 winners – is tipped to be amongst the winners on the second day of jump racing’s jewel in the crown.
Mullins saddles red-hot favourite DOUVAN (3.30) in The Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday hoping to land the £208,300 first place prizemoney: “Douvan could be the best I have had. When you are going to Cheltenham with a favourite like him there is fair bit of expectation,” said Mullins.
And Mullins could be the toast of Cheltenham with the prospects of BACARDYS (1.30) a 6-1 chance, ridden by Ruby Walsh in the day’s opening race, the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle over 2 miles 5 furlongs.
Nicky Henderson saddles WHISPER (2.10) with Davy Russell taking the ride in the RSA Novices Chase over 3 miles at odds of 6-1.
Gordon Elliott, who won the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday with 25-1 shot Labaik, saddles AUTOMATED (2.50) in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle over 2 miles 5 furlongs, ridden by J.W. Kennedy at odds of 10-1.
And Elliott runs CAUSE OF CAUSES (4.10) in the Glenfarclas Chase over 3 miles 6 furlongs, ridden by Mr J.J. Codd at odds of 100-30.
Paul Nicholls saddles DOLOS (4.50) a 12-1 chance, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, in the Fred Winter Juvenille Handicap Hurdle over 2 miles 87 yards: “We’ve got lots with chances – but not many with mega-obvious chances. We did well last year with three handicap wins. If you have three winners every Cheltenham Festival, you are doing alright,” said Nicholls.
Dan Skelton saddles CAUSE TOUJOURS (5.30) ridden by Harry Skelton in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper race over 2 miles 87 yards.
Cause Toujours is a 9-1 chance and jockey Harry Skelton said: “We originally said we wouldn’t run him at Cheltenham this year, but he has got the head to cope with The Festival, and is a well-balanced horse. The track shouldn’t be a problem either.”