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Cheltenham Festival tips Day Two: Queen Mother Champion Chase

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Day two of the Cheltenham Festival tomorrow looks to have merely sporadic hopes of British-trained winners, especially with the late defection of Altior ahead of the feature.

Nicky Henderson was compelled to scratch the brilliant veteran from the race that honours the Queen Mother (3.05pm), emphasising the folly of his not declaring him for the Tingle Creek earlier in the season with a view to his being ripe for the Festival.

Altior’s no-show makes it easier for the Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi, which roughly translates as “everyone for himself”.

Punters will be piling into the hot favourite, who still has slight doubts about the suitability of the Cheltenham hill, but has been imperious in Irish combat since joining the Closutton trainer who, quite incredibly, has never won the Champion Chase.

Last year’s winner, Politologue, benefited from the late withdrawal of Chacun Pour Soi then. His inability to reel in First Flow at Ascot renders him up against it here.

Both Davy Russell and Jamie Codd, regulars on the traditional Cheltenham preview night circuit, have been really sweet on the chance of Bob Olinger in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1.20), which opens tomorrow’s card. Like last year’s winner Envoi Allen, Bob Olinger comes here after Grade 1 success at Naas, and he shares the same rating (150) as Bravemansgame, trained by Paul Nicholls.

Keskonrisk may offer some value here for Joseph O’Brien, whose horses are coming back into form. The key to his chance is stepping up markedly in trip, but he is unexposed and there is quite a bit of upside at 12-1.

The Mullins-trained Monkfish, owned by Rich Ricci, looks one of the good things of the week in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (1.55). This son of Stowaway has gone on a remarkable unbeaten run and the shell of a horse who battled bravely to Albert Bartlett glory 12 months ago has grown into something of a tank as a novice chaser.

He beat Latest Exhibition by a neck here last year and it is evidence of his progression that, despite his compatriot having developed into a high-class chaser, he hammered him by 11 lengths without breaking a sweat at Leopardstown.

Another member of the Mullins dynasty, young trainer Emmet, has a staggering 44 per cent strike-rate with his jumpers in Britain. As such, with it being less appealing for the Irish to have a long-shot runner at the Festival this year due to the absence of a crowd, Sneaky Getaway is interesting at a big price in the Coral Cup (2.30).

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