The 2021 Cheltenham Festival continues on Wednesday with another packed schedule from jump racing’s greatest show on turf.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the highlight of the day’s racing with Chacun Pour Soi the big favourite for victory.
Willie Mullins’ odds-on chance missed the race after a late setback 12 months ago – as did Altior, and unfortunately the same fate has befallen Nicky Henderson’s star again with an unsatisfactory scope the reason he misses out this year.
Chacun Pour Soi has yet to run at Cheltenham but has been ultra-impressive in everything he has done this season. Mullins has also declared Cilaos Emery.
Chacun Pour Soi’s jockey Paul Townend is confident Cheltenham will suit the lightly-raced nine-year-old – despite doubts expressed by others on that score.
“I can’t find a fault in him that Cheltenham will expose,” Townend told Racing TV. “I’m just really looking forward to him – and hopefully we can get him to the start this year.”
The opening Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle looks at the mercy of Henry de Bromhead’s Bob Olinger.
A 10-length bumper winner this time last year, he was already in plenty of notebooks and then went into just about every other one following his hurdling debut at Gowran in November.
Racing over two miles, which was always going to be on the sharp side given he had already won a point-to-point, he made Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow pull out all the stops.
Unfortunately that rival picked up an injury which has prevented him from running again, but Bob Olinger has done his own bit for the form – winning twice since, including a Grade One.
Mullins’ Monkfish is the one to watch in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase while it would be nice to see dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll go out in a blaze of glory in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, it is hard to see him doing so on the limited evidence of this season.
Last year’s winner Easysland has hardly had the ideal preparation, either, so it may be worth taking a chance on Potters Corner.
Day two race schedule
1:20pm – The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race (2m abt 5f) – Hurdle
1:55pm – The Brown Advisory Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) (3m abt ½ f) – Chase
2:30pm – The Coral Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Grade 3) (2m abt 5f) – Hurdle
3:05pm – The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (Grade 1) (Abt 2m) – Chase
3:40pm – The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase (3m 6f) – Chase
4:10pm – The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3) (2m abt ½f) – Chase
4:50pm – The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1) (2m abt ½f) – Bumper