Cheltenham Festival 2024 Day 2 Preview

By Peter Moore  5th March 2024

Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival features the Queen Mother Champion Chase which is a Grade 1 race run over 2 miles.

Before the big race, the day will commence with the Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle run over 2m and 5f.

A race that has been dominated by Irish runners, having won all but one of the last ten runnings,  with the home runners finishing in the top three only once, and that was with Bravemans game back in 2021.

Assuming that the Willie Mullins trained Ballyburn takes up this engagement or decides to go with the Supreme, then the six-year-old looks the horse to beat.

Ballyburn is the outstanding novice in Ireland, with the horse winning on soft ground at Leopardstown last month.

Ben Pauling saddled the last British winner of this event back in 2017 with Willoughby Court and the stable are represented this time around with handstands.

Another British runner expected to go well is the Harry Fry trained Gidleigh Park, who is unbeaten so far, having won a bumper and all three hurdle starts this winter.

Mullins, looks to have a very strong contender in the Brown Advisory Novices Chase with fact To File.

Having already won this race five times, Mullins will be looking to make it six with the seven-year-old who won well in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival.

A strong English challenge is headed by the impressive Stay Away Fay who ran well in the Cotswold Chase and who also won the Albert Bartlett last year.

Dan Skelton’s Grey Dawning is another that comes into the reckoning after being placed in all four starts this season.

The Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle looks to be a very competitive race with a selection of horses who should all run well.

Nicky Henderson has said for a long while how much he likes Doddiethegreat. The eight-year-old is lightly raced having run just four times and was last seen in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury where he came home a string finishing fourth behind Iberico Lord. The step up in trip will suit the horse and he looks to be one of a string of good chances for the Lambourn trainer who also saddles No Ordinary Joe, Lucky Place and First Street as his top picks.

Last seasons winner Langer Dan lines up again hoping to give trainer Dan Skelton back to back success in the event, with the Irish raiders headed by Sa Majeste.

The main race of the day the Queen Mother Champion Chase looks to be between a re-match we have all been waiting for when El Fabiolo and Jonbon line up against each other in a mouthwatering contest.

El Fabiolo has had a straightforward prep towards the Champion Chase with straightforward wins in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork and the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase.

Jonbon finished second in the Clarence House last time out after almost falling four out. The race itself isn’t necessarily about these two, with Edwardstone lining up in the field. The experienced Alan King 10-year-old laid down a big marker after putting in a terrific round of jumping at Newbury recently in the Game Spirit Chase.

Irish trainer Gordon Elliott currently has four fancied horses entered in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase. However, another Irish raider heads the ante-post market with the Henry De Bromhead trained Minella Indo who has already won a Gold Cup and Albert Bartlett.

He had his first taste of the Cross Country course back in December and seemed to really enjoy it.

Dual winner Delta Work is going for a hat trick and leads the charge of Elliott’s quartet.

The Grand Annual Chase and Weatherbys Champion Bumper wrap up another potential exciting day’s racing at Cheltenham.