Our Bets of the Day tipsters return for the second day of the Cheltenham Festival providing an Each-Way Edge play and a win bet across the card after each landing a winner on day one...
"He beat some fancied horses on his debut at Leopardstown in December over 2m4f, and then followed up with a dominating performance from the front dropping back down to 2m at Naas last month."
Alan Dudman - Diamond can be King while we should bet Carefully in the Bumper
Coral Cup (14:50) - Diamond King my Each-Way Edge selection using 5 places
The 2016 winner of this race holds a place in my punting heart (when scoring for the column two years ago), and I am hoping Diamond King can repeat the trick at a decent price. This handicap is always one I like to have a bet in, and we can use the Each-WayEdge to bring into play the extra sixth place.
Since his Festival win two years ago, big things were expected of him over fences with his talent and style, but after a promising start to his chasing career, he went off the boil.
I was pleased to see him make a comeback in December, and equally delighted to see him back over hurdles. That effort at Punchestown was a good run in a fair race despite a small field - he made the running and faded as a lack of fitness told. He shaped like the outing was very much needed.
Big fields suit him, and while the ground might not be absolutely perfect, he has enough form on soft to have a chance.
Champion Bumper (17:30) - Carefully is my Selected horse in the Champion Bumper
From the moment Carefully Selected won with real authority on his debut - he was my pick for the Champion Bumper. And while this contest might not be for everybody as a betting race, it always has been for me, and this 6yo has the right credentials.
For this you need something that stays very well, and as a Point-to-Point winner (by 30 lengths) and a potential Albert Bartlett horse for the future, we have no fears on that front.
He beat some fancied horses on his debut at Leopardstown in December over 2m4f, and then followed up with a dominating performance from the front dropping back down to 2m at Naas last month.
His trainer Willie Mullins often throws plenty at the race, and he has described him as an out-and-out stayer. Just what you need for this, and his two victories have both been achieved in soft ground.
Alan Thompson - Cause Of Causes can make it four Festival wins
Fred Winter Hurdle (16:50) - Go to war with Act of Valour and Solo Saxophone
24 runners go to post for the two mile Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle, a Grade 3 race for Juveniles who are just not quite good enough the Triumph Hurdle. Having said that a horse I fancy to run a big race is Act of Valour, he was second to We Have A Dream (he may not run in the Triumph but he's still currently 9/1) at Musselburgh at the start of February and he made the well rated Nicky Henderson horse work hard for his win. Using EW Edge to get paid up to five places at 11/2, in a field of this size he will need a bit of luck in running and that extra place could be critical.
I also can't help but have a sentimental flutter on Solo Saxaphone at 20/1 (who is reported to be the first of Frankel's offspring to run at the Festival). He won his first two starts over hurdles, and while neither of those races at Catterick or Wetherby look anything special, I am sure he will get a strong pace to run at (which he needs) and is weighted low enough to potentially be in the mix at the end. Again using the EW Edge facility to get the best chance of a return, I will take 12/1 for six places.
Glenfarclas Cross Country (16:10) - Elliott star to triumph again
It may be a race that splits opinion but it has produced some memorable moments in its short life as a Festival race (first run 1995) and it has a multiple Cheltenham winner at the head of the market in the shape of Cause of Causes.
This incredible horse made it a hat-trick of festival wins by adding this race last year to his National Hunt Chase (2015) and the Kim Muir (2016) victories. The Gordon Elliot trained superstar, is still only ten-years-old so hopefully he will be around for a while yet and looks to me like he has been laid out especially for this race. He has only been seen once since competing in last years Grand National and that was just a two mile hurdle race, I suspect more of a run to get the legs going again and make sure he is right for this.
Another JP McManus runner, Josies Orders is back in the line up and could give the selection the most to do. A three time winner at the course, including winning this in 2016 under unusual circumstances when Any Currency was disqualified. Edna Bolger and Nina Carberry have teamed up to win this race four times before, so I am sure they will be in the hunt again.
Nick Shiambouros - A couple of each-way selections for the first two races
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (13:30) - Duc Des Genievres can place in Day 2 opener
Duc Des Genievres looks decent EW value in this outstanding contest.
This unexposed gelding joined the Mullins yard just before Christmas, and was thrown in at the deep-end when finishing third to Next Destination in a Grade 1 at Naas in January. On his next start at Leopardstown he chased home Samcro. He put in some good work in the closing stages, and finished the race with good energy. He has a fair bit to find with the winner, but I think he is open to significant improvement and is fairly priced at 14/1 on the Sportsbook.
Samcro heads the market at 1.784/5 on the exchange. He is unbeaten in six starts and has the potential to go to the very top. He comes in to this race with a similar reputation to the great Golden Cygnet, who won the Supreme by a country mile many years ago.
RSA Novices' Chase (14:10) - Ballyoptic each-way value
Ballyoptic could surprise at a big price in this competitive renewal.
This tough competitor beat Vintage Clouds at Wetherby last month. He took the lead at the final fence, and was driven out to score decisively in the testing conditions. Black Corton has defeated him twice this season, but made crucial errors on both occasions. I think he can turn the tables if he jumps well and is well worth an EW Edge bet at 11/1 4 places on the Sportsbook.
Presenting Percy is the favourite at 3.711/4 on the exchange. He finished a respectable second to Our Duke at Gowran Park last month and has proven form on the ground.
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Alan Thompson says...
Back Act of Valour (five places) with EW edge @ 11/2 in the Fred Winter (16:50)
Back Solo Saxaphone (six places) with EW edge @ 12/1 in the Fred Winter (16:50)
Back Cause Of Causes @ 11/4 in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (16:10)