Cheltenham Tips

Cheltenham Day 2 Tips: Six bets from Tony Calvin for Wednesday at the Festival

Cheltenham action fence
Tony has six bets for the second day of the Festival

"I can see her relishing this stamina test and odds of 20/1+ compensate for some potentially punitive handicapping."

Back Eglantine Du Seuil at 25.024/1 or bigger in 14:50

There are a lot of strong favourites on the second day of the Festival, but Tony Calvin has unearthed six bets ranging from 7/2 to 50/1 for your consideration...

One thing you have to avoid when betting at Cheltenham - and it is a very easy trap to fall into, I can tell you - is to become wedded to your long-range and ante-post thoughts when looking afresh at the day-of-race markets.

You may have fancied a horse for ages and backed him accordingly, but once the prices - and maybe ground conditions, as the going on Tuesday was blatantly heavy - change, then you have to adapt.

Loyalty in betting tends to cost you money.

Luckily, when it comes to the Wednesday at Cheltenham, I am always consistent, as seven races immediately become five in my particular betting locker.

The Tiger Roll v Easysland match-up in the Cross Country race is undoubtedly fascinating - the ground is apparently as deep as it gets on that course, by the way - and Appreciate It may be the monster many people believe him to be in the concluding bumper.

But I don't bet in these types of race, and I am not about to start now - though Ask A Honey Bee looks a very fair price at 40/1+ on the exchange for a horse with his profile (and time figures) in the bumper, where Julies Stowaway could also be a runner at 50/1 with the Sportsbook - so let's return to the start and have a look at the Ballymore at 13:30.

More than a Sporting bet on John in Ballymore

Talking about long-range betting and thinking, I laid the favourite Envoi Allen for this race at 2.77/4 immediately after what I thought was a laboured performance in winning at Naas in January.

I have to fess up and say I traded/wimped out of the bet for a small profit last Thursday night after he drifted on the back of news that he could be re-routed to the Supreme, but for me he has to be taken on at around 8/11 on the exchange for this prize (he was 11/8 on Tuesday morning).

I am aware that last year's bumper winner is as solid as it gets after winning a further two Grade 1s over hurdles, but his performances have not been as dominant as his price would have you believe, and he could be more of a two-miler in this ground. I'd want it to dry out pretty damn quick if I was backing him at a short price.

Envoi Allen Chelts Bumper win 1280.jpg

I'd be against the third and fourth favourites, The Big Breakaway and The Big Getaway too, as they do not look the finished articles to me and they have yet to do it on the clock.

So the one to back in here is surely Sporting John, unbeaten in four starts, and all of those were on soft ground.

The dilemma is whether to back him at 5.85/1 win-only on the exchange or at 4/1 each-way with the Betfair Sportsbook - and, yes, I am fully aware that you lose money if he is only placed - but we will come back to that once I have made the case for him.

It is a very straightforward and easy one to make, too.

Winner of his only point, he made a stunning hurdling debut when swooping late to beat the subsequent Grade 2 winner Harry Senior at Exeter, he trotted up at long-odds next time, and then fairly flew after the last when winning at Ascot last time.

The time figure that he posted when winning at Ascot was rather impressive, and I think he will have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the first three here.

I am willing to back him at 4/1 each way, rather than the bigger price win-only. It could be a handy safety net if the favourite is as good a tool as many think.

And a big-price each-way punt in the same race

I am always a sucker for a big price though, and I have to also have a tickle on Son Of Camas at 50/1 each-way with the Betfair Sportsbook.

The official ratings give him 23lb to find with Envoi Allen but he hasn't really had the opportunity to record a big figure, as he hated Sandown's cloying heavy ground - that hurdles track is the most testing in the country when it gets deep - in the Tolworth last time and apparently he choked pretty badly there anyway.

He has had his wind done since and I liked the way he won at Newbury on his debut from a fair sort in King Roland (and the third and fourth have won since), and the potential for a big step forward is there after just two bouts of jumping.

It needs to be, I readily admit.

Cheltenham hurdle ground shot 1280.jpg

Granted too, after that Newbury race, Nicky Henderson also said "two miles is his trip" and his pedigree doesn't necessarily scream stayer, but he is a half-brother to a 1m7f winner on the Flat and I liked the way he finished off his race when winning that day (and that maiden hurdle has been won by Buveur D'Air and Lostinstranslation in the past).

Perhaps I am just a sucker for a long-priced Henderson hurdler at Cheltenham as one of my best Festival betting memories was 50p each-way on his River Ceiriog at 50/1 in the 1986 Supreme (won at 40s, I think)!

If the ground dries out from hereon in, then that is a plus. But you can't have it all when you are playing at 50/1, but hopefully he can handle it.

Pym a big price to get his own way in RSA

I backed Copperhead each way at 5s ante-post in the RSA at 14:10 as I thought the race could really cut up, as well as being very impressed by his Ascot win last time.

But, now we are here, it looks a pretty hot race with Champ and Minella Indo standing their ground, as well as Allaho coming here instead of going down the Marsh route, and you can throw a blanket over that trio - and at least four more - from a form perspective.

In fact, only 3lb separates the top seven horses in this race on official ratings.

And that leaves me willing to take a chance on Pym at 34.033/1 or bigger, who is just 3lb behind Copperhead and Slate House on the figures.

He ran atrociously behind Copperhead in the Reynoldstown last time (where he hated the conditions and was never going), was well beaten in the Martin Pipe at the Festival last season, and maybe is a horse who needs it all his own way.

But we don't have a big field here and if he returns to the form of his 8-length defeat of Tuesday's impressive handicap winner Imperial Aura here in December - and he won on soft at Ascot the time before, so he can act on this type of ground - then he should be nowhere near 33/1 and bigger.

He has a lot of blow-out potential, but he is another who would like rapidly-drying conditions and he is worth a small-stakes bet.

Eglantine set to relish stamina test in Coral Cup

JP McManus has a very strong hand in the Coral Cup at 14:50 and I couldn't put you off either Dame De Compagnie or Alfa Mix, though I am not sure how much juice can be squeezed out of their current prices.

Actually, if connections of the first-named took the trouble to go to the handicapping appeals committee to get back the additional 2lb she was raised while standing in her box then I suppose she could be the punt of the race.

The story there was she was raised 7lb after her impressive win here in December, and then another 2lb after the runner-up won subsequently, and JP and his team weren't having that.

She recorded an excellent time figure there too, and she looks set to go very close, so I am going to recommend you have a small bet on her at 8.27/1 or greater, as I don't want to be losing on the race if she wins.

The one I like most though is Eglantine Du Seuil at 25.024/1 or bigger, and she is my main bet.

She sprang a 50/1 shock when winning the 2m1f mares' novices hurdle at the Festival last season but there was no fluke about the success, as the time was exceptionally good in a strongly-run race.

She is unproven over 2m5f but the manner in which she finished off her race when third in a Grade 1 over 2m4f at Punchestown last May suggests it shouldn't be a problem, and I liked the way she shaped when a close fourth of 22 over 2m at Leopardstown at the start of last month.

I think you can mark up that performance too as she made her major move too soon on the outside there - she traded 1.695/7 in the run when getting into top gear between the last two - and I expect Rachael Blackmore to deliver her much later in this contest. Pretty much as Noel Fehily did on her here last year, in fact.

Handwriting TC Day 2 tips.png

The English handicapper has lumped her with another 6lb here - and she is actually 9lb higher as she also went up 3lb for that defeat - but I can see her relishing this stamina test and odds of 20/1+ compensate for some potentially punitive handicapping.

Burrows Edge in first-time cheek pieces (Henderson is 13 from 44 with this option since 2016) would be my pick of the rest at around 20/1 on the exchange.

No bet for me in Champions Chase but I like Repetitio in the Boodles

I don't have any betting angle into the six-runner Champion Chase at 15:30.

In fact, it looks the ultimate no-bet race to me. As a punting heat, it leaves me as cold as you like, especially after Altior was ruled out on Tuesday morning.

You crack on if you must, though.

Altior 1280.jpg

So that just leaves the Boodles (the old Fred Winter to you) at 16:50 to decipher.

Once again, you can fully see the case for the market leaders Aramax and Mick Pastor, and Tronador has been the gossip horse for the past week or so.

I am not rowing in with any of those at their current prices though - they fill the first three places in the betting - and I am keeping it simple with Repetitio at 16/1 each way, five places, with the Sportsbook.

The 20/1 in the marketplace soon disappeared on Monday afternoon, but 16/1 or bigger is a fair investment.

He may not be a relatively under-the-radar "plot" job like one or two of the aforementioned trio but what he brings to the party is rock-solid, winning course form and he remains well treated off a 5lb higher mark than for that win here in December.

He has hopefully been deliberately kept back fresh for this race since then, rather than suffering any setback - and the trainer did name-check this race in the immediate aftermath of that victory - as that form has worked out really well.

The runner-up shaped really well when seventh in the Betfair Hurdle next time, and the third and fourth have won since, too.

That success came in a really good time, too.

The yard hasn't had a winner since January but they have had four seconds and two thirds from just 14 runners in February and March, so that doesn't overly-concern me.

Best of luck.

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