Cheltenham News: Farewell to the Queen, hello to the King, and the Prince rides Good Land on Wednesday

Edwardstone
Edwardstone is the 11/8 favourite for Wednesday's Queen Mother Champion Chase

Alan Dudman reflects on the stories and highlights from Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival and looks ahead to Wednesday's markets and big races...


The Queen bows out

Tuesday's opening day of the Cheltenham Festival provided the "golden hour" that few will forget. Honeysuckle's triumph in the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle under Rachael Blackmore was the story of the day by a streak, while Constitution Hill's Unibet Champion Hurdle success was the performance of the day with a display of high-class hurdling at electric speed.

Honeysuckle returned a BSP of 3.4, while Constitution fans no doubt were looking at the £53,416 matched between 2.0421/20 and 1.528/15 on victory by six or more lengths. Was it ever in doubt? Of course not.

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We say farewell to Honeysuckle, who marched around the place like she owns it. And she signs off from a great career with two Mares' Hurdle wins and a brace of Champion Hurdles to take home to Ireland - the latest perhaps the most cherished. As Nick Luck said on Racing TV: "In its best days, racing can give you real warmth."

Mikey O'Sullivan was the star turn in terms of jockeys with the rising star of Ireland showcasing his sublime skills with a 103/1 double thanks to Marine Nationale in the Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle and Jazzy Matty in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Jazzy Matty hit a high in-running on the Betfair Exchange of 200.0199/1 for small stakes and returned a BSP of 23.5. Marine Nationale claimed Facile Vega in the opener, with Facile Vega done at 1.21/5 in-play.

Corach Rambler's success in the Ultima Handicap Chase makes him the clear favourite for the Aintree Grand National now, and a price of 7/1 on the Sportsbook for another Lucinda Russell 'Nash' win can be found.

Gaillard Du Mesnil's National Hunt Chase win saw the most drama in-play. Poor Mahler's Mission was matched 1.341/3 before his heartbreaking exit at the end, while Chemical Energy hit a low of 1.271/4 up the famous hill, he was outstayed by Mesnil, who is now 10/1 on the Sportsbook for the Grand National.

What to expect on Day 2

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For those that have been sleeping in a cave, the secret of the talent that is Mikey O'Sullivan is well and truly out of the bag. The cat's whiskers were poking out a long time ago and he looks a prince amongst the conditionals - a real sublime talent, with a fine head and a super upbringing.

O'Sullivan and Barry O'Connell will be looking to get off to the perfect start again in the opening race, as Good Land at 11/4 is the second favourite for the 13:30 - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle. Hermes Allen was pretty weak in the betting post-Tuesday and both are behind Willie Mullins' Impaire Et Passe 13/8 in the betting.

The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase is the headline Championship race, and is the re-match of the Clarence House from earlier in the season; with Edwardstone 11/8, Energumene 7/4 and Editeur Du Gite 5/1 all set to lock horns again.

I fancy Edwardstone to get it right this time, and with Editeur Du Gite playing the hare, hopefully Tom Cannon won't get too far out of his ground.

Back Edwardstone in the Queen Mother Champion Chase

11/8

Three Extra Place Specials on the Sportsbook - and Camprond weak

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The 14:50 - Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle is the first of the Extra Place Specials on Wednesday, and one of the big betting handicaps of the week.

One-time market leader Camprond has been notably weak in the betting from 8/1 out to 14s, while Bold Endeavour has halved in price from 40/1 to 20/1 as a big move. That's Tony Calvin's influence right there.

Back Camprond in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

14/1

The 16:50 - Grand Annual Handicap Chase is another of the Extra Place Specials with some lively action from Tuesday evening. The movers were:

Before Midnight 20/1 into 14/1.
Epson Du Houx 20/1 into 14/1.
Midnight Run 25/1 into 16/1.
The Last Day 33/1 into 16/1.
Dancing On My Own 66/1 into 33/1.

The third and final Extra Place Special rounds off Wednesday with the 17:30 - Weatherbys Champion Bumper and a field of 24 runners. It's not for everyone, but I like it.

Willie Mullins only has 10 runners, and those playing "spot the UK runner" might have seen Alan King's Favour And Fortune. He's a 25/1 poke and is an each-way interest for me.

Encanto Bruno for John McConnell was supported from 16/1 into 11/1 on Tuesday evening.

The Grade 1 action rolls on for the 14:10 - Brown Advisory Novices' Chase on Wednesday and all eyes will be on Sir Gerhard - who went out from 4/1 to 11/2 on the Sportsbook on Tuesday evening.

We also have everyone's favourite; the 16:10 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase - and an opportunity to hear "cheese wedges" mentioned in elite sport.

Delta Work and Galvin are 6/5 and 9/4. Galvin, a Grade 1 winner and he of claiming the scalp of A Plus Tard fame, looks a bit out of place in this race. Akin to Derek Jacobi presenting and selling carpet slippers and bath robes on QVC.

Delta Work beat Tiger Roll in this race 12 months ago, hero and villain.

Either way, a "home team" trainer facing two 160-horses is fairly daunting - even with a cheese flavoured obstacle or two in the way.

Tipster team out for success on Day 2

Tony Calvin picked out Corach Rambler on Tuesday and has selected six to back on Wednesday with plenty of big prices. Click here to read TC's Day 2 preview.

Kevin Blake has a 16/1 pick for Wednesday who he says of his chances: " He's had a largely similar preparation to what he had last year and has again benefited from some eye-catchingly generous handicapping which has left him just 3lb higher than when winning this race last year." Click here for Kevin's Day 2 tips.

And don't forget to check out the exciting Superboost on Paul Nicholls, as well as extra places in the Coral Cup and free bets. Read about everything on offer to new and existing Betfair customers on day 2 at the Cheltenham Festival. Click here for the offer details.

On with Wednesday, and Honeysuckle - thanks for the memories.

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