Paul Nicholls fields seven runners on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival, and here the Betfair Ambassador talks through his chances of success...
"Lorcan Williams gets on very well with Duc Des Genievres and takes off a handy 3lbs. If this horse turns up in the same form as in November he has a serious chance."
Brave looks a bet
I've felt for a while that Bravemansgame is one of our best chances of the week. He has done nothing but please all season, is going to make an awesome chaser and looked top-class when completing the hat trick in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury. I've deliberately kept him fresh for this race which has cut up with the two Irish horses the obvious dangers at the head of the market.
Bravemansgame is a strong, powerful galloper who goes to Cheltenham in great order.
Ground against Saint
Things haven't worked out for him over fences this season with his jumping an issue so he's now back over hurdles for the rest of the season. He also hasn't acted in the soft ground this winter so it was disappointing to hear about the rain that fell at the course on Sunday night. If the ground dries out by race time Saint Sonnet could run ok.
Greaneteen will be staying on
He started the season with a fluent success in the Haldon Gold Cup and has since run well behind Politologue and then at Newbury when third to Sceau Royal where he was a bit too keen and carried a 6lbs penalty. Greaneteen is a lot sharper now and will appreciate a strong gallop. Although he is a bit in No Man's Land in these Grade 1 chases I expect him to outrun his odds and he will be staying on stoutly up the hill.
Politologue will not let us down
He returns to Cheltenham as the reigning champion and has been a wonderful flagship for the yard. He put up a brilliant performance 12 months ago when the race cut up a bit at the last minute. Although he is tough and reliable there's no denying this is a stronger renewal with the favourite Chacon Pour Soi looking hard to beat if he takes to the track. Politologue worked with all his usual enthusiasm at Wincanton last week. This is his sixth appearance at the Festival which is a remarkable feat, the course suits him and we know he will not let us down.
Going not good for Ashutor
This race has been the plan since he won three twice over fences in August. He is at his best on top of the ground so conditions were ideal at Cheltenham before the rain on Sunday night and he ran very well behind a smart novice at Fontwell recently on his return from a short winter break. This is a big step up in class for Ashutor and it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
Duc has a serious chance
He made a bright debut for us with a cracking run at this track in November when he was only nailed late on by last year's Arkle winner Put The Kettle On and I am refitting the hood he wore that day to help him settle in a big field of runners. Duc Des Genievres, who won the Arkle in 2019, is ground dependent and has breathing issues so I can't emphasise enough that the more the course dries out by race time the better it will be for him.
His jockey Lorcan Williams gets on very well with Duc Des Genievres and takes off a handy 3lbs. If this horse turns up in the same form as in November he has a serious chance.
Fifth or sixth would be a goal for Shearer
He is a lovely young prospect for the future, and won decisively at Warwick after an unlucky defeat on his debut at Hereford when he was collared close home after jumping a path in the final furlong. We are not going there thinking we are going to win and will be thrilled to bits if he finishes fifth or sixth.
Best chance. Bravemansgame in the 13:20. His form is classy and I couldn't have him in better shape going to Cheltenham.
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