A narrow defeat for Champ in the RSA Chase and a “right result for the books” in the Coral Cup put the bookmakers in command once more at Cheltenham, before Altior – “one of the bankers of the week” – restored some order for the big players.
Stephen Harris, Horse Racing Editor at bettingexpert.com, reflected on another pulsating day of action at the Festival headlined by the expected victory for Altior, who brushed off an errant water jump to make it 18 wins on the bounce.
Harris on Day 2:
“Day 2 at the Cheltenham Festival got underway with the weather far more settled than expected and the ground reportedly drying out rapidly. The layers were aggressively against the front of the market in the opening Ballymore novice hurdle, calling 4/1 the field at the off with money for a good spread of the runners.
“They got a cracking result too as City Island (8/1) fended off Champ in a pulsating finish up the hill, landing another blow for Ireland in a division they have dominated in recent years.
“The RSA Chase concerned three runners in the market, and Paul Nicholls Topofthegame (4/1) got the better of a thrilling battle up the hill from old rival Santini, with strong favourite Delta Work just one-paced from the last back in third (continuing a disappointing start for Gordon Elliott).
“A typically wide open Coral Cup saw a right result for the books as the unconsidered 28/1 outsider William Henry got up on the line, touching 300/1 in running on Betfair before flying home from an impossible position.
“Attention now turned to the feature race of the day, with old foes Altior (defending a perfect 12/12 record over fences) and Min locking horns for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The big players were out in force to smash into one of the bankers of the week, with Star Sports reporting six figure bets at 2/5f on Nicky Henderson’s superstar.
“However, they were made to sweat as the favourite failed to jump with his usual fluency (bad error water jump) and had to dig very deep up the hill to see off the gallant Politologue.”
Harris on Day 3:
“Punters can now focus on a compelling Thursday at the Festival, which is traditionally the most competitive day of the week. Plenty will be hoping the progressive Paisley Park (7/4f) can complete an incredible rise from handicap company to Grade 1 staying champion.”