While the upcoming Cheltenham Festival is set to be one like no other, day two is certainly going to have an eerie feel about it. The Wednesday of the Festival is famously known as Ladies Day, with thousands of stylish racegoers packing out the Prestbury Park concourses in their glad rags and in good spirits.
So, as you study the form guides and hunt for the best odds on Cheltenham, we have put together this preview of all of day two’s Grade 1 races. Read on to find out more.
1:30: Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1)
Day two of the Festival gets underway with the Grade 1 Novices’ Hurdle, also known as The Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle in honour of the man who organised the first Cheltenham Festival in 1902. Over the years, the Grade 1 has produced some of the best hurdlers in the sport, including Faugheen, who won the race in 2014. Heavy favourite Envoi Allen made easy work of the race last year, winning by over four lengths. As things stand, Paul Nicholls-trained Bravemansgame, who has won his last three races in a row, is the favourite (10/3) to win this year’s edition of the race.
2:10: Festival Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Class1)
The gruelling three-mile Novices’ Chase is up next, and it takes a special kind of horse to win the 19-hurdle marathon, which is why the Grade 1 race is often seen as a gateway to the illustrious Gold Cup. In fact, many horses who have won the Novices’ Chase go on to win the Festival showpiece in the future. Last year, Champ (4/1), who is named after the legendary Sir A.P McCoy, triumphed over Minella Indo (3/1) and Allaho (5/2F). But this year, Willie Mullins, who trained the latter, will be hoping that Monkfish, who was victorious on day four of last year’s festival, will get the job done.
3:30: The Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1)
After a break from Grade 1 racing for the Grade 3 Coral Cup, we will be treated to the Ladies Day feature race, The Queen Mother Champion Chase. Named to mark the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday in 1980, the race boasts a whopping £400,000 prize pot. Last year’s race was set to be a thrilling encounter between Defi Du Seuil, Altior and Chacun Pour Soi. However, the latter two pulled out and Defi Du Seuil failed to capitalise on his favourite status. Instead, 6/1 shot Politologue went on to win the race by a whopping nine lengths over Dynamite Dollars. Here’s hoping we get to see Altior and Chacun Pour Soi this time around.
5:30: Champion Bumper (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1)
Following the lengthy Cross Country Chase, where we could a glimpse of Tiger Roll, and the Grade 3 Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, day two of the festival will be rounded off with the Grade 1 Champion Bumper. The race is one of the biggest in the National Hunt season. Last year 11/1 outsider Ferny Hollow won the two-and-a-half-mile race by two and a half lengths, denying favourite Appreciate It victory. This year, Gordon Elliott-trained Sir Gerhard is the favourite at 9/4, but he faces stiff competition from the likes of Kilcruit (7/1).