Cheltenham Day Two Review: Put The Kettle On holds off all rivals and Tiger roars again

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TwinSpires Staff

March 17th, 2021

by Josh Powell

TwinSpires writer Josh Powell will be on site every day for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival in Great Britain. Josh will provide daily assessments and analysis of racing trends, track play and bias, and other key track-side information punters desire.

St. Patrick’s Day was dominated by the Irish at Cheltenham as six of the seven festival winners all came from the Emerald Isle. Put The Kettle On sprung a shock in the feature race of the day, the Champion Chase, holding off red-hot favourite Chacun Pour Soi up the hill, while Cheltenham legend Tiger Roll shut up the doubters by romping home in the Cross-Country.

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Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

Rachael Blackmore continued her fantastic Festival by getting St. Patrick’s Day off to a flying start with Bob Olinger in the Ballymore. Gaillard Du Mesnil was well backed in the morning, but Bob Olinger maintained favouritism and that was the order they crossed the line. Bob Olinger travelled supremely well throughout the race and kicked on to win impressively by 7 1/2 lengths. Bravemansgame couldn’t do anything but watch Bob Olinger go off into the distance and the British novice came in third.

Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

Monkfish was the red-hot favourite in the second race and Willie Mullins’ superstar duly obliged despite not quite being foot perfect. Eklat De Rire unseated Rachael Blackmore down the back straight and Sporting John also made a crashing error which put paid to his race. Dickie Diver was never in contention and The Big Breakaway faded quickly after trying to go with Monkfish for a large part of the race. That left Fiddlerontheroof to pick up the pieces and get second, but this race was all about Monkfish who ran out a comfortable 6 1/2-length winner without ever having to really get into top gear.

Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

Heaven Help Us gave them all the slip in the Coral Cup to make it three Irish winners on the spin. He took the lead from the off and had it handy out in front as nobody really wanted to go too fast with him. Down the hill towards the home turn, he injected a little bit more pace and suddenly all his rivals were on the back foot. Blue Sari loomed large at one point, but his challenge disappeared quickly before he took a crashing fall at the last and Heaven Help Us for legendary Irish greyhound trainer Paul Hennessy won by nine lengths. Craigneiche came home second ahead of Tea Clipper and Sayo.

Champion Chase

It was a fourth Irish winner on the day, but not the one everyone expected. The red-hot Chacun Pour Soi for Willie Mullins had every chance coming over the last but couldn’t get past Put The Kettle On who was incredibly gutsy to hold off the challenge of both Chacun and Nubre Negra who came looming up on the outside. She jumped incredibly well and would not lie down as they battled up the hill to win by a half-length. Sceau Royal came in fifth and was the hard-luck story of the race after getting terribly hampered down the back straight.

Cross Country Chase

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Tiger Roll wins the Cross Country Chase (Courtesy RMG/Cheltenham)

Four-time Festival winner and dual-Grand National hero Tiger Roll made it a fifth Cheltenham success after absolutely dominating the Cross Country Chase. Going into the race the belief was the Tiger was past his peak, but he went off in front from the start and attacked every fence. Neither Easysland nor Some Neck could land a blow and as they jumped the last. Donoghue, on board Tiger Roll, was still sitting pretty and looking for dangers. There weren’t any. Tiger Roll won by 18 lengths to make it five Irish winners from five races.

The Grand Annual

Sky Pirate gave the British their first winner of the day as he held off the challenge of Entoucas to win by a short head. Us And Them gave the field a good spin around although his chance faded up the hill and it was Sky Pirate who came to lead over the last. Entoucas was getting closer with every stride but he couldn’t reel in the Jonjo O’Neill-trained winner. Ibleo was third, a few lengths clear of On The Slopes, while the pre-race favourite Embittered came crashing down before the race ever really got going.

Champion Bumper

This race was won at the start rather than the end with Sir Gerhard getting an easy lead in front and extended his lead to five lengths as they turned for home for Rachael Blackmore. He wasn’t to be caught, despite Kilcruit’s efforts, and although the gap was closing with every stride, it was an incredible smart ride from Blackmore who stole the race at the bottom bend. The pace wasn’t rapid and Blackmore had her tactics spot on as she stretched them out at the right time and gave herself a second winner of the day.

Will it be a walk in the Park for Paisley?

Paisley Park is one of the star attractions on day three as he attempts to regain his Stayers’ Hurdle crown in the feature race of the day. Dual Festival winner Sire Du Berlais will be his main rival, while The Storyteller will likely attract some support after finishing second in the Irish Gold Cup last time out.

The opening race tomorrow gives us another look at the incredible Envoi Allen, who has won twice at the Festival and is unbeaten in 11 career starts. He should win and could lap some of his rivals if he wanted.

The Ryanair Chase is one of the most open renewals of this Grade 1 with Min and Allaho at the top of the market. Melon will have his fans, but he seems to always finds ways of getting beat, while Imperial Aura is a Festival winner who will have enjoyed a break before this race.

Elsewhere there are several wide-open handicaps and Farclas could be the pick of them in the Festival Plate.

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