The Four Plays Candice Hare Is Making On Day 2 of Cheltenham

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TwinSpires Staff

March 15th, 2016

As expected, the first day of the Cheltenham Festival was dominated by the powerful owner/trainer duo of Rich Ricci and Willie Mullins. Led by their trio of Douvan, Annie Power, and Vroum Vroum Mag, together they won three of the day’s seven races, with Min being the only of their fancied runners not to close the deal.

Their team on day two of the festival is not nearly as formidable, however, and for that reason it looks a more appealing day for wagering altogether.

Our first play will come in the second of the day: the RSA Chase. Favorite More Of That has not been seen much since defeating Annie Power in the 2014 World Hurdle after a wind operation kept him sidelined. He enters here having won both of his races this season, however, and with that he improved his undefeated Cheltenham record to four-for-four. His win ahead of As De Mee in November was good, but it was his trouncing of Sametegal in December which was outstanding. He jumped more fluently that day and in doing so he roared to a 13-length victory despite conceding three pounds. More Of That deserves to be a heavy favorite in this spot and the fact that is unlikely makes him an instant aggressive win play at odds of 9-5 or better.

We’ll skip ahead to the Cross Country Chase -- the fifth race of the day -- for our next play. Expect the crowd to be firmly in the corner of sentimental favorite Balthazar King, who makes his return to the races after suffering broken ribs in a fall in last year’s Grand National. He has won this race twice before. Without race fitness on his side, however, he is tough to have a bet on, so we will instead take a flier on Third Intention hitting the board. Colin Tizzard’s now nine-year-old has found himself in way too deep against top class company as of late. You only have to look to November when he was second in the Haldon Gold Cup to see this horse can still put in a quality performance. He will find himself in much easier company here and the cross-country style course should play to his strengths given he is a Flat-bred horse. He has not run this far before, however, and that is a genuine query, but at a likely big price it is a risk well worth taking.

The next is the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle in which we will side with John Ferguson’s progressive Jaleo. A winner of two from three this season, his latest showing was as stylish as they come and he gets in here on a good mark, getting eight pounds off the highweight. He admittedly has not beaten much so this race will be an acid test of sorts, but he looks well suited on paper.

We round out the day with the Champion Bumper which brings us to the horse I have been waiting weeks to have a wager on in this spot: High Bridge. Hailing from the same connections as Jaleo, High Bridge is extremely well-bred as one would expect from this yard. By the dearly missed stamina influence Monsun, High Bridge is out of 1000 Guineas heroine Ameerat. When last seen in December, High Bridge demolished a field of eight at Catterick en route to a 13-length victory. The form from that race has worked out well, too, with the second and third place finishers winning in their next outings. Some will point to his failure at Cheltenham in October as a reason to be against, but that came prior to a change in tactics which has seen him more prominently placed early in running in recent outings. We’ll make him our best bet of the meeting.

Suggested Wagers:

Race 2: More Of That win

Race 5: Third Intention win/place

Race 6: Jaleo win

Race 7: High Bridge win