Cheltenham Festival 2017 Tips: Newsboy's 1-2-3, Alex Hammond and Oli Bell's best bets and odds for day two

Wednesday marks Ladies Day at Cheltenham, as the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ continues.

After the drama of day one at Prestbury Park (click here for the full results), day two promises to be just as eventful.

The Champion Chase at 3.30pm is the highlight – although the fashionistas will be out in force and determined to steal the limelight!

Don’t worry, we’re here for the racing – and we’ve got Wednesday’s top tips covered for you.

Our resident expert Newsboy provides his traditional 1-2-3. And lending their expertise from the Sky Bet stable are Alex Hammond, the Sky Sports News HQ presenter, and ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell.

So without any further ado, here are all the runners and riders.

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Newsboy’s 1-2-3

1.30pm: Neptune Novices’ Hurdle, 2m 5f 26y

1. Neon Wolf
2. Messire Des Obeaux
3. Bacardys

Neon Wolf looks a most promising recruit to hurdling and is taken to remain unbeaten.

The winner of his only outing in an Irish point-to-point, the son of Vinnie Roe dotted up in a Uttoxeter bumper at the start of December.

After scoring on his hurdles bow at Exeter on New Year’s Day, Neon Wolf lined up for the Grade 2 Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock Park 20 days later.

The market suggested one horse – and one horse alone – would win it.

And Neon Wolf, in the end sent off the 4-5 favourite, duly did surging away to thrash Elgin by nine lengths.

Fry has been at pains to stress he won’t risk Neon Wolf on fast ground, but there should be enough moisture in today’s surface to show him in his best light.

Messire Des Obeaux and stablemates Bacardys and Bon Papa are the most convincing candidates for the minor medals.

Neon Wolf should remain unbeaten
(Photo: Getty Images Europe)

2.10pm: RSA Chase, 3m 80y

1. Whisper
2. Royal Vacation
3. Might Bite

Whisper is the value play against better-fancied stablemate Might Bite.

It seems like a lifetime ago that the Nicky Henderson trainee was a top-level performer over timber, progressing through handicaps – he won the 2014 Coral Cup – to register two successes in Aintree’s Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle.

After his 2015 victory on Merseyside, Whisper lost his mojo, but a novice chasing and a link-up with Davy Russell this winter has seen the fire reignite in the nine-year-old’s belly.

Whisper marked his seasonal reappearance with a win over two miles and five here in December, following up over the same course and distance on New Year’s Day.

That Cheltenham know-how will hold Whisper in good stead.

Might Bite was in the process of crushing his Kauto Star Novices’ Chase rivals at Kempton Park on Boxing Day when falling at the final fence, but his Cheltenham hurdles record here doesn’t inspire.

Royal Vacation and Bellshill also enter calculations.

Whisper is the value play
(Photo: Getty Images Europe)

2.50pm – Coral Cup, 2m 5f 26y

1. Modus
2. Tombstone
3. Kalondra

Modus is fancied to concede weight all round to provide Paul Nicholls with his second Coral Cup in the last three years.

Having made the frame in competitive handicap hurdles at Ascot and Cheltenham in the first half of the winter, the son of Motivator disappointed behind Brain Power at Ascot eight days before Christmas.

But Modus, racing beyond two and a half miles for the first time, Modus put up his best effort to beat Templeross by a cosy two and three-quarter lengths.

The handicapper hasn’t taken that run lying down – he has reacted with an 11lb rise.

However, Modus is unexposed at the trip and, with Stan Sheppard claiming 5lb off the top weight’s back, he can better his Festival second to Moon Racer in the 2015 Champion Bumper.

Tombstone, installed as favourite after connections decided not to supplement for the Champion Hurdle, is capable of an involvement, along with Supasundae and Kalondra.

Modus is fancied in the Coral Cup
(Photo: Surrey Advertiser)

3.30pm: Betway Champion Chase, 1m 7f 199y

1. Douvan
2. Fox Norton
3. Special Tiara

Douvan is hardly a betting medium – so just sit back and watch a legend at work.

Not long after his arrival from France, the statuesque son of Walk In The Park was described as potentially the best horse he has tutored by Willie Mullins.

And he hasn’t let the trainer down, marking his first season over hurdles with a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle romp in March 2015.

Sent over fences, Douvan has continued in similar vein, beating Sizing John by seven lengths for the Arkle Challenge Trophy before following up at Aintree and Punchestown.

This winter, Douvan has won his three races, all at building-society odds, by a total of 35½ lengths.

Beginning with Cork’s Hilly Way Chase in December, he once again outclassed Sizing John in the highest grade at Leopardstown over Christmas before warming up for today with a head-in-chest triumph in the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown last month.

To say Douvan enjoys a class edge over his rivals is an understatement, and Rich Ricci’s pride and joy will surely extend his winning run to 15.

The real task facing punters is to find the horse to chase him home – and Fox Norton fits the bill.

Colin Tizzard reported his seven-year-old to have returned “stiff” after his Newbury humbling by Altior, and Fox Norton has more to offer.

Special Tiara, God’s Own and Garde La Victoire come into consideration for the bronze, with the first-named, third here in 2015 and 2016, preferred.

Douvan ridden by jockey Paul Townend clears a fence on the way to winning the Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase during Grand National Day of the Crabbie's Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool.
Douvan looks a good bet in the showcase race of the day
(Photo: PA)

4.10pm: Glenfarclas Chase, 3m 6f 37y

1. Cause of Causes
2. Cantlow
3. Any Currency

Cause of Causes, successful at the last two Cheltenham Festivals, has an excellent chance of completing the hat-trick.

Gordon Elliott’s stable stalwart was winning for the first time over fences when lifting the National Hunt Chase under Jamie Codd two years ago.

And the combination came good in 2016 as JP McManus’s son of Dynaformer thumped A Good Skin by 12 lengths in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup to register his second success over the larger obstacles.

Switched to the cross country discipline at Cheltenham in January, Cause Of Causes ran fifth to today’s favourite, Cantlow.

But that was my selection’s first try over the banks and hedges, and, after two recent schooling sessions here, he will know much more about what is required this time.

Cantlow and Quantitativeeasing could well pull off a McManus 1-2-3, but Any Currency, disqualified after last year’s win, shouldn’t be written off.

4.50pm: Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, 2m 87y

1. Prospectus
2. Divin Bere
3. Fadas

Prospectus is already a smart juvenile hurdler – with the promise of more to come.

Successful once from six outings on the Flat for Hughie Morrison, the son of Sakhee joined Co Meath-based Gavin Cromwell, the blacksmith making his name as a trainer, for a career over jumps.

And Prospectus got off to the perfect start, winning by 12 lengths at Fairyhouse in December, before finding Grade 2 company a step too far at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.

But my selection was back in the winner’s enclosure back at Fairyhouse in January, beating Dakota Moirette by a length and a quarter.

The assessor looks to have given Prospectus a chance off a perch of 133, and Cromwell’s booking of Ruby Walsh certainly catches the eye.

Dangers lurk at every corner, with top weight Divin Bere, the Paul Nicholls-trained Dolos and Fadas, saddled by the champion trainer’s former protégé Dan Skelton, all capable of having a say in proceedings.

Prospectus has shown plenty of potential

5.30pm: Weatherbys Champion Bumper, 2m 87y

1. Cause Toujours
2. Carter McKay
3. Fayonagh

Cause Toujours created a stirring impression in victory on his Rules debut, and is capable of serving it up to favourite Carter McKay.

The Dan Skelton five-year-old, who unseated his rider on his only start in an Irish point-to-point, was sent off the 5-2 favourite for a Warwick bumper back in December.

Ridden by the trainer’s brother Harry, Cause Toujours travelled powerfully before changing gear to beat Book Of Gold by seven lengths.

Afterwards, Skelton said the winner would not be lining up at Cheltenham, so the fact a man of such firm opinions has changed his mind suggests Cause Toujours has been showing to good effect in the run up to today.

Carter McKay, who humbled West Coast Time at Naas last month, will rightly be popular for his bid to give Willie Mullins a ninth Bumper win, while the mare Fayonagh is also worth throwing into the mix.

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Cheltenham Festival 2017

1.30pm: Neptune Novices’ Hurdle, 2m 5f 26y

If I could put this up in flashing lights (or neon) I would. Neon Wolf for Harry Fry is my top tip. I implore Harry Fry to take this route and not run in the Sky Bet Supreme as it looks the easiest option for this embryonic chaser.

He’s a long-term prospect for his talented trainer and hopefully he can get a Cheltenham win on his CV this year before going on to great things in the future over fences.

He’s now only 13/8 favourite given the news that Finian’s Oscar misses the race, but he’s solid for me. It seems we’ll know on Sunday morning where Neon wolf runs and it looks like this is his most likely target.

2.10pm: RSA Chase, 3m 80y

This Grade One looks fascinating with several horses in with a shout. On my shortlist are 100/30 favourite Might Bite who crashed out when looking set to hack up in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas and then had a nice confidence boost to win easily at Doncaster last month.

If the ground is soft enough Acapella Bourgeois, who flew home for Sandra Hughes in a Grade Two novice chase at Navan last time, will run a big race and a horse I’ve mentioned a moment ago, American for Harry Fry who also needs some cut in the ground so I hope it hasn’t dried out too much by Wednesday.

At 8/1 I’m going to take a chance on American on what could be a great week for Fry with three big chances.

2.50pm: Coral Cup, 2m 5f 26y

It’s not going to take me long to tell you what I fancy for this. Yes, it’s often a dreadful race to try and find the winner of, but this year there looks to be a blot on the handicap in the shape of Tombstone. Gordon Elliott’s horse is a class act and off a mark of 149 could be chucked in.

He’s 5/1 clear favourite with Sky Bet and you’ll see worse favourites than him during the week. He beat Stayers’ Hurdle fancy Jezki in a Grade Three at Gowran last time and last year’s Sky Bet Supreme fourth had the option of being supplemented for the Champion Hurdle, but they decided to stick with the handicap route.

His biggest threat comes in the shape of stablemate Automated who is Sky Bet’s 10/1 second favourite and he looks a great bet for each way punters.

3.30pm: Betway Champion Chase, 1m 7f 199y

Everyone loves a duvet day, well today is even better, it’s Douvan day! He looks the most solid horse of the week, but at 1/4 he isn’t backable.

He’s one to put in accumulators though and should be a banker. Let’s just hope we see the championship performance that we are expecting from Willie Mullins’ star.

God’s Own could be one to back in the market without Douvan and he’s currently 3/1 with Sky Bet. He has the option of the Ryanair too, but I think Tom George is leaning towards the Champion Chase with the rest of the season in mind.

4.10pm: Glenfarclas Chase, 3m 6f 37y

Way too difficult to get serious about, but Enda Bolger does little wrong with his runners in these races and he’s represented by Cantlow, Auvergnat, Quantitativeeasing, Colour Squadron and Love Rory. He won’t have things all his own way though and it should be a good spectacle.

4.50pm: Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, 2m 87y

Dinaria Des Obeaux is an exciting filly for Gordon Elliott and she is one to keep on side in this ultra-competitive juvenile handicap.

She was an impressive winner on her debut for Elliott in a maiden hurdle having won her only start in France and wasn’t disgraced in grade 1 company the time after that behind stablemate Mega Fortune who goes for the Triumph.

She got back to winning ways in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse last month, albeit she was awarded the race in the steward’s room after a narrow defeat and being hampered by first past the post Ex Patriot.

She’s a 10/1 shot with Sky Bet for Wednesday’s race and at that price offers some each way value. Noel Fehily really fancies his mount, 6/1 favourite Divin Bere.

He beat leading Triumph fancy Master Blueyes at Huntingdon on his debut for Nicky Henderson giving weight to the runner up, that looks a very good performance.

5.30pm: Weatherbys Champion Bumper, 2m 87y

Carter Mckay is Sky Bet’s 3/1 favourite for the bumper for a man who has an impressive record with his runners in this race; Willie Mullins.

He cost £160,000 last April and is owned by Pearl Bloodstock and it looks like money well spent so far as he has won both his bumpers for new connections to add to one 2nd place finish and one win in the point-to-point field. Warren Greatrex could saddle the best of the Brits in the shape of Western Ryder who is a 7/1 poke.

He couldn’t give masses of weight to Daphne du Clos last time out and wasn’t disgraced in defeat that day at Newbury. He’s an each way price at the moment.

Bluffer’s Guide to The Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival 2017 Racecards: Latest betting odds, Newsboy’s 1-2-3 tips, TV times and ticket information When is the Cheltenham Gold Cup? Runners and riders, TV times, betting odds and Newsboy’s tips Bluffer’s Guide to The Cheltenham Festival Capture

Oli Bell – ITV Racing presenter

1.30pm: Neptune Novices’ Hurdle, 2m 5f 26y

Neon Wolf (7/4) and Bacardys (3/1) are the horses everybody is talking about in this race, and rightly so following the disappointing news about Finians Oscar.

For me, Neon Wolf is a bit of a monster and such an exciting prospect that as much as the Irish are talking about Bacardys, he will need to be at his very best to beat Harry Fry’s horse.

2.10pm: RSA Chase, 3m 80y

Lots of people say they want to take on Might Bite (7/2). He’s won at Cheltenham before, albeit in a much lower quality novice hurdle, so how much you can read into that I don’t know.

He generally jumps pretty well. There will be scares but he if runs like he did at Kempton Park in December he will have a lot of horses out of the question by the start of the second circuit. Quite rightly, he’s the lay of the week for plenty.

2.50pm: Coral Cup, 2m 5f 26y

Despite Tombstone being a short-priced favourite at 9/2, it shows what a quality horse he is that Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown were also looking at the Champion Hurdle with him.

I was in Ireland recently with Gordon and you can see the feature on ITV this week.

3.30pm: Betway Champion Chase, 1m 7f 199y

With Altior hopefully running an unforgettable race on Tuesday, I’m sure Ruby and Douvan (2/7) will want to respond with one of their own to put down a marker for the most incredible clash to come between the two in the future.

What we want to see is the horses putting in their best and I’m sure Douvan won’t let down his many supporters.

4.10pm: Glenfarclas Chase, 3m 6f 37y

It looks to be a straight fight between three JP McManus horses – Cantlow (9/4), Cause Of Causes (7/2) and Auvergnat (7/1). We will have Nina Carberry with us on Wednesday’s The Opening Show and her insight into the race will be invaluable.

Cantlow, with his experience around the course, will be tough to beat, but many people are backing Cause Of Causes, so the market on the day will be very telling.

4.50pm: Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, 2m 87y

Nicky Henderson’s Divin Bere (6/1) will go close. Nicky’s horse impressively beat Triumph Hurdle hope Master Blueyes at Huntingdon in January and could be a class above his rivals.

But clearly the handicapper may also have his say, meaning others like Dino Velvet (14/1) could be considered. Alan King at the Cheltenham weights lunch was bullish about his chance.

5.30pm: Weatherbys Champion Bumper, 2m 87y

Someday (7/1) is towards the top of the betting and connections are keen. Western Ryder’s form (7/1) is impressive and I’m sure owners The Albatross Club will raise the roof if he wins at Cheltenham.

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