Cheltenham Festival Day Two Tips: Jamie Codd’s 9/1 Champion Bumper fancy

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Cheltenham Festival Day Two Tips: Jamie Codd’s 9/1 Champion Bumper fancy

Multiple Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Jamie Codd returns with a look through day two, featuring a pair of fancies in the concluding Champion Bumper and a strong case in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.

1.30pm – Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle

It’s hard to oppose BALLYBURN in Wednesday’s opener. He’s been very good since his defeat to Firefox, winning his maiden hurdle with ease and then kicking good horses like Slade Steel and King Of Kingsfield out of the way at the Dublin Racing Festival.

I expect Paul Townend will keep it very simple. He’ll pop out in the first two or three and let the horse do his thing and hopefully he’ll justify his big reputation.

Handstands is still unexposed for the in-form Ben Pauling and has an each-way squeak, but he’s got a good bit to find with the Irish. I’ve heard good things about Jimmy Du Seuil, so he’s definitely one to keep an eye on too. In fact, all five of Willie Mullins’ runners here look to have big potential for the future. The strength in depth at Closutton is simply scary.

2.10pm – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

I’ve been a big fan of STAY AWAY FAY for a while, and I’m as strong as ever on him in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. He jumps nicely, stays well and comes here already a Cheltenham Festival winner, having landed the Albert Bartlett over hurdles last year.

His last run in open company behind Capodanno and The Real Whacker is a proper piece of form and he’s still open to plenty of improvement in first time cheekpieces, which I’m guessing Paul Nicholls feels will sharpen him up for the big day. I’m really looking forward to the race.

Stay Away Fay wins at Sandown on Friday under Harry Cobden

Image: Stay Away Fay wins at Sandown under Harry Cobden

2.50pm – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

I’m very keen on JIGORO here for Gordon Elliott and the Morans. He’s very unexposed first time into a handicap and has run well behind Tullyhill and Mystical Power, which looks useful form after Mystical Power ran so well in the Supreme. He could look well-treated off a mark of 141. He’s stepping up in trip and will need some luck in running, but he should stay, and he’s well worth an each-way interest at decent odds (14/1).

3.30pm – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

I’m happy to admit I’ve got a soft spot for Jonbon, but head has to rule heart here, and EL FABIOLO should really have enough in hand to land the Champion Chase. He was impressive in the Arkle last year, and while he’s not always been foot perfect with his jumping since then, he’s never looked in trouble and has notched three more wins since, two of those in Grade 1s.

The ground will be fine for him and the race promises to be well-run, with a couple of obvious pace angles in there. I’m sure they’ll go forward with Edwardstone again, but I fear he’s shown his hand to some extent. He was good at Newbury, but if he’d popped out and done that for the first time in the Champion Chase, he might just have caught them by surprise.

El Fabiolo

Image: El Fabiolo is all set for an epic clash with Jonbon

4.10pm – Glenfarclas Chase

I know the Cross Country track at Cheltenham well, and given the wet weather we’ve had and the lack of drainage at the course, this promises to be hard work. What a race this is though, with several Festival winners in action including Gold Cup winner MINELLA INDO, who has plenty going for him.

He really did take to the task well in December when he was giving lots of weight to his rivals and he’s been freshened up since. There are very few negatives with him and he’s the best horse in the race, so why doesn’t he win? Delta Work has to be respected in his hat-trick bid but Galvin would like nicer ground, and I think Coko Beach could be the pick of Gordon Elliott’s. It’s his first try at this, but he handled the banks well at Punchestown and he’s a classy handicapper who goes well on soft ground.

Jack Kennedy wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Minella Indo

Image: Jack Kennedy wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Minella Indo

4.50pm – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

I think MASKADA can hit the heights again and go back-to-back in the Grand Annual for Darragh O’Keefe and Henry de Bromhead. She’s now 8lbs higher than last year, but given she had Dinoblue well behind in second that day, I feel she still could be well enough handicapped on that form.

She’d had to do the donkey work in front in a couple of smaller field races so far this year and wasn’t disgraced behind El Fabiolo in the Hilly Way. A return to this sort of test is what she needs and to me she’s been crying out for a lead and a strong pace to run at. That’s what you get in a Grand Annual which is a race tailor-made for her. I think there’s a big run in this mare.

5.50pm – Weatherbys Champion Bumper

Nothing has blown me away in the bumper division this year and this race looks wide open. Two catch my eye, but how can you not tip one of Willie Mullins’s in the bumper? TEESHAN was hugely impressive in his point to point, and arrived at Exeter with a big reputation, winning by seven lengths on bad ground. He’s open to improvement and should go well for a team who came close with Captain Teague last year.

I also like THE YELLOW CLAY, who ran a cracker on his return from a fair old break when fourth at Leopardstown last time. He didn’t get the smoothest run that day and I’d say he’ll be ridden for luck again, which can be a smart tactic in a race which is often run at a good gallop. I won two races on him last year, and he’s a good horse who tries hard and handles soft ground.

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