Tom Bellamy's Horse Racing Blog

Tom Bellamy’s Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day Two Preview

Before we move onto day two, I wanted to say I thought Constitution Hill was breathtaking on the first day. He was completely faultless, and did exactly what I expected him to, but it was great to see him actually do it.

I’ve no idea where he goes in the future, but it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to eventually see him in the Gold Cup at some point, I think he’s got everything, and could well be in the mould of Kauto Star, he won a Tingle Creek and then a Gold Cup.

The fact we are talking about a horse doing all of this, after winning a Champion Hurdle, shows just how good he is.

Day two kicks off with the Ballymore, and the first thing to note here is that we have to take Good Land very seriously after Tuesday. Barry Connell did nothing but talk up Marine Nationale before his win, and he’s done the same with this horse, so he’s very much up there.

But I think Hermes Allen will be one for our team. I think the Challow form he has is unbelievable, they haven’t come out and won anything too exciting, but two thirds of the horses in the race have come out and won their next start, or the one after that. He beat a competitive field, whether that form is good enough I don’t know, but for me, I loved the way he did it and he was very impressive.

In the Brown Advisory, Gerri Colombe looks good, he looks like he’ll stay the three miles no problem, has won a point to point in the past and both the trip and ground look fine for him.

One at a bigger price though against him is The Real Whacker, he’ll have to step up again but has good course form, and won a competitive Grade Two contest on Trials day. Ultimately, Gerri Colombe should win, but I think The Real Whacker will be on the front end and make a real race of it.

The Coral Cup looks tough but there’s one in there I know a bit about and that’s Langer Dan for the Skeltons. He’s ran in the last two runnings of the Martin Pipe, on the Friday of the meeting, the fact he’s now coming to the Coral Cup may suggest they think he’s better suited to the old course, rather than the new course.

He’s only 4lb higher than when he won at Aintree, at 10/1 he’s competitive at a good price.

The feature is the Champion Chase, and I’m with Edwardstone here. It’s not just bias, I think he ticks more boxes than the others. The ground has been described as tacky, so maybe a bit of rain would help here, as it would loosen that for him. I thought he was an unlucky loser last time, getting outbattled up the run in. It was the Clarence House, a big race in it’s own right, but that was a stepping stone for this.

He would have been ready for that, but he’ll be even more ready for this one. He’ll definitely turn the tables with Editeur Du Gite, and Energumene has a lot to answer after his last run. I think the rock solid option is Edwardstone.

The Cross Country comes next, and it’s a boring shout but I’ll stick with last year’s winner Delta Work. Course form is very important in this race, he’s got some class about him and Keith Donoghue is a man who knows his way around that course, having won it before. He’ll be hard to beat if anywhere near his best.

In the Grand Annual, at a big price I like the Sam Thomas trained Before Midnight. He’s 22/1 so a big price, and runs off a mark of 143 here. He won a very competitive Ascot handicap chase off 1lb higher over a year ago.

Similar to Edwardstone, he wouldn’t want the ground tacky, so a bit of rain to loosen things up would help him. I thought he ran really well last time, beaten about six lengths in what was a competitive race, he’s got the big handicap experience and is a course and distance winner.

The bumper ends the card, and as a side note, it’s a little sad for Britain’s sake to see so many runners in this contest trained in Ireland and by Willie Mullins, he has 10 of the 24 runners in the race. The bumper is about the future, and from a British racing viewpoint, it’s frightening to see so much of the future over in Ireland.

As for the race, I think Fact To File will turn the tables with A Dream To Share, given the slower ground on offer here. There’s plenty of others in there, but that form looks strong, plenty in with chances though.

Alan King has a runner in the race, Favour And Fortune, who is a gorgeous horse for the future. He was expected to run well when he won on his first start. He then went to Warwick for a more competitive race, and he had to shoulder a penalty, but was even more impressive than the first time.

He’s a horse going forward that is very nice, whether he’s a Champion Bumper winner, I’m not so sure, but at 28/1, he’s a definite each way bet in the race.

Tom  Bellamy

Tom Bellamy

Freebets ambassador and national hunt jockey Tom Bellamy writes his thoughts down for us, giving you the views of a jockey in the weighing room on all the big events