Cheltenham

Will Smith’s Day 2 Preview

Wednesday 16th March 13:30

WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith provides a preview for Day 2 of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday 16th March.

Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
I Am Maximus 18/118/1 E/W
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
Will Smith
Place BetPlace Bet
Capodanno 6/16/1 E/W
Brown Advisory
Will Smith
Place BetPlace Bet
Gailliard Du Mesnil 16/116/1 E/W
Brown Advisory
Will Smith
Place BetPlace Bet
Drop The Anchor 14/114/1 Ante Post
E/W
Coral Cup
Will Smith
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 15/03/2022

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (18:44 15/03/2022) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

Nicky Henderson’s string out form you say? Pah.

Four runners on Day One of the Cheltenham Festival 2022 for the Lambourn legend, and a return of two winners and two seconds will be music to his ears. Constitution Hill was sensational, Jonbon doughty, Epatante back to her best (but still not good enough for Honeysuckle), and Marie’s Rock produced a huge career best.

So, with building trepidation, I am jumping on that particular bandwagon – to be fair I’ve been keen on Henderson’s I Am Maximus for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 1.30 for a few days, and so approach the opener on Day Two with building confidence.

The question is what way to play it, as the presence of last year’s Cheltenham Festival bumper winner Sir Gerhard is proving troublesome. But I have to stick to my convictions, and that is that I feel the flat-bred Sir Gerhard could be vulnerable at 2m5f.

I Am Maximus won his bumper at Cheltenham, beating a now-absent-but-no-less-brilliant My Drogo, and then won his second hurdle start at Newbury in scintillating fashion. What set him apart for the Ballymore however was his runner-up finish to the mighty Hillcrest, over this kind of trip on soft ground on the grinding New Course. This decent ground on the Old Course is something that I Am Maximus will appreciate much more, and time may tell that any Hillcrest form is as good as gold.

At 18/1 each-way with Paddy Power, I Am Maximus has a much better chance than that price suggests. But, should Sir Gerhard prove to be a cut above, then it might be worth halving your stake and having a dabble at I Am Maximus in the ‘market without Sir Gerhard’ each-way at 11/2, also with Paddy Power.

The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase rivals the Arkle for level of competition and potential quality, and it might just be the most solid thing to do would be to side with the favourite Bravemansgame, to exhibit his jumping prowess once again.

But, despite jumping allowing him to conserve energy through the race, and the decent ground also aiding his natural pace, he might just be vulnerable at the prices.

Bob O’Linger and Galopin Des Champs have scared away most of this field from the Turners, and Willie Mullins runs two here who had entries in that here, who both have very good form linking in with those two monsters.

Capodanno gave Galopin Des Champs a real fright at Punchestown on penultimate start and could easily take a real step forward on this hike up to 3m for the first time. At 6/1 each-way, make Capodanno your first bet in the Brown Advisory with Paddy Power.

But it will also be worth siding with a horse who beat Bravemansgame over hurdles here last year, when Gailliard Du Mesnil pipped him for second spot in the Ballymore. He was then two lengths behind the aforementioned Capodanno on chase debut, and he could have jumped better that day.

While in two starts since Gailliard Du Mesnil has had the look of a horse perhaps being campaigned for a handicap at Punchestown, but I can’t resist backing him at 16/1 each-way with Paddy Power here. He gave away ground to his illustrious stablemate Galopin Des Champs at Leopardstown last time by racing wide and in rear, and acquitted himself with more than credit by finishing within hailing distance.

It feels hard not to back these two Willie Mullins-trained representatives, who have the best form-lines, and could both improve markedly for this 3m trip. At 6/1 and 16/1 each-way, make Capodanno and Gailliard Du Mesnil your Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase duo.

I have to be honest and say that the rest of the card features very little in the way of appealing bets, and so with reluctance, it is just the existing ante-post bet on Drop The Anchor for the Coral Cup that I am clinging on to.

If you are not already on Drop The Anchor, then at 9/1 each-way for 7 places with Paddy Power now, he is a recommended investment in the Coral Cup at 2.50.

For the rest of the card, the Queen Mother Champion Chase will be hopefully a race for the ages, the Cross-Country would be as popular a result should Tiger Roll do it, as Honeysuckle was today, and the Grand Annual and Champion Bumper both look pin-sticking jobs! Good luck.

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