Cheltenham Day 2 tips: Samcro takes Ballymore Novices' Hurdle

Champion jockey Ruby Walsh has re-injured his leg in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival

Champion jockey Ruby Walsh has re-injured his leg in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival

The big race of the day if the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at 3.30pm, and Martin has backed Altior, now a best price of 6-5.

While Black Op made good headway to break away from the rest, he never looked like catching Samcro and a mistake at the final flight stopped his momentum. It was a proper race and Melon is a good horse, but Buveur D'Air just put his head down and battled.

This year's festival runs 13-16 March and we'll keep you up to date on air and online with the previews and results.

It's that time of the year again, racing fans. I've been hugely impressed by BLACKBOW (IRE), who won the best bumper of the season when beating a classy field chockful of former winners at Leopardstown's Dublin Festival on February 3. But the upside to Al Boum Photo's chance is that he could be one to thrive on them.

The scintillating two-mile chaser - unbeaten from seven starts over fences - has always been regarded as the heir apparent to Henderson's Sprinter Sacre.

But the selection is bound to come on substantially fitness-wise and stepping up three and a half furlongs in trip, and the stiff uphill finish, will play to his strengths.

The eight-year-old, who is owned by Patricia Pugh, was sidelined before Christmas following a wind operation and then just a few days before this afternoon's Champion Chase he was lame with puss in his hoof - not the smoothest of preparations leading up to the big race. Even O'Leary and Elliott's Gold Cup-winner Don Cossack didn't conjure the same expectation as this horse.

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Rain is a great leveller however and, on the basis the surface will ride soft, or worse, Monalee is the choice to outstay him.

This has lead to many welfare agencies and equine fanatics pleading for action to be taken against the British Horseracing Authority, who are ultimately responsible for the safety regulations for any horse or jockey who competes at one of their venues or in one of their competitions.

Cheltenham was most certainly his crowning point, and Gordon Elliott's team aimed him for the Ballymore Novice Hurdle. Still it seems apt that perhaps Gigginstown's greatest ever prospect has to pass a test set by the races' most successful ever trainer. Despite him also being the stable's third or fourth string in the race, there's a temptation to take some of the 33/1 ew or indeed 16/1 w/o fav.

There is no doubting the horse that has got the world of racing really excited is Samcro.

When asked, Willie Mullins said he could be absolutely win anything and he won very well at Gowran Park on his second hurdles start. His slight setback after Kempton might end up being a blessing in disguise as I was concerned that he had already had a busy season.

Nothing would make me happier than a top-level British-bred victor at the Festival and returning hero PRESENTING PERCY (GB) could well be the one to get the ball rolling here today.

A little each-way on one of the Mullins inmates, Carefully Selected, might reap a dividend.

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