Cheltenham Festival 2023 tips today: Nube Negra can give Energumene a good run on day two
Day two of the Cheltenham Festival perhaps lacks the talking points of the other three days — but the key races are fascinating from a betting perspective.
The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.30) will divide opinion. With Shishkin having left the two-mile division, Energumene picked up the pieces and, having been so impressive in this race last year, he remains the horse to beat.
The concern is how laboured he was here in January behind Editeur Du Gite, and it is a concern for backers of Edwardstone that Alan King's charge still failed to win, so an alternative is possible and, perhaps, Nube Negra is the one.
Much better fresh, he has thus been saved all year by Dan Skelton, and he has an excellent record at Cheltenham. Moreover, he is a backable price in a tricky renewal.
Willie Mullins should get punters off to a successful start in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (1.30) with Impaire Et Passe. With two wins from two outings, it is hard to know how good he is, but he seems certain to improve now up in distance.
Paul Nicholls (left) has become a peripheral figure at Cheltenham in recent years, and he will rarely enjoy a win as much if Hermes Allen scores. Ultra-impressive in his three races so far, he is dangerous to discount, with Barry Connell also bullish about Good Land.
The Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (2.10) sees one of the bankers of the week for the Irish in the shape of Gerri Colombe, trained by Gordon Elliott.
Jockey Jordan Gainford spoke favourably of his chance yesterday, and Elliott has never hidden his regard for this horse, who has won every race he has contested.
The recent rain will help his chances and he always seems to do what is merely enough on the day. At huge odds, I Am Maximus could reward each-way players, for all that he has become a little disappointing.
Elliott runs five in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (2.50), and it would be no surprise if Fil Dor was up to defying top weight, despite being only a five-year-old. A chance is taken on An Epic Song, who will very much welcome the rain and was quite eye-catching at Leopardstown.
Tiger Roll was denied by Delta Work in the Glenfarclas Chase (4.10) last year, and the latter looked the new kid on the block. He faces an up-and-comer from his own yard, Galvin, and the betting will be fascinating.
Coeur Sublime is not one to trust, but may just have the class in the Grand Annual (4.50) under Ben Harvey.
The final race of the day, the Weatherbys Champion Bumper (5.30) sees Mullins declare a staggering 10 runners, but Elliott's Better Days Ahead is really promising.