Cheltenham Festival Day 2 preview: Battleoverdoyen the Ballymore betPublished on: March 12, 2019Author: David Metcalf
The Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle gets proceedings underway on a stellar Champion Chase day card at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday.
Battleoverdoyen looks worth a bet to provide leading Irish owners Gigginstown House Stud with back-to-back wins in the 2m 5f contest (13:30).
Samcro carried their famous maroon and white colours to victory 12 months ago and this six-year-old looks a very exciting prospect.
Since winning his sole start in an Irish point, the son of Doyen is unbeaten in three starts under rules this season for trainer Gordon Elliott.
After easily landing a bumper at Punchestown, Battleoverdoyen put in a scintillating performance on hurdles debut at Navan when forging clear to land a 21-runner 2m contest by 13 lengths.
Connections pitched him into Grade 1 company on the back of that and Battleoverdoyen justified favouritism in fine style when landing the 2m 4f Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle by 2 3/4 lengths from Sams Profile.
He forged clear after the second last and despite making a mistake at the final flight was well on top at the finish.
Battleoverdoyen was value for more than the winning margin and it was a most taking display which suggested he needed keeping firmly onside.
The step up to 2m 5f should also play to his strengths and forecast underfoot conditions will not be an issue.
So, taking everything into account, there is nothing not to like about Battleoverdoyen’s profile for this and, at 100/30 with BetVictor, he looks value to get the better of market leader Champ.
Delta Work a worthy RSA favourite
Delta Work, who is also trained by Elliott and carries the colours of Gigginstown, looks a worthy favourite at 15/8 on offer with Ladbrokes to maintain his unbeaten record over the larger obstacles in the Grade 1 RSA Novices’ Chase (14:10).
This six-year-old was a smart hurdler and won the Pertemps Final at this meeting 12 months ago.
He has quickly developed into an even better chaser, showing a willing attitude when beating Nivem by three-quarters of a length at Down Royal, before scalping the highly regarded Le Richebourg by half-a-length in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novices’ Chase over 2m 4f at Fairyhouse.
Le Richebourg has since gone on to land two Grade 1 contests, so that is very strong form indeed. Delta Work then relished the step up to the 3m trip of this when landing the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
He put in an assured round of jumping and, after being ridden to assert on the run-in, forged clear to easily beat Mortal by eight lengths.
It was an authoritative display and one which suggested there was even better to come. He does face some stiff opposition in the shape of Santini and Topofthegame, but Delta Work is fully expected to come out on top and land the four-timer under Davy Russell who rides the track supremely well.
Vision Des Flos weighted to go well in Coral Cup
The 2m 5f Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (15:50) is a fiendishly hard puzzle to solve, but Vision Des Flos has some top class form in the book and looks worth an each-way wager at 16/1 with Unibet who are offering enhanced terms of a fifth of the odds for six places.
This six-year-old won the valuable Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the 2017 Punchestown Festival when in the care of Robert Tyner, and posted some terrific efforts in defeat at Grade 1 level last season after joining trainer Colin Tizzard.
In the first of those at Aintree, Vision Des Flos ran a cracker when a 2 1/2 lengths runner-up to Lalor at the Aintree Grand National meeting.
He went on to round off the campaign with a fine second Draconien at the Punchestown Festival. Both those efforts represent very strong form.
Vision Des Flos also comes into this at the top of his game having returned to winning ways in the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell where he readily beat If The Cap Fits by 1 1/2 lengths off an official rating of 150.
If The Cap Fits, from whom he received 4lb, was rated 155 going into the race and he had smart performers rated 150 and 153 in behind.
That form reads well in relation to this and suggests an opening handicap mark of 152 for Vision Des Flos is exploitable.
Course specialist Tiger Roll can collect in Cross Country
Tiger Roll has a superb record at the track having won four of his eight starts. The Gordon Elliott trained nine-year-old is a three time Cheltenham Festival winner and looks to hold outstanding claims of adding to that tally in the 3m 6f Cross Country Chase (16:10).
This Gigginstown House Stud owned son of Authorized landing this 12 months ago when staying on strongly to score by two lengths.
He then went on to land the the Grand National at Aintree in terrific style. Tiger Roll is one of the most popular horses in training and, despite his diminutive size, is a fine jumper and tenacious battler who can always be relied upon to run his race at the big meetings.
He also comes into this in fine fettle having looked better than ever when landing the 2m 5f Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Naas last month by four lengths from the upwardly mobile Off You Go.
Tiger Roll he cruised into contention approaching the straight and when asked to go about his business shot clear to quickly put the race to bed and score easily.
That looked the ideal prep for this and Tiger Roll also has the services of Keith Donoghue in the saddle, who has a 40 per cent strike rate on him.
His claims are rock solid, so odds of 6/5 with Paddy Power to land the spoils look fully justified.
Band Of Outlaws the Fred Winter fancy
In the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (16:50), the progressive Band of Outlaws looks potentially ahead of his mark and worth a punt at 13/2 with Coral.
This four-year-old, who hails from the powerful Irish yard of Joseph O’Brien, was a useful flat performer on the level who has won two of his three starts over the obstacles.
Following a promising third at Cork when beaten just a length, Band Of Outlaws stayed on strongly to go one better and open his account over hurdles at Limerick when beating Future Proof by a length.
That success saw connections pitch Band Of Outlaws into class 1 company and he couldn’t have been more impressive when landing six-runner novice hurdle at Naas.
After being held-up, he made smooth headway on the bridle two from home and, despite a mistake at the last, showed a smart turn of foot to cruise home by 4 3/4 lengths from the now 129-rated Maze Runner.
Band Of Outlaws has been given opening handicap mark of 139 on the back of that, and that could well underestimate his ability as he is clearly going the right way and looks the type who has plenty more improvement left in the locker.
Other pluses are that he is a strong traveller with a potent turn of foot – the ideal combination for this test. His hold-up run style means that he will need the gaps to appear at the right time as a maximum field of 22 are set to go to post. If they do, then Band Of Outlaws is going to be tough to beat.
Blue Sari can secure more Bumper glory for Mullins
Irish handler Willie Mullins has an incredible record in the Grade 1 Champion Bumper having won it nine times since its inception in 1992.
Blue Sari is his sole representative in this year’s renewal of the 2m contest (17:30). That looks significant and suggest he is worth siding with at the 100/30 on offer with BetVictor.
Mullins has struck in the closing contest on four of the eight occasions when he has had just one representative. In Blue Sari, he has a four-year-old was bought by leading Irish owner JP McManus after winning in stunning style by 11 lengths on his debut at Gowran Park.
After racing in mid-division and kept out wide by amaetur top jockey Patrick Mullins, the son of Saddex sliced through the field like a knife through butter to take up the running approaching the home straight.
Blue Sari then quickened clear approaching the final furlong to easily beat Front View by 11 lengths.
The turn of foot he showed to shoot clear marked him out as something potentially very special and, although the form has not been franked, it was a very taking performance visually. Blue Sari could do no more than winner in the manner that he did.
He also had the field strung out like washing without barely having to break sweat and clearly possesses a huge engine.
Barry Geraghty, who rides the track as well as anyone, now takes over in the plate, so Blue Sari has lots going for him and is taken to get the better to fellow unbeaten Irish raider Envoi Allen and land what looks a top class renewal.