Ladbrokes' Hayley O'Connor marks your card for Day Two of Cheltenham
Hayley reflcts on the ups and downs of Day One, and gives a few pointers for where to put your cash on Day Two.
For every horse you see at Cheltenham, there's about 10 people that both work with and love them. From their work rider at home, to the travelling head lad, the trainer, the breeder, their jockey; the list goes on. I've been lucky enough to get an insight into the process of getting a horse to the track, having had a few horses in training over the years at Jessica Harrington's.
Jezki's stunning victory in the best Champion Hurdle yesterday would have had all those who work with him in a state of euphoria. Each of them would have their own bond with the horse and care for him deeply. It's for this very reason that my heart goes out to all those involved with the incredibly talented Our Conor, who was fatally injured yesterday. I've no doubt he will be sadly missed by all.
Everyone will be thinking of them today.
The Neptune Novices' Hurdle opens the card and hopefully gets me off to a good start. There is a potential megastar on show here folks that goes by the name of Faugheen. He's had five career starts and has won by a combined 46 lengths and has yet to be fully tested.
His owner, gentleman Rich Ricci, got off to a winning start yesterday when his horse Vautour smashed the track record and he is extremely keen on this contender. Faugheen beat Josses Hill who came second to him yesterday, by a staggering 22 lengths in a bumper. Don't hang about, get on now as his price is only going south.
His nearest rival is the very well bred Red Sherlock who is unbeaten in six starts, but the favourite is apparently a "machine" and I'm not sure David Pipe's representative will have a fast enough engine.
The RSA is a tricky one and I'm cautious of the market leader Ballycasey. He's been impressive and won two from two over fences but I'm worried that a fall he had while schooling at Leopardstown will have dented his confidence so I might look elsewhere. Carlingford Lough is a battle-hardened rival, and even though he doesn't appear as flamboyant as others in the field, he could just tough it out.
Son Of Flicka has been well backed this morning for the Coral Cup but I give the top weight Dunguib a big shout.
The market for the highlight Champion Chase is headed by Sire De Grugy, who some folk say doesn't perform great at the track. I believe, even with that consideration, he has too much class for the rest of his opponents. Allegedly he's better on softer ground, but his victories in the Celebration Chase and Tingle Creek were on going like today's and I'm happy to take a chance.
The focus in the bumper should be the Irish horses as our record in the race is outstanding. I'm siding with Shaneshill. We haven't seen this beaut since November but it was on similar ground and he's very well bred. I expect him to fly home!
Don't forget to check back here at around 1.00 today as when will kick off our bumper live blog of the day's action, with all the tips, advice, craic and winners from Day Two of Cheltenham 2014.