Day two at Cheltenham will not feature Altior but, with Tiger Roll, Envoi Allen and Appreciate It it could be a day for the punters to unleash hell on the bookmakers.
The four day battle between bookies and punters very much looks to hinge on the Wednesday action.
The Ballymore Novices Hurdle 1.30
Envoi Allen will be key to so many ante-post betting dockets. Gordon Elliott's unbeaten novice has been imperious in his career to date. Last year's Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner is a dual grade one winner over hurdles, although he may still have doubters after his easy win at Naas in the Lawlor's Hotel Novices Hurdle in January.
Envoi Allen maintains his unbeaten record at Naas, as he lands the Grade 1 Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle pic.twitter.com/hMjVSiIK9D
— Horse Racing Ireland (@HRIRacing) January 5, 2020
The Ballymore represents his stiffest task to date, but the stable has won this race with the previously indestructible Samcro who landed the spoils s an 'Irish banker' two years ago.
Sporting John, The Big Breakaway and The Big Getaway will give Envoi Allen most to think about and given their physicality, a rivalry between these could develop over fences in the coming season.
Intriguingly the three main rivals mentioned are all by the same sire, Getaway, and of the three Sporting John looks the biggest threat to Envoi Allen with the other two looking still a shade raw.
The RSA Chase 2.10
Rachael Blackmore has an enviable book of rides and Minella Indo has winning course form. Although he was an unheralded 50/1 shot when taking the stamina-sapping Albert Bartlett last season giving Blackmore her first Festival grade one.
Minella Indo backed that performance up with another top-level win at the Punchestown festival and Minella Indo has plenty of the same criteria as previous RSA winners, even if he's a little light on chasing experience.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) May 1, 2019
Robbie Power has decided to ride Slate House rather than the shorter priced Copperhead, who has diverted from the Nation Hunt Chase.
In a strange turn of events, two horses who fell when last seen, Champ and Batteloverdoyen are relatively short prices in a race that is a demanding jumping and stamina test.
Allaho and Easy Game represent Willie Mullins as does rank outsider Castlebawn West. Paul Nicholls won the race last year but goes unrepresented here the day after he was entirely unrepresented on the opening day of the Festival, and apparently spent it in the pub.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase 3.30
The absence of reigning champion Altior renders this race an apparent match between the Willie Mullins trained Chacun Pour Soi and dual festival winner Defi du Seuil.
Willie Mullins has never won the Queen Mother Champion Chase among his record 65 and counting winners at the Cheltenham festival. Douvan was beaten at a very short price while several of his horses ran into Altior and Sprinter Sacre over the years.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) December 8, 2019
Chacun Pour Soi only made his debut over fences last March and arrives into the biggest test of jumping in horseracing with just four chase starts.
On only the second of those chase starts, he beat Defi du Seuil at Punchestown in a grade one. Defi du Seuil has been imperious since then winning three times over two miles. They include two wins at the top level in the Clarence House and Tingle Creek.
The question is where the pace will come from as sending Chacun Pour soi out in front early could make him a target for Defi du Seuil.
Perhaps Politilogue can set up the battle race fans want in the Queen Mother.
The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 4.10
The most famous horse in training lines up in the Cross Country when Tiger Roll looks to make it an incredible five wins at the festival and a three-in-a-row in the 'banks' race.
The form of last year's race is questionable with only one winner to emerge since, but this renewal looks considerably stronger.
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 13, 2019
The Cross Country test is not for the faint-hearted so having a screw loose can be of assistance, step forward Might Bite. The 2017 RSA winner famously almost threw the race away and since placing in the Gold Cup two years ago has found winning more difficult and now takes to the banks.
French raider Easyland brings course form while Neverushacon is exactly the sort of fruit loop who does well in this sort of race.
To quote Omar Little, "you come at the king, you better not miss" and Tiger Roll is still very much the King.
The Champion Bumper 5.30
There are few certainties in life but the old saying could be amended to "Death, taxes, and Willie in the bumper." If Tiger Roll and Envoi Allen win, the liabilities on Appreciate It for Willie and Patrick Mullins in the last will have the layers running for cover.
The pair have not hidden their admiration for Appreciate It, who has won his last two starts at Leopardstown very impressively and is the doyen of the Cheltenham preview circuit.