The combination of everyone off the course dressing up the nines and the amazing racing taking place on it makes Ladies Day a thrilling occurrence during the Cheltenham Festival.
The thrill comes from the fact that 4 of the 7 races are Grade 1 offerings, with the others being made up of 2 Grade 3 races and the ungraded Cross Country Chase. In other words there’s plenty of top-class racing for you to sink your teeth into, with the standout race being the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
If you’ve landed on this page you are likely looking for some information about the races along with some ideas of who to bet on. If you are going to have a flutter why not also consider getting added value by taking one of the crazy Cheltenham offers for new or existing customers, both of which you can find on our home page.
The Going and The Weather
There is no point backing the worlds best runner if they are only good in the dry. Therefore a little research about the weather and ground conditions can go a long way to helping you find winners.
Gloucestershire Live are offering a regular update on the weather for Cheltenham and it looks like it’s going to be a wet one in the build-up to the Festival’s start.
One factor that might need to be taken into account is that the temperature could drop as low as 3 degrees overnight, which could lead to some frosting if it goes down any further.
It should be back up to highs of 10 and lows of 5 by the time Ladies Day gets underway, but the forecast is still for showers with wind blowing and that will almost certainly make the going soft to heavy.
Ultimately the key thing is the races themselves and all 7 of them on Ladies Day are worthy of your attention. Here’s a look at them in turn to tell you what to look out for.
Ladies Day Tips and Race Previews
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
The racing gets underway on Day 2 of the Festival with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, which has 10 hurdles over a distance of 2 miles, 5 furlongs and 26 yards and is for horses aged 4 and over. The weight here is 10 stone 12 pounds for 4-year-olds and 11 stone 7 pounds for those aged 5 and over, with fillies and mares getting a 7 pound allowance. Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins are the most successful jockey and trainer in the race’s history, which you might want to bear in mind.
Champ is understandably getting all of the attention, having raced 5 times over hurdles to date and winning 4 of them. Nicky Henderson hasn’t seen one of his horses win this race since 2012 and will be keen to put that right and the fact that Champ has won twice already this season will be giving him hope. Brewin’upastorm is also worth a mention, but he fell at the last the last time he ran at Cheltenham and that might end up playing on your mind.
- Winner Tip: Champ
- Each-Way Bet: Klassical Dream
RSA Novices’ Chase
Run over 3 miles and 80 yards, the RSA Novice’s Chase is a race that is open to horses aged 5 and over with 19 fences to combat. When it comes to weight, 5-year-olds have 11 stone 2 pounds whilst those aged 6 and over have 11 stone 4 pounds, with mares receiving a 7 pound allowance. This is the second race in a row that has Willie Mullins as the most successful trainer, picking up his last win it coming thanks to Don Poli in 2015.
The RSA Novices’ Chase is seen by many as the most exciting race of Ladies Day, thanks in no small part to the open feel to the field. Speak to 4 different pundits and it’s possible that you’ll get 4 different answers for the best horse to bet on here. Santini was seen as a favourite for a time but has drifted since, seeing Delta Work coming in to rival him for the favourite spot.
Delta Work is a good jumper with an ability to stay well when needed. He won the Pertemps last year and 8 out of the past 12 winners of this race have won at Cheltenham in the past, so it’s difficult to look past him for the win. Topofthegame has an outside chance, having finished ahead of Santini in the Kempton races on Boxing Day.
- Winner Tip: Delta Work
- Each-Way Bet: Topofthegame
Coral Cup Handicap
The excitement of the RSA Novices’ Chase is followed by another race with a reasonably open field to it, namely the Coral Cup. The majority of the favoured horses are in good form heading into this race, which is part of what makes it a difficult one to call. One of 2 Grade 3 offerings on Ladies Day, the handicap race is open to horses aged 4 and over and is run over 2 miles, 5 furlongs and 26 yards. In terms of previous winners, Davy Russell boasts the record for most wins as a jockey, so his name is one to look out for in this 10 hurdle race.
Xenephon was the last favourite to win the Coral and the fact that that was back in 2003 probably tells you all you need to know about how competitive a race this can be. Brio Conti has won 5 of his 11 starts, which is a decent hit-rate for the Paul Nichols trained runner and might make him worthy of a look. Uradel is likely to go off as favourite and is trained by Willie Mullins like last year’s winner Bleu Berry, but that ‘no favourite win since 2003’ sets alarm bells ringing for me.
- Winner Tip: Brio Conti
- Each-Way Bet: Whiskey Sour
Queen Mother Champion Chase
From 2 races that feel quite open to 2 that couldn’t have a more clear favourite if they wanted to. It says something that bookmakers are offering odds on the Queen Mother Champion Chase ‘without Altior’. He is likely to off as the shortest odds favourite of the entire Festival, having won all 17 of his starts, of which 12 have been over jumps. He is the defending champion after burning of Min up the hill last time out and it’s difficult to see anything other than a win for Nicky Henderson again here.
The race is the standout one on Day 2 of the meeting and takes place over 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 199 yards. It’s for 5-year-olds and over with a weight of 11 stone 10 pounds applied, with mares once again getting a 7 pound allowance. The 12 fences are unlikely to cause the favourite any issues, but if you want to look at the market without him then Min might be worth a punt.
- Winner Tip: Altior
- Each-Way Bet: Min
Cross Country Chase
As with the Queen Mother Champion Chase, there’s another clear favourite in the Cross Country Chase in the shape of Tiger Roll. Featuring 32 obstacles during the 3 miles and 6 furlongs on Cheltenham’s Cross-Country Course, this race is open to horses aged 5 and up. It became a conditions race in 2016 and is one of just 3 races that take place on the Cross-Country Course at Cheltenham nowadays.
The race is a young one, having been added to the Festival’s roster in 2005, but it’s worth remembering that only 2 horses have managed to win it more than once in that time. If you want to bet against the market and assume that Tiger Roll won’t be following in the footsteps of Garde Champetre and Balthazar King then Fact Of The Matter might be worth a look. Still, with 12 of the past 14 winners being Irish-trained it’s doubtful that the title is going anywhere else this year.
- Winner Tip: Tiger Roll
- Each-Way Bet: Fact Of The Matter
Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle
Run over about 2 miles and half a furlong and featuring 8 hurdles during that, the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle is, as the name suggests, for novice hurdlers aged four. It’s a handicap race so there’s no weight information to give, but it is worth knowing that it’s another of the races that was created when the Festival added a fourth day to its roster in 2005. Paul Nicholls is the leading trainer but no jockey has won the race more than once to date.
When it comes to looking for a winner you might want to look at their rating, given that 13 of the 14 winners since the race was inaugurated had a rating of between 124 and 134. With 6 of the previous 7 winners having a starting price of 25/1 or higher this could be a race for you to go Each-Way in with every bet. Joseph O’Brien is known for having good juvenile hurdlers and his Band Of Outlaws is therefore seen as worthy of a flutter.
- Winner Tip: Band Of Outlaws
- Each-Way Bet: Coco Beach
National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup
Ladies Day comes to a close with the Champion Bumper flat race, which takes place over 2 miles and 87 yards. It’s open to horses aged between 4 and 6 with the following weight information:
- 4-year-olds: 10 stone 11 pounds
- 5-6-year-olds: 11 stone 5 pounds
- Fillies & mares get a 5 pound allowance
Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins are the names to look out for, having won 3 and 9 races respectively since the events creation in 1992. The favourite has won just once in the past 12 runs of this one, so it might be worth looking further down the list for your chosen horse. Make sure you consider an Irish one, though, given they’ve won it 18 times over its 24 runs.
- Winner Tip: Meticulous
- Each-Way Bet: The Glancing Queen
Cheltenham Day 2 Betting Summary
There’s not a huge amount of value in betting on the favourites in either the Queen Mother Champion Chase nor the Cross Country Chase, but the rest of the day’s action throws open some genuine possibilities when it comes to finding something exciting to watch and bet on.
The Queen Mother might be the feature race but I’m excited to see if Delta Work can live up to his billing in the RSA Novices’ Chase.