OUR IN-form tipster Karl Hedley tipped three winners on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. Vautour, Quevega and Midnight Prayer all obliged for our man. Here are Karl's tips for the day...
In-brief - Karl's tips on day two are:
1-30 Red Sherlock
2-05 Morning Assembly
4-00 Balthazar King
4-40 Arzembouy Premier
5-15 Value At Risk
In more detail, Karl's big tips are:
2-05 RSA CHASE (GRADE 1) – 3 MILES 110YDS
Morning Assembly is the apple of Pat Fahy’s eye and he comes here with serious claims. Despite suffering a setback in defeat behind Carlingford Lough at Leopardstown, it was still a fine effort and the front two pulled right away from their rivals. The trainer has aimed his stable star at this race all year and he has beaten many of these rivals before.
Carlingford Lough is also entered, but he suffered a nasty fall and unseated AP McCoy when in with every chance in a subsequent race at Leopardstown.
It remains to be seen as to whether he is fully over that incident. Corrin Wood remains unbeaten this season but has never kept company quite as good as this. He is yet to contest a Chase with more than four runners in it and that lack of experience could find him out.
The antepost favourite for this race is Ballycasey. Morning Assembly trounced him by seven lengths earlier in the year at Punchestown and he can confirm that form. The selection is still only lightly raced and remains open to plenty of improvement.
3-20 BETVICTOR QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (GRADE 1) – 2 MILES
Hinterland looks sure to go well in this afternoon’s main event for Paul Nicholls and Noel Fehily. He has made the frame in all three previous visits to Prestbury Park including a win over the course and distance.
This doesn’t look the strongest of renewals and with his yard in fine form he has to be considered. He will be quite at home on the drying ground and he comes here a relatively fresh horse having been off the track for over three months.
Sire De Grugy has taken full advantage of the injury sustained by Sprinter Sacre and has made hay in chases in recent weeks. He has never won at this track before and his trainer purposely missed the festival last year due to concerns over his ability to handle the undulations. He has work to do in order to reverse course form with the likes of Captain Conan and Kid Cassidy.
Baily Green has reportedly schooled very well at home and it is worth remembering that he was second in this race last season.
He could prove to be the main threat to the selection if Mouse Morris has him in that same rich vein of form. Hinterland looks decent value given concerns over those at the head of the market and he has the ability to go close.
4-00 GLENFARCLAS HANDICAP CHASE (CROSS COUNTRY CHASE) – 3 M 7 F
Balthazar King seems to have been around forever, but he is still only a ten year old. He has a clear affinity for this racetrack having won four of his last five visits here. This has been his target all season and having scooped a win over the course and distance back in the Autumn he has to be high on any shortlist. Richard Johnson shall once again partner the Phillip Hobbs trained runner and he is likely to make it a war of attrition from the outset.
Big Shu was held up to see out the trip last season when winning this race and similar tactics are likely to be deployed once again. He blew away any cobwebs with a spin over an inadequate trip at Leopardstown last month and he is likely to have improved significantly for that run.
He does have youth on his side though and is still relatively lightly raced. He has to be the biggest danger to Balthazar King. Enda Bolger has a marvellous record in this race having won it four times since 2005.
Love Rory defeated Big Shu in that last race at Leopardstown but he is unproven over this stamina sapping trip. Balthazar King has been here and done it all before and the drying ground shall certainly be in his favour. His record shows that he goes well fresh and he has to have every chance.