Cheltenham Festival – Wednesday’s 48 Hour Declarations
The second day of the Cheltenham Festival promises to be a highly competitive and good quality affair with the Queen Mother Champion Chase taking centre-stage.
11 runners were confirmed for the race on Monday morning at the 48-hour declaration stage but the Gordon Elliot trained, Clarcam, who is also entered in the Arkle Novices’ Chase on Tuesday, is unlikely to contest the race.
That defection would leave a field of 10 runners for the 2m Championship Chase event likely to be headed by highest rated runner in the field, Sprinter Sacre, closely followed by last year’s Champion Chaser – Sire De Grguy.
Other notable entrants include; this season’s Tingle Creek and Clarence House Chase winner, Dodging Bullets, the talented and reformed character, Mr Mole, and the well-fancied Champagne Fever.
The opening race of the day is the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle which has a field of 28 runners left but is expected to cut up considerably with a number of runners holding multiple Festival entries.
Those more likely to run include the main ante-post protagonists; the pair of Willie Mullins favourites, Nichols Canyon and Outlander, the John Ferguson trained, Parlour Games, and the Dermot Weld runner, Windsor Park.
A similar story applies to the other Grade 1 contest on Day 2, the RSA Novices’ Chase. 14 remain but the likes of Very Wood, who has been declared to run in the Toby Balding National Hunt Chase on Tuesday, and Coneygree, who could still opt for the Gold Cup, will reduce the field size.
Nonetheless, the other market principles remain with Don Poli and Kings Palace leading the field, ably supported by the likes of The Young Master and Southfield Theatre.