Keith Donoghue's Blog: Cheltenham Festival Day Two

By Keith Donoghue
 |  3 mins
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Keith Donoghue's Blog: Cheltenham Festival Day Two

It was great for the yard to get a winner today with Ravenhill doing the business under a brilliant ride. Abacadabras went very close under a great ride from Davy and it was a great surprise to see him handle the ground so well.

It's all about Tiger and Envoi tomorrow though!

Tip 1 - Envoi Allen - Ballymore Novices' Hurdle

I've been fancying this horse all year and that won't be changing today!

There is loads in here that will trouble him, especially Sporting John who I was really impressed with last time, but I think our lad will pass the test with flying colours.

His form has worked out very well and he crucially has festival experience from last season. Staying won't be a problem, neither will be the ground and he's one of the bankers of the week for the yard.

Darver Star and Abacadabras both franked his form and he should go very close!

Tip 2 - Minella Indo - RSA Novices' Chase

This is a proper race, and we run Battleoverdoyen here who has a lot to do really after a poor run last time.

He was running very well this season, but was really put in his place last time. I just hope he can perform here, as he didn't travel over well at all last year. If he does, he could go well on the ground, but he has a lot to do to win this.

Minella Indo looks the exact type you need to win this for me an d will take a lot of stopping. I know how much Dermot McLaughlin likes Captain CJ, and Minella Indo put him away easily enough. He has course experience and has a big chance.

Tip 3 - Franco De Port - Coral Cup

There's loads you could like in this race as always, and if Everybreathyoutake gets in here I'd be very interested in him. He goes well at home and a race like this could suit him at big odds.

Alfa Mix is well regarded, and has to be respected, but Franco De Port has a big reputation by all accounts and if the chat is right, he could be very well handicapped here. He has one of the best jockeys around on his back in Paul Townend and he should go close.

Tip 4 - Defi Du Seuil - Champion Chase

This could well be the race of the week and it's just great to see two brilliant horses face off like this, but it is a pity Altior misses out.

I just think Defi Du Seuil will prove the best of these. His form this season is rock solid and he has the two-mile master in Barry Geraghty on his back.

It can't be underestimated how good Chacun Pour Soi is a very good horse, but I think he will struggle against Defi. I know Chacun Pour Soi beat Defi Du Seuil at Punchestown, but horses coming from Cheltenham regularly get turned over at this meeting.

Tip 5 - Tiger Roll - Cross Country Chase

My whole week and season really have revolved around this race and I'm happy to report that Tiger Roll is in great form.

Ever since his run at Navan he has really woke up in his work and I'm very excited to ride him. I respect his challengers obviously as Easysland was brilliant last time in the Cross Country race here in December, and Might Bite will be interesting first time over the fences based on old form.

I just think though if he is really back to his best like I think he is then there isn't a horse in training who will beat him over these fences. I'd prefer if the ground dried up a bit, but he's handled this going before and hopefully his class will get him through,

Tip 6 - Tronador - Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Tronador is a horse I really like and I think he could be very well-in for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap.

He's a very tough horse who's learned his trade and this is exactly what you need in this race. He won well at Thurles and ran really well last time out at Navan in what was probably a better race than this. It's a very open race, but if I could pick one to ride here from the yard it would be him. He looks a big price in this.

He'll get blinkers on the day and they'll really sharpen him up too.

Tip 7 - Eskylane - Champion Bumper

Eskylane should go very well in the Champion Bumper, the more rain the better for him!

Appreciate It is a valid favourite, but he's very short for a Champion Bumper. This is traditionally a very tough race and the best horses don't always win it! A lot can go wrong as it's very tight there at times and I'd be wary of backing a shortie here.

I was shocked Eskylane was beaten first time out this season, I genuinely couldn't believe it as his work at home had been so good. He learned from that experience and was brilliant at Navan. He doesn't seem to have got enough praise for that and he could surprise a few here.

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Keith Donoghue is one of the top National Hunt jockeys in the world, famed for his partnership with Tiger Roll winning two Cross Country Chases at the Cheltenham Festival. Keith also boasts a Grade 1 winner over fences, and is a great writer to boot. Keith covered the day to day of being a jockey in his weekly blog exclusive to Bookmakers.

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