Cheltenham Chatter – Day 2

With the Festival now in full-swing, what are Wednesday’s whispers?

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Henderson Happy Enough

Nicky Henderson was happy with Altior’s somewhat workmanlike victory, in Tuesday’s Arkle. He also felt vindicated in avoiding a clash with Douvan, at least for now.

“He’s done what he was supposed to do. Nico (de Boinville) says you always go through a moment where you have to go click click, the same as when Noel (Fehily) rode him at Sandown, when he went away from Charbel after the last.

“We knew he’d come up the hill. He’s very, very good and there’s a lot to look forward to. Nico said there was a right good gallop all the way and the time looks pretty smart and he’s jumped very well. Just for a moment you have to say ‘come on, we’re off’ but he’s quickened up well up the hill.

“No doubt Douvan will will come here tomorrow and go round in an even faster time. I’ve got nothing to throw at him, he’ll win.

“It will be great clash when the times comes but I think we’ve done the right thing (by Altior) this year. I hope nobody says we are wet not doing it (taking him on) this season. It seemed a crazy thing to do with a novice when you don’t have to.”.

Sandra Looks To The Skies

Sandra Hughes knows she has a real talent on her hands, in the shape of RSA hopeful Acapella Bourgeois. She’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts, though.

“The ground is a big key to him. He just goes on really heavy, testing ground. His jumping was superb… We knew that when he went chasing he’d show how good he was”.

Russell Putting Day 1 Disappointment Behind Him

Davy Russell drew a blank, on Tuesday, but the Cork jockey has more good rides to look forward to and won’t dwell upon missed opportunities.

“That’s over and done with. A brand new day now – another go. That’s the beauty of being a jockey. If you have a couple of rides over here, you know you can get another go”.

Russell will be on-board Top Gamble, in the Champion Chase today.

“I’ll try and keep the thought-process to a minimum if I can. I try not to complicate things. It’s still a two-mile race. It was the same distance as the Arkle yesterday, and it’s the same distance as other races later in the week”.

Politologue Gets Nicholls’ Vote

Paul Nicholls faces the prospect of being somewhat overshadowed, by both Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson, at this year’s Festival. Both have hit the ground running, but Nicholls sees the JLT as a great opportunity for his 6-year-old inmate Politologue.

“He’s very well and he goes for the JLT after a good preparation. He has a leading chance. We always thought he would make into a nice chaser and he did really well from run to run.

“He jumps very nicely and is rated 152, which is a real smart mark for a novice over fences. Cheltenham has been the aim all season. We’ve got lots with chances but not many with mega-obvious chances. It’s no different to last year.

“I haven’t really got those Grade One horses to run but we did well last year with three handicap wins. If you have three winners every Cheltenham Festival then you are doing alright.”.

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