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Cheltenham Festival tips: Experts on best bets and 12 horses to watch on Wednesday

The Cheltenham Festival is well and truly underway and day one saw successes from much-fancied State Man in the Champion Hurdle and the pre-race favourite Gaelic Warrior in the Arkle Challenge Trophy.

It was a big day for jockey Paul Townend as he celebrated three triumphs, the third coming on Lossiemouth in the 16:10 Mares’ Hurdle.

On Wednesday, day two, seven races spanning the entire afternoon will have punters watching on in delighted fashion, with trainer Willie Mullins no doubt keen to see more of his winners come in.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

You can see the latest tip selections from James Boyle on Wednesday’s races here, while we’ve also got a collection of each-way bets for day two in the Novices Hurdle, Coral Cup and more. Finally, you can see our full preview and prediction for the Queen Mother Champions Chase, run at 3:30pm.

Stay up to date across the festival and get our free betting newsletter with the latest Cheltenham odds, offers and tips by signing up here, while you can also see our list of Cheltenham offers and free bets here.

Racing ambassadors Alex Hammond, Oli Bell and Ed Chamberlin spoke to Sky Bet about their Day 2 picks, while legendary former jockey Ruby Walsh shared his tips with Paddy Power.

13:30 – Novices’ Hurdle

Ed Chamberlin - Ballyburn: “Welcome to Cheltenham everybody, it’s damp and dreary but it’ll take more than that to dampen our spirits though. Particularly, as in the Gallagher hurdles, Sky Bet are being brave, Ballyburn is all the talk and he’s been price boosted. I think it’s going to take the world of beating in that race, the first race on Wednesday.”

Ruby Walsh - Ballyburn and Jimmy Du Seuil (each way): “Willie Mullins has plenty of runners in here and I’m a huge fan of Ballyburn. He’s a short price and a value pick could be Jimmy Du Seuil to be placed. He’s an each-way shout if eight runners line up.”

14:10 – Novices’ Steeple Chase

Oli Bell - Fact To File: “Ahead of day two at Cheltenham we’re in the Brown Advisory and I’m very sweet on the chances of Fact to File. He is a short-price favourite and there is a price boost with Sky Bet. I think he’s going to take a world of beating at the Brown Advisory, price boost on Sky Bet – get involved.”

Ruby Walsh - Fact To File: “Broadway Boy not running makes this a tougher task for Stay Away Fay. It’ll be a tricky ride for Harry Cobden against Fact To File and his chances have been enhanced. He’ll be too quick for the rest of these.”

14:50 – Coral Cup Hurdle

Alex Hammond - Shanbally Kid: “The Coral Cup is incredibly competitive, but Sky Bet are paying eight places rather than four, which brings my selection right into it. I think the price of Shanbally Kid is one to keep onside, hopefully he won’t mind the ground. He’s a horse who hasn’t stayed three miles, hasn’t enjoyed his only start over fences, so I think dropping back to this trip and the handicap has taken a bit of a chance with him. Shanbally Kid is the one for me in the Coral Cup.”

Ruby Walsh - First Street (each way): “I’m with First Street for Nicky Henderson. He’s on a respectable mark and he’s a decent each-way price. Sa Majeste is good but I can’t be taking him at a short price.”

15:30 – Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase

Ed Chamberlin - Edwardstone: “The Champions Chase is going to be a cracker. Sir Anthony McCoy always says it’s his favourite race at the meeting. El Fabiolo is the hot favourite, but I do think Edwardstone will give you a good run for your money, I hope he goes from the front again like he did at Newbury. El Fabiolo might be far too good, but I do see Edwardstone running a big race.”

Ruby Walsh - Jonbon (each way): “It’s El Fabiolo v Jonbon again. I’m siding with Jonbon at the prices with El Fabiolo being so short. Nicky Henderson’s runner is the only other horse in the race that can win.

16:10 – Cross Country Steeple Chase

Oli Bell - Coko Beach: “This Cross Country is more open than most because you’ve got a few question marks about a couple of the regulars, prolific winners and place-getters. There are extra places that Sky Bet are offering in the Cross Country and I think that’s good this year because it wouldn’t be a massive shock if a horse at a big price was to win it and turn over one of the bigger names in the race. My horse that I think will run very well is Coko Beach, a grey horse who won over the banks earlier this season and looked to really thrive in the discipline because it’s a unique race compared to some of the other races we see during the week. So, Coko Beach is a horse I’m very sweet on and I think he’ll serve it up to some of the big names in the Cross Country this year.”

Ruby Walsh - Coko Beach: “The soft ground has put me off Galvin and I’m with Gordon Elliott’s other runner Coko Beach instead. He’s been running really well and he’ll relish the testing ground.”

16:50 – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase Challenge Cup

Alex Hammond - Libberty Hunter: “Sky Bet are paying six places rather than four in the Grand Annual and I’m a big fan of a horse called Libberty Hunter. He is going to relish the underfoot conditions and he’s probably unlucky to not be unbeaten over the fences as he fell on his chasing debut, but has won twice since, including beating a horse called Matata at Cheltenham. I think that form can be good enough so I’m going for Liberty Hunter in the Grand Annual, good luck.”

Ruby Walsh - Libberty Hunter and Saint Roi: “I’m being greedy and having two picks: Libberty Hunter and Saint Roi. The latter has run well for Willie Mullins and I was really impressed with Libberty Hunter in his last two wins.”

17:30 – Champion Bumper

Ed Chamberlin - Quebecois: “I’m delighted to see Sky Bet paying five places rather than three in the Bumper because it looks so hard this year. There isn’t a standout, so many Mullins contenders, I hope Daryl Jacobs goes close, but the horse I back is a horse called Quebecois, for the Nicholls team. Paul Nicholls doesn’t waste runners in the Bumper and Megan says he’s pretty done.”

Ruby Walsh - Argento Boy: “I’ve been with Argento Boy for a while and I’m not deserting him. He’ll stay well and he’ll enjoy the going. He’s a good each-way shout.”