RACING anorak Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) analyses the field for the opening race on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival, the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
1:30 Cheltenham | Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle | ITV1
The opener to Day 2 is the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and this is a race I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Partly because it’s generally won by a high-class novice, but mainly as it another chance to see the brilliant Samcro (8/11 BetBright) in action.
Next Destination (7/2 BetBright) is a very good novice hurdler. He was placed in the Champion Bumper and is now a Grade 1-winning hurdler from the red-hot Willie Mullins yard.
The fact he is available at 7/2 tells you the task he faces here, and though he is the most likely to challenge the winner, I would be surprised if he’s good enough to beat the favourite.
Samcro has the potential to be anything. He’s unbeaten, he’s started odds-on in every race and he’s looked better with each start. His trainer has made no secret of how highly he rates him and he expects this to be a stepping stone to greatness.
Yes he’s odds-on, yes the stable had a bad opening day, but I have backed him and I expect to see him win.
1:30 Cheltenham | Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Samcro to win (8/11 BetBright)