Cheltenham Festival tips: Simon Holt Wednesday bets

Simon Holt is backing Santini in the 2.10
Simon Holt is backing Santini in the 2.10

Top commentator Simon Holt had a 10/1 winner and 100/1 place on day one - don't miss his day two bets for the Cheltenham Festival.

WITH Altior likely to take all the beating at cramped odds in his defence of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday, his stable-mate SANTINI could be the best bet on the card in the RSA Chase.

This knockout specimen looks made for staying chases and, after his winning chasing debut at Newbury, he went into many notebooks as a strong candidate for this race when an eye-catching third behind La Bague Au Roi and Topofthegame in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The flat, right-handed course that day proved far from ideal for Santini who, having become outpaced from four out, then kept on in taking fashion in the closing stages.

He needs to reverse the form with the runner-up here who looked certain to win until worried out of it by a very smart mare, and the giant Topofthegame and unbeaten Irish chaser Delta Work, winner of the Pertemps Final at this meeting 12 months ago, are both sure to provide big threats.

But this race, which has so often been a grind in the past, appeals as the perfect test for the selection.

On what could be a great day for the Nicky Henderson team, CHAMP looks another leading contender in the opening Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

Named after A P McCoy, the seven-year-old has won four of his five starts over hurdles (beaten only by the tough Vinndication at Ascot last January) and has been able to keep beating all rivals despite a tendency to race freely.

It was remarkable how Champ won so easily at Newbury two outings ago despite pulling hard all the way, but he looked a bit more relaxed subsequently when justifying favouritism in the Challow Hurdle on the same course.

He looks to have a bit of class.

In the Coral Cup, VISION DES FLOS can continue his excellent form this season.

Sixth to Samcro in last year's Ballymore on this day, Colin Tizzard's gelding was a good second over two-and-a-half miles behind Wholestone at Aintree in October since when he has mostly competed over an inadequate two miles including when second to Buveur D'Air at Sandown and when third to Grand Sancy in the Kingwell at Wincanton.

A step up in distance was rewarded with a deserved victory in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell last time, and a mid-season wind operation seems to have improved him a bit more.

Genuine, consistent and sure to be suited by this trip, Vision Des Flos could be difficult to keep out of the frame.

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