Rob Wright's Cheltenham tips: Altior can triumph on day two

Rob Wright's Cheltenham tips: Altior can triumph on day two

The first day of the Cheltenham festival is chalked down, and with three cards to go in the biggest week of the national hunt season, there's still a feast in store for racing fans.

Trainer Nicky Henderson expressed relief after Buveur D'Air banished nagging doubt over his ability to win under pressure by retaining his Champion Hurdle title at the Cheltenham Festival.

Brilliant though Douvan was - and Mullins once described the 2016 Arkle Trophy victor as "like another species" - it is perhaps asking a little too much of the now 10-year-old to come back after a full year off with injuries and various niggles to win the biggest prize in his calendar.

Race victor Buveur D'Air ridden by Barry Geraghty, foreground, clears the last hurdle alongside Melon, ridden by Paul Townend, as they race to finish-line in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham England Tuesday March 13.

While Willie Mullins missed out in the Champion Chase, the prolific Irish trainer took his tally of the winners for the week to five with a double.

Buveur D'Air is the sixth horse to win the Champion Hurdle a few times. Two years ago, we saw seven horses lose their lives during the highly anticipated racing festival.

"He's not had a battle this year but this was a proper race and that showed his class".

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"Buveur D'Air is a young horse who's done everything right".

Last year's Gold Cup victor, Sizing John, was ruled out of the race earlier in the season making ante post favourites for this year's Gold Cup Mite Bite, Our Duke and Native river, consecutively.

"I'm just trying to keep up with Nicky", he joked. "I thought we had it all to do after the last but it was his strength that got us through".

"This hasn't been easy and yesterday was as bad as it gets", Henderson said.

"God willing we'll be trying again next year".

There has been an outpour of support for the 38-year-old jockey and Paddy Power, which Walsh is a brand ambassador for, have said that they will pay out anyone that backed Walsh to be top jockey at the festival.

"People are saying it has got to come to an end and I say if you can predict that you should go get yourself a lottery ticket". "He really dug deep and was a scrapper today". The ground made it the ultimate test.