Good morning and welcome to coverage of day two of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. Given the going, early rain and wind, it confounded expectations by being an absorbing day, one where stamina, tenacity and courage triumphed over pedigree and speed. It was also, one has to say, the kind of day bookies dream about with only the one favourite romping home, and that in the lottery Novices’ Handicap Chase.
There has been an awful lot of numpty comment about polluting social media about the fall of Benie Des Dieux at the last in the Mares’ Hurdle, as there was when Ruby Walsh was also dismounted four years ago on Annie Power. Disappointment is natural when an overwhelming favourite falls and both those mares were cash machines on four legs for punters but criticism of Walsh is not only unedifying and foolish, it’s libellous.