The second card at this year’s Cheltenham Festival provides punters with a series of short-priced favourites to latch onto.

There will be plenty backing the Samcro (Ballymore), Altior (Champion Chase), Cause Of Causes (Cross Country) treble but the latter of that trio looks a shade vulnerable to his stable-mate Tiger Roll and is worth opposing at around the 9/4 mark.

Gordon Elliott’s Cause Of Causes is bidding to win at the Festival for a fourth year in a row after success in the National Hunt Chase, the Kim Muir and – most recently – in this race 12 months ago, taking superbly well to the unique test of the cross-country course before powering clear up the hill.

Enda Bolger sends his usual battalions over but it’s last year’s National Hunt Chase winner Tiger Roll who is overpriced at 6-1.

A hugely talented individual – who tends to throw in an off-day – Tiger Roll made a promising debut over the cross-country fences at Cheltenham in December, jumping nicely but finding himself a little out-paced approaching the turn-in.

Crucial to his chances is the fact he’s since been back – with Cause Of Causes – for schooling over the specialist fences, a tactic which paid dividends for Elliott a year ago, and if he’s on a going day then Cause Of Causes may find the young pretender too hot to handle.

Paul Nicholls has an excellent record in the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle (4.50) which may just be extended with Act Of Valour, who may be getting in lightly off a mark of 136.

The juvenile was an impressive winner on hurdling debut at Newcastle, jumping slickly, before disappointing at Doncaster on his second start, although he may have just bounced running just 14 days after his prior success. Given a nice 50-day break, Act Of Valour produced a much-improved display at Musselburgh when beaten just four lengths by leading Triumph fancy We Have A Dream. That was a step back in the right direction and there’s every chance Nicholls was eyeing a tilt at Cheltenham when seeing that opening mark of 136.

Nicholls has had 16 runners in the past eight renewals of this contest, producing three winners and four seconds in what is always a hugely competitive race – often with a strong British challenge thrown down – and it’s a record that simply cannot be ignored. If Adrian Heskin can remain prominent - in what can turn into a rough race – I can very much envisage Act Of Valour travelling better than plenty of these and staying on up the hill to give Nicholls a stunning fourth win in the past nine renewals.

Day 2 selections

1.30: Samcro

2.10: Presenting Percy (nb)

2.50: Sire Du Berlais

3.30: Altior

4.10: Tiger Roll

4.50: Act Of Valour (nap)

5.30: Tornado Flyer