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Cheltenham Preview – Day 3

Day 3 of the festival promises to be an emotion packed day. The action kicks off at 13:30 and if the unbelievable happened and Faugheen, at the grand old age of 12, was to win the roof would come off of Cheltenham. Imagine if Byrony Frost won again on Frodon and Paisley Park then followed up a couple of hours later for its blind owner Andrew Gemmell! There wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. Our tips on Day 2 saw two winners and four 2nd’s and hopefully Day 3 is as lucky again.

For those who haven’t got time to read the entire preview here’s the tips:

13:30 The Marsh Novices – Itchy Feet Win 4/1, Samcro Win in the Without Favourite Market 5/2

14:10 Pertemps – Welsh Saint Win 6/1, Relegate Each Way 7/1, Sire Du Berlais Each Way 8/1

14:50 Ryanair Chase – A Plus Tard Win 2/1

15:30 Stayers Hurdle – Paisley Park Win 8/13, Emitom in the Without Favourite market 5/1, Apples Jade Each Way 18/1

16:10 Plate – Simply The Betts Win 10/3, La Bague Au Roi in the Without Favourite Market 8/1, Clondaw Castle 25/1 EW

16:50 Mares Novices – Minella Melody Win 3/1, Concertista in the Without Favourite Market 5/2

17:30 Kim Muir – Champagne Platinum Win 9/2, Kilfilum Cross 14/1 Each Way


The first race of the day is The Marsh Novices’ Chase and had this blog post been written an hour ago there’s no doubt the two we’d have been picking would have been Itchy Feet, the Supreme Novices 3rd from last year and Faugheen, who beat Samcro so well two starts ago. Itchy Feet impressed in the Grade 1 chase last time out winning a shade cosily and he’s a Cheltenham type of horse whilst Faugheen has looked a horse reborn this season since going chasing. However… can’t ignore the HUGE gamble going on on Samcro in the last couple of hours where Gordon Elliot’s star from two years ago has seen his price drop from 6/1 into 7/2 and still seems to be dropping. Sometimes it’s wise to ignore the market but when signals are this strong it’d be folly to ignore. Of the others Mister Fisher arrives on a hat trick and is seriously impressive in his own right but there’s questions over the horses he’s beaten whilst Melon and Reserve Tank are both very attractive each way options where the former has placed in Champion Hurdles twice whilst the latter won so well at Aintree last year.

Go Sporting Tip – Itchy Feet Win 4/1, Samcro in the Without Favourite Market 5/2

The 2.10 sees the first of a few handicaps for the day and the winner looks like it will come from the first 4 or 5 in the betting. The favourite, The Storyteller, was eyecatching when qualifying for this race by finishing 6th at Leopardstown and he has won a Grade 1 chase before. Before this season however he’d spent the last few years chasing so there’s a slight doubt about his hurdling. Welsh Saint has been well backed and Nicky Henderson is having an outstanding festival. He won his handicap debut impressively and was only hit by a 4lb rise and will likely go close. One that has taken our eye is the Champion Bumper winner Relegate. There are signs that he’s returning to form and he clearly likes Cheltenham so at a decent price he’s one to think about and would be 3rd on our shortlist. Last years winner Sire Du Berlais teams up for winning pair Barry Geraghty and JP McManus. He endured a torrid passage last year but somehow still came on top to win. He actually traded at 999/1 in play. He is 7lbs higher this time round and not done anything this season to suggest he’ll be troubling the judge but then his form figures before last years win were 8/9, 8/13, 6/23 so rule him out at your peril.

Go Sporting Tip – Welsh Saint Win 6/1, Sire De Berlais Each Way 8/1. Relegate Each Way 7/1.

The 2.50 is the Ryanair Chase as was the scene of one of the highlights of the week last year as Bryony Frost steered Frodon to victory beating off the gallant Aso. Both are set to do battle again but this time we feel it will be for minor money as this years renewal looks a more competitive affair with A Plus Tard heading the market and he proved himself to be top class when winning at Chrismas and beating Chacun Pour Soi. He will have to beat Min however who always seems to be the bridesmaid at Cheltenham but that may have more to do with Altior’s ability than Min’s failings. It is sure to be a ding dong battle but we think A Plus Tard is the real deal and will just edge it. Riders on the storm has improved since joining Nigel Twiston Davies and he is probably booked for 3rd with Aso 4th.

Go Sporting Tip – A Plus Tard Win 7/4

The feature race of the day is the Stayers Hurdle and features the best staying hurdler of the last two years – Paisley Park. Paisley Park’s progression has been incredible and Emma Lavelle really seems to have found the key to him. If anything he’s got better this season. He gave Thistlecrack 7lbs at Newbury and dealt with him comfortably whilst also winning the Cleeve Hurdle. He’s now won his last 7 races and the confidence behind him is clear when the 2nd in the betting is a 9/1 shot in Summerville Boy who won the Supreme 2 years ago and has looked to improve from the step up in trip. Emitom looks a horse on the up and won well last time out whilst last year’s Ballymore winner City Island reverts back to hurdling and has had wind surgery. Two other names to add to the mix are two time winner Penhill who has run more than usual this campaign and Apples Jade who looks a massive price at 18/1 especially if she can find some of her old sparkle.

Go Sporting Tip – Paisley Park Win 8/13, Emitom in the Without Favourite market 5/1, Apples Jade Each Way 18/1

The 4.10 sees one of the big gambles of the week and that’s Harry Whittington’s stable star Simply the Betts who won a useful novice over course and distance (on soft ground) and that race has seen the 3rd placed horse win and the 2nd placed horse winning on Tuesday (Imperial Aura). The form is rock solid and we can’t see him getting beaten unless he falls. La Bague Au Roi is a very classy filly and wouldn’t have looked out of place in yesterday’s Champion Chase and she’s on a handy mark. Whilst last year’s winner Siruh Du Lac has been popular in the betting but has been put up 7lbs for his win. One at a price that we like is last years Arkle 3rd Clondaw Castle who won a useful race at Warwick last time out.

Go Sporting Tip – Simply The Betts Win 10/3, La Bague Au Roi in the Without Favourite Market 8/1, Clondaw Castle 25/1 EW

The Mares Novices hurdle is a new race and last year the first 3 home came in at 66/1, 33/1 and 66/1 and we’re hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself! We believe it is between two and they are Minella Melody who is 3 from 3 over hurdling and Rachel Blackmore will be hoping that she can win on another Henry De Bromhead mare. Minella Melody has already beaten many of today’s rivals and looks certain to do so again. One that has been back that we like the look of is Willie Mullins’ Concertista who came second in this race last year and looked back to form last time out.

Go Sporting Tip – Minella Melody Win 3/1, Concertista in the Without Favourite Market 5/2

The final race on the card is The Kim Muir which is run over the extended three miles. It’s a race for amateur riders and the first place to start for any amateur race is who is Jamie Codd riding (who won on Tuesday as well and had a 3 timer last year). His mount is Le Breuil who won last year over four miles and his rider…Jamie Codd. He’d have an excellent chance again but you wonder if three miles will be a little sharp. One who has been well supported all week is another JP McManus horse and that’s Champagne Platinum who caught the eye staying on in a novice last time and would have a real chance if his jumping holds up. Deise Aba is on a three timer and did it nicely last time at Sandown. He’s up another 3lbs but he’s unexposed and would have a good chance. Kilfilum Cross was runner up in this last year and returned to form well last time out and is sure to go well again.

Go Sporting Tip – Champagne Platinum Win 9/2, Kilfilum Cross 14/1 Each Way