Cheltenham Races, Thursday March 12th, day three of the Festival, Stayers’ Hurdle day
Previews by Will Reilly
****Wednesday was a good day with four winners – Envoi Allen (4/7), Champ (4/1), Easysland (3/1) and Ferny Hollow (11/1) – from selections made in six races, while Saint d’Oroux finished third at 14/1
Good luck today if you’re getting involved.
A summary of today’s tips can be found at the bottom of the page
Day three of the Festival and the feature race is the Stayers’ Hurdle at 3:30pm, which was won last year by Paisley Park and he has looked as good as ever as he returns to defend his crown. If you’re looking for each-way value then Penhill, who is unbeaten in two runs at Cheltenham and won this race in 2018, could be the one.
The card starts at 1:30pm with the Marsh Novices’ Chase, in which the remarkable Faugheen, who is now a 12-year-old, will bid to win an 18th race, which include Cheltenham Festival successes in the 2014 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and the 2015 Champion Hurdle. Nicknamed ‘The Machine’, he is a legend of the sport and hugely popular. Stable companion Melon, runner-up in a Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and two Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham Festivals, is among his opponents. This race has been run nine times and Ireland has won seven times.
2:10pm – The Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle
Last year’s winner Sire Du Berlais, who will race in blinkers for the first time, heads the weights and will face 23 opponents. Ireland has won the last four renewals of this race. Davy Russell has won three of the last four and he didn’t ride in the race last year! He rides The Storyteller today, who won two years ago over fences at the Festival.
2:50pm – Ryanair Chase
Frodon and Bryony Frost are back to defend their crowns. Bryony’s post-race interview last year would surely have moved the hardest of hearts. Was ever a frost received so warmly? Leopardstown Christmas Festival Grade 1 winner A Plus Tard heads the betting for trainer Henry de Bromhead, who landed the Arkle Chase on Tuesday with Put The Kettle On. Last year’s Arkle winner, Duc Des Genievres, and Min will represent Willie Mullins.
4:10pm – Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase
With 24 runners, it’s another competitive race to solve. Ireland has won this in three of the last four years. Seven of the last eleven winners have been returned at 16/1 or bigger. Only one of the last ten winners carried more than 11st to success.
4:50pm – Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (the Dawn Run Hurdle)
Henry de Bromhead has the favourite here with Minella Melody, who will be bidding for a fourth-successive career victory. Willie Mullins has four runners and he has won all four runnings of this race so far.
5:30pm – The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase
Top amateur Jamie Codd has won this race twice in the last five years, three in the last nine and four in the last eleven. He rides Le Breuil today and he rode him to victory in the National Hunt Chase at last year’s Festival.
1:30pm – Mister Fisher: The Henderson-De Boinville axis is a potent force these days
2:10pm – My two against the field are The Storyteller, who is undoubtedly well-handicapped based on his chasing form of two years ago, and Skandiburg, who is on an upward curve of improvement
2:50pm – Frodon: Frost and Frodon can warm Cheltenham like they did in this race last year
3:30pm – Paisley Park: He is the best staying hurdler in Britain or Ireland
4:10pm – I fancy Blazer to go well
4:50pm – In the Honeysuckle colours of Kenneth Alexander, Minella Melody holds a favourite’s chance. Take your pick from Willie Mullins’ four, with Colreevy, who doesn’t lack for experience, the choice of Paul Townend, although he would not have been able to ride Concertista as Daryl Jacob is retained jockey for the owners
5:30pm – Plan Of Attack should go well in a bid to deny Jamie Codd yet another win in this race