Where already onto day three of the festival and the action switches from the Old Course to the New Course. There are three Grade 1’s, one Grade 2 and three handicaps for punters to get stuck into today.
There was plenty of rain at Cheltenham on Wednesday and more is forecast for Thursday. The New Course shouldn’t as testing as the Old Course but it’s still likely to be soft.
The Thursday of the Cheltenham Festival is usually my biggest betting day of the week, and this year is no exception. The reason is it’s the one day which has three handicaps.
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Indeed its going to be biggest betting day of the year so far and will in all likelihood decide whether a profit or not is made at this year's festival.
Day 2 Highlights
Impaire Et Passe got the card underway with an impressive success in the Ballymore. In the process he made a good horse in Gaelic Warrior look ordinary. The winner doesn’t lack pace and won’t be inconvenienced by a drop back to 2m. You can see Willie Mullins training him for next year’s Champion Hurdle. It’s a long way out but the 7/1 available looks value if you knew Constitution Hill was going chasing.
The winner had been talking horse of the festival circuit was returned a rather generous 5/2 after plenty of support for the Paul Nicholls trained Hermes Allen. The market got it badly wrong asthe Nicholls horse blew out.
Willie Mullins saddled the first three home and another Irish runner Good Land was fourth. Just like yesterday’s Supreme it was terrible race for the home trained horses.
Gerri Colombe lost his unbeaten record to The Real Whacker in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase. The winner who’s previous two wins have come at the track, jumped well out in front and he was only looked in trouble in the 110yds with Gerri Colombe making relentless progress up the hill. There was just a short head between the pair at the line and in another stride the favourite would have got up. The favourites jumping just let him down at a couple of fences at crucial stages. However, he remains a nice prospect for next season when he brushes up his jumping.
It was a great result for a small yard and winner for Yorkshire. The Real Whacker did me a favour last time, but I didn’t back him this time and I’m not sure why given how good a jumper he is.
A Dream To Share
Energumene joined some two mile chase greats by winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase for a second time. Well backed before the race, jumping and travelling better than he done last time. He soared the last but by then he had the race in the bag. In truth his win was never in doubt. Especially as his main market rival Edwardstone was never really travelling from the start. The soft ground really suited the winner, and he must have great chance of equally Badsworth’s Boy three wins in the race.
The good form of the Henry De Bromhead stable was in evidence with Captain Guinness’s runner-up effort. Coming two out he looked a danger to Energumene but he couldn’t live with the winner after a slight mistake two out.
Willie Mullins three ten darts at the Champion Bumper but it was my fancy A Dream To Share who landed the winners first prize. The winner might be flat bred but he's already a big contender for next year's Supreme if he takes to hurdles. I was slightly concerned about the ground for the 5-year-old.
Cheltenham Festival – Day 3
The action gets underway with the Grade 1 Turners Novices' Chase (1:30). My sole live ante post bet Appreciate It advised at 12/1 is set to run. Mind you he does face for what many punters will be their bet of the week Mighty Potter. I’m happy to be on Appreciate It at 12/1 but at 4/1 I'm not so sure. The problem is Mighty Potter could have a big class advantage over his rivals.
Shishkin bounced back to his best when winning the Grade 1 Ascot Chase last month. If he backs up his effort here, then he’s going to be tough to beat in the Ryanair Chase (2:50). Janidil was runner-up in the race 12 months ago and looks set to occupy the same spot again.
It looks a much more competitive Stayers Hurdle (3:30) than the previous two years. Flooring Porter has won the last two renewals of the race. However, he hasn’t had the smoothest preparations this season and will find it tough in his hat trick bid. His old rival Klassical Dream was sent off favourite for this 12 month ago but wasn’t quite at his best that day but I can see going better this time around.
Luccia is going to be a warm order in the Grade 2 Jack De Bromhead Mares' Novices' Hurdle (4:50) now she could be superstar in the making but she’s plenty short enough. Magical Zoe trained Henry De Bromhead would be the feel good winner of race run in the memory of the trainers son. We haven’t seen Magical Zoe since she won at Down Royal in November, but this has likely been the plan.
Cheltenham Festival Stats – Day 3
Here are a few day three stats.
Nine of the last ten winners of the Ryanair Chase were returned 8/1 & under- 9 winners from 40 runners, 18 placed.
Eight of the last ten winners were officially rated 165+ – 8 winners from 29 runners +3.32, 14 placed.
Eight of the last ten winners of the Stayers Hurdle were aged six or seven – 8 winners from 58 runners +60.88, 17 placed.
Nine of the last ten winners had 1 to 3 previous runs at the track – 9 winners from 63 runners +54.38, 16 placed.
Kim Muir Handicap Chase
Eight of the last ten winners of the Kim Muir were aged seven or eight and officially rated 137 to 143 – 8 winners from 66 runners +40.5, 21 placed.
Cheltenham Scoop 6/Placepot
1:30 – Appreciate It
2:10 – Mill Green, Salvador Ziggy & Good Time Johnny
2:50 – Shishkin
3:30 – Gold Tweet & Klassical Dream
4:10 – Fugitif & Midnight River
4:50 – Magical Zoe.
Good luck with your Cheltenham bets.