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25th April 2024 3:43 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

Cheltenham Festival Day 3

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

DAY 3: THURSDAY 14 MARCH

13:30 THE TURNERS NOV. CHASE (G1) 2m 4f Chase

ZANAHIYR has had a good season so far with two decent graded runs before converting to Chasing. His debut saw him run into Fact To File, and his poor jumping didn’t aid his cause – but he did have Minella Cocooner 26l in third. 4th in the 2021 Triumph Hurdle and third in the last two Champion Hurdles (13l 3rd to Constitution Hill and again at Aintree 3½l). With a decent round of jumping, he could well make the podium from his 22/1 mark. IROKO (Olly Greenall & Josh Guerriero) recovered far more quickly than predicted from a November foot injury which was at first thought to be season-ending. The J.P. McManus-owned six-year-old had entries in this and the Arkle and has had no prep race, and while his lack of fencing experience isn’t ideal, he jumped so well at the Midlands track it shouldn’t be an issue. the team are very bullish. GREY DAWNING has produced two breathtaking performances over fences this winter beating Cheltenham Festival winner Gaillard Du Mesnil (rated 156) by nine and a half lengths in a Graduation chase at Haydock’s Betfair Chase meeting (2m 5f) in November. Leading before halfway, the grey jumped superbly before maintaining a solid gallop to win impressively.

Dutch IROKO and GREY DAWNING 7 pts – ZANAHIYR 2 pts e/w

14:10 THE PERTEMPS NETWORK FINAL (HCAP) 3m Hurdle

HECTOR JAVELIX did just enough to qualify for the Final last year in a Qualifier at Huntingdon but ran an absolute stinker in March but I have kept him on my radar this year to see if a repeat bid was on the cards. He began his season with connections trying their luck in a tricky novice handicap over fences where he finished a distant fourth. Still, he seemed to relish a return to hurdles on his next start when trying to qualify once again for the Pertemps Final. He went up to Musselburgh for their qualifier and moved into the race going nicely only to find himself outpaced slightly before running on again strongly to take 3rd in the final strides and book his ticket for the final. It looked an excellent run and a welcome return to form just in time for his second attempt at the race. ICARE ALLEN is the only runner in the race for Willie Mullins, and it looks like the plan has been for some time. The lack of a prep run isn’t a concern as they likely wanted to protect his mark after he’d qualified for the race in November. Proven over the trip, running well at Aintree last time, he can put in an improved performance and should go very close to winning. He has a rating of 142, for which he is at a top price of 10/1. He has been saved for this race since he qualified when finishing third at Aintree back in November and he was rated 3lbs higher when down the field in the County Hurdle here last spring. This is a competitive contest but there is much to like about his profile. He has won twice on soft ground. CLEATUS POOLAW looks as though he has been laid out for this, and LE MILOS, too, has major chances – especially given the form Dan Skelton is in.  My guess is he has primed up this Grand National entry for a huge run here, racing off a mark which is 8lbs below his chase rating. The 2022 Coral Gold Cup winner has only run four times since and twice this season, only having to beat one home in a five-horse qualifier at Market Rasen back in November. He was a 66/1 shot for an extended two-mile-three-furlong handicap hurdle at Ascot so I’d read absolutely nothing into his no-show there and expect an entirely different proposition here. GABBYS CROSS is well handicapped on his qualifier earlier in the season at Punchestown and has been laid out for this contest since.

LE MILOS 3 pts win – HECTOR JAVELIX 3 pts e/w 6 places.

14:50 THE RYANAIR CHS. (G1) 2m 4½f Chase

The best horse on the trends is FUGITIF who is a CD winner. He has improved in every race, and he arrives in top form, having won the December Gold Cup Handicap last December and then finishing staying on third in the re-arranged Clarence House on Cheltenham Trials Day over 2 miles, just six lengths behind Jonbon. That win at the course last December was just one in a series of excellent runs in Grade 3 handicap company at Cheltenham during the previous two seasons (22241). These types have done well in the RyanAir in the past, and having shown he can mix it with the best in Grade 1 class, he does look a massive price at 20/1 to go well in a Festival race that usually cuts up in field size quite markedly. It’s currently his only entry at the Festival and I think the trainer will favour this race over a return to handicapping after that very encouraging prep run last time out. I can’t be having AHOY SENOR, but I do like the look of ENVOI ALLEN who on paper should win this easily. He looked as good as ever when just touched off by Gerri Colombe in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase and has since had his season revolving around his title defence. That makes lots of sense – he has an excellent record fresh – and with his yard already in the winners this week, everything looks in place for a huge run. CAPODANNO and GA LAW both have strong podium claims.

ENVOI ALLEN to beat CAPODANNO, GA LAW and FUGITIF 3 x 1 pt SFC – FUGITIF 3 pts e/w – GA LAW – 3 pts e/w

15:30 THE PADDY POWER STAYERS’ HURDLE (G1) 3m Hurdle

The rain has come at the right time for last year’s third and favourite TEAHUPOO. The softer the ground, the better, and the 7-year-old is the one to beat on paper. Sadly, he’s too short a price, and this can be a very tactical race – hence so many shock results! Stablemate SIRE DU BERLAIS was a surprise winner of last year’s race. He’ll be sharper for last month’s belated seasonal reappearance, and this is his time of year, but he’s a 12-year-old now. ASTERION FORLONGE has simply too much good form for a 40/1 shot and I have to have a little of that on sheer greed terms. Gavin Cromwell didn’t confirm FLOORING PORTER for the National Hunt Chase on the Tuesday of the Festival, leaving the Stayers’ Hurdle as his only option. He has a working man’s price and decent form. However, the most likely winner for me is NOBLE YEATS who won the Cleeve Hurdle by a head from Paisley Park – always a useful trial for this.

NOBLE YEATS 4 pts Win – FLOORING POIRTER 3 pts e/w – ASTERION FORLONGE 1½pts e/w

16:10 THE TRUSTATRADER PLATE HCAP 2m 4½f Chase

SHAKEM UP’ARRY 4 pts e/w

16:50 THE RYANAIR MARES NOV. HURDLE (G2) 2m 1f Hurdle

What a waste of Levy Board Money.

No Bet

17:30 THE FULKE WALWYN KIM MUIR CHALLENGE CUP HCAP CHS. (0-145)          3m 2f Chase

COOL SURVIVOR, after his disappointing Martin Pipe last year, looks set for a good run of his current mark, and he has finished well behind the likes of Gaelic Warrior and Embassy Gardens earlier this season, and his last run at the DRF behind Heart Wood was really eye-catching. WHERE IT ALL BEGAN, will love the underfoot conditions. He is lightly raced, has the best amateur jockey in Ireland in Barry O’Neill and has arguably the best form in the race, having gone all of 16 lengths clear of the very well-treated We’llhavewan in the Grand National Trial.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN 5 pts e/w –  COOL SURVIVOR 4 pts e/w

 

 

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