Cheltenham Festival Day 3 Preview

March 13, 2014

With two winners and two places on the first two days we are not down money but we need a day to make some so here is todays play.

Thursday Sprinter Sacre

1.30 JLT Novices Chase 2 mile 4 furlongs

There is no doubt Felix Yonger  4-1, will take a lot of beating in this race. He brings in the best known form from the best Festival partnership for some time, however it would be wrong to ignore the claims of Wonderful Charm 6-1, with Paul Nichols believing we haven’t seen the best of him yet and he looked all over the winner when Oscar Whisky had to drag everything out to beat him. Lurking for Jonjo with AP on board is Tarquin  Du Seuil  9-1, who has really improved this year after a 17L demolition in a Grade 2 last time out at Haydock and I wouldn’t rule out the other Willie Mullins horse, Djakadam ,10-1 who just might be the surprise package.


Winners Profile. This race has only been staged for 3 years and so trends are hard to come by. Interestingly in its three years favourites have finished 2nd twice and not won yet. Up until last year the second favourite had won two years running and only 6-7 year olds have won so far. We have to be careful here because it’s too early to be too confident about what is needed to win.

Winner : Wonderful Charm  6-1 Boylesports   Alternative : Tarquin Du Seuil 9-1 Boylesports



2.05 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle – 3 miles

Just the 24 over this 3 mile handicap to sort through!  Fingal Bay 7-1, was impressive in his comeback run and warrants respect but it just has to be too much weight for him to win, although he will be hard to keep out of the six places on offer.  If in Doubt 8-1, for Hobbs and McCoy appears to be well fancied and bring most of a winning profile to the race, but I think it could be the Jonjo resident Josies Orders 16-1, who could take all the beating. She fits everyone of my winning criteria requirements and in a tricky handicap the 5lbs Maurice Linehan (an up and coming star) takes off, could well prove vital.


Winners Profile : Aged 6-9, Carried no more than 11stone 4lbs, Off for between 20-48 days, Won a class 3 or higher, Winning form between 2m4f -2m6f, Officially rated 129-142, Won over at least 3 miles, 6-10 runs over hurdles.

Winner : Josies Orders 16-1 Bet365,  Alternative : If in Doubt 8-1 Sportingbet






2.40 Ryanair Chase 2 mile 5 furlongs


I would like the David Pipe trained Dynaste, 7-2 , to win this as I think this horse deserves a Cheltenham victory, but life isn’t like that normally. Al Ferof, 4-1, clearly didn’t get home at Kempton in the King George but on better ground he would have taken some beating.  Bennefficient 7-2, who has won here has looked as though he has just kept improving nd this has to be his ideal trip. I also think that the previously progressive Hunt Ball could muster up a surprise or two in this race but may just lack the cutting edge to pull off a victory. It may look a little dull with the selections below but the statistics are hard to ignore.

Winners Profile : Pre race RPR of at least 158, Officially rated 152+, Course Winner, From first 3 in the market, No more than 4 runs since October, Top 3 finish last time out, At least eight runs over fences.

Winner : Benefficient  7-2 Sportingbet      Alternative : Al Ferof 4-1 Sportingbet


3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle 3 miles

This is a bit like the Quevega race, as it is now known. If Annie Power stands up she wins. She is an excellent mare with tons of ability and on this good ground the trip won’t cause her any concerns at all. Big Bucks will put up a great fight but he just doesn’t have the pace anymore. More of That looks like a real contender but only a contender and At Fishers Cross needs to show he’s back to his best to upset the apple cart

Winner : Annie Power  15/8 Coral ,  Outsider : More of That 10/1 Sportingbet


4.00 Byrne Group Plate (Handicap Chase) 2 mile 4 furlongs

Both Colour Squadron 10 and Champion Court 14 are good horses capable of winning this race but the weight is a concern for them. Ryan Hatch takes a valuable seven off the back of Champion Court and it could be that he is capable of achieving something that hasn’t been done since this race was framed and that is winning off top weight. Colour Squadron also brings together a good partnership of Hobbs and McCoy but if we stick to our formula of defining horses who are capable of winning by profile then two stand out and they are both from the all-conquering Venetia Williams stable. Last years winner Carrick Boy and last time out winner Shangani. I am keen on the latter to do the business against his older stablemate

Winners Profile : Won a class 3 or higher, Won between 2m3f and 2m5f, Run more than 3 times over fences, Ran within last 42 days, Top five finish last time out, Carried no more than 10stone 10lbs. Ran at previous festival.

Winner:  Shangani  20-1 Betfred   Alternative : Champion Court 16-1 Betvictor




4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase 3 miles 1 furlong

Indian Castle 6-1, is top of a lot peoples list for this week and I suppose this was the logical race for Donal McCain to aim this last time out winner at. A years more experience and we would be all over this one. Cause of Causes 10-1, looks similar to Indian Castle in profile but without the winning back number and a question for me about how good he really is. At 12 years of age, Tranquil Sea 20-1, brings a touch of class and fight to the race and he showed with his win last time out that the heart is still there for the battle. However I think we need to look a little further down the handicap to satisfy all of our criteria and for me it’s the Paul Nichols trained There’s No Panic who sticks out. It could be a bit short for him but he will sit out the back and hope they go a strong gallop and then mow them down up the hill. I confess to this being slightly sentimental as connections of the Betting Agency owned the mare who bred this horse, Out Ranking and she had a heart the size of 12 lions

Winners Profile : Rated within 8lbs of RPR top rated, Ran over at least 3m last time out, Officially rated 124-142, Aged 7-9, Won a handicap chase, Won over at least 3 miles, Finished in first three last 2 starts at least.

Winner : There’s No Panic  16-1 Betvictor  Alternative : Indian Castle 6-1 Boylesports