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Day 3 of the Festival is kicked off by the 2m 4f Turners Novices' Chase Grade 1 race.

This race hasn't been won by any real superstar in the last four years, even though they were all touted for big things.

Samcro won it in 2020, but his form soon fell off a cliff after winning this. Similar comments can be applied to Chantry House, the 2021 winner. Bob Olinger won it in 2022, albeit in fortunate circumstances, and he has only just started to regain some decent form since moving back over hurdles.

Stage Star won this race last year, he is a hardy horse, but was given a belting ride by Cobden and the odds-on shot did underperform on the day.

Cheltenham 1:30 – Djelo 20/1 (0.5pt EW, SkyBet 4pl)

It seems like a bit of a hit-and-hope with Facile Vega to stick him up in trip for the first time for this race. I just think that he probably isn't as good as what the Mullins stable thought he was. In hindsight, the Champion Bumper he won wasn't anything special, arguably producing the least amount of subsequent winners in recent memory from any Champion Bumper. He was then thumped in the DRF last year, was 2nd to Marine Nationale in the Supreme and other than the winner and Il Etait Temps, that form looks poor as well. Since moving to fences he has been found wanting in Grade 1 company over 2m, beaten by Found A Fifty who was battered by Gaelic Warrior and was then beaten at the DRF by Il Etatait Temps and Found a Fifty again. His pedigree suggests he could be better for this step up in trip, but is he really that good? I don't think so.

Stage Star won this race last year for Cobden and Nicholls and you have to be getting similar vibes with Ginny's Destiny. This horse has taken a similar path to get to this point at Stage Star, he is a front runner who wears his heart on his sleeve and has been carrying big weights to victory. He has done nothing but improve this season, but might've got lucky that Grey Dawning belted one of the final fences when that horse was runner-up to him. He is a big player in this race, and will likely set the pace.

Dan Skelton will be feeling confident heading into Day 3 with Grey Dawning who could give him his first ever chase winner at a Cheltenham Festival (if he doesn't get one on Day 2). They must have felt this race was weaker than the Brown Advisory as he was entered in both, but with the ground cutting up the way it has done, his stamina in reserves is going to be a key play for him. He is a very talented horse, was well-fancied for a Grade 1 at Aintree last year over hurdles but fell when going well. The transition to fences has been effortless, he can chuck in a dodgy jump, but last time out he was flawless at Warwick, looking like a proper galloper. With a likely strong pace being set, he has to be up there as one of the main chances of a winner.

Last year's winning Martin Pipe winner, Iroko is the surprise runner in the field. He suffered a bit setback at the start of the season and was meant to be out for the season, but the Greenall & Guerriero combo have clearly worked wonders with him to get him to turn up for this race. He is 1/1 over fences, winning nicely at Warwick, but didn't beat much in hindsight. He is clearly a very good horse and finished 3rd in a Grade 1 at Aintree last year, and the Martin Pipe has been a race which has produced some very good horses in recent times with Banbridge and Galopin Des Champs. If he was to win this, it wouldn't surprise me, but it's a risk given his prep.

The more I look at this race, the more I think Djelo has a decent chance. Obviously taking on the Irish in the Grade 1 races isn't the smartest of things to do, but their runners in this race don't look as strong as they have done over the years, so I'm more than happy to go with a British runner. Djelo stood out to me as the horse who could be running up the hill strongly, especially on testing ground and if they go a good gallop. The form isn't fantastic, with him finishing 7L behind Nickle Back in the Grade 1 at Sandown last time out, but Nickle Back won that race when he was 20L+ in front, he is a relentless galloper and pings every fence and if given an easy lead, he will do that to many horses. However, Djelo looked to be fully of running that day when powering up the Sandown hill to finish in 2nd place, he jumped the last like a fresh horse, and on that basis, combined with his usual very good jumping, he is a player in this race at decent odds. He beat Kandoo Kidin a Grade 2 at Ascot, doing it with ease. Granted, that form isn't a standout piece, but the runner-up was second to a well-handicapped horse last time out in the Greatwood Class 1 handicap at Newbury, whilst giving away 10lbs, so I think it's fairly solid form.

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