DAY THREE at the Festival is absolutely choc full of fun. Let’s get right into it…
1.30pm – JLT Novices Chase
(2 miles 4 furlongs, fences, novice chasers only)
This novice chase looks wide open with no obvious classy horse leading the betting. If I owned Monalee (I wish!) I would have put him in here rather than taking on Presenting Percy in the RSA, especially with the very testing ground but they have gone for the RSA and good luck to them.
The current favourite is Invitation Only who wasn't top class over hurdles but has developed into a good chaser. In such an open race though I would be looking for a better price than those on offer just now.
Modus has always threatened to be top class but hasn't quite delivered but he does have a good record at Cheltenham which is helpful. He's also a bit short in the betting too though. I swore I wouldn't back Finian's Oscar again – he doesn't jump well and looks like he doesn't the heart for a battle. Terrefort is decent but I can't get too excited about him.
The one that I do fancy as a well-priced outsider is SNOW FALCON who regular readers will remember I have backed a number of times in the past over hurdles and on the flat. He was the best rated horse of these over hurdles and is perhaps underrated here.
He is a better horse than he has shown over fences so far and I think he has the potential to go close in this.
2.10pm – Pertemps Networks Final
(3 miles, hurdles, handicap)
Wide open this year and there are too many in with a shout to name them all but the one I am going for is WHO DARES WINS. He has strong form at the festival, finishing 3rd in the Coral Cup last year and has since been running really well on the flat. This strong test of stamina should suit him nicely and I see him going really close.
2.50pm – Ryanair Chase
(2 miles 5 furlongs, fences)
I have already recommended an each way bet on FRODON for this race and he stands his ground which is good to see. The complexion of the race has really changed though now that we are down to less than 8 runners and I now need to look at finding the winner.
UN DE SCEAUX won it last year and is such an admirable horse for the level of consistency that he manages to maintain. The distance of this race is probably right at the maximum of what he is comfortable with I think. He jumped and ran them into submission last year but didn't look like he had much more to give coming up the hill. For that reason heavy ground would be a concern for him but unless it rains again it looks like being soft ground at worst. I think he could be a ready winner here with old legend that is Cue Card following him home.
3.30pm – Stayers Hurdle
(3 miles, hurdles)
I recommended a bet on THE NEW ONE a few weeks back and he remains a strong choice for the race in my opinion. He is one of the best rated horses in the field and will love the pace of the race. If you haven't backed him already get a nice each way on him.
My second selection for the race now that his price has drifted slightly is SUPASUNDAE. He is pure class as he showed when winning the Coral Cup last year and then the Irish Champion Hurdle this season. I think he is overpriced at 5/1 and should go very close.
4.10pm – Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate
(2 miles 4 furlongs, fences, handicap)
I hope that finding a winner is easier than remembering the name of this race. Astute readers will have noted that I fancied MOVEWITHTHETIMES for the novice handicap on Tuesday but he has been confirmed here instead. I think he is really well handicapped and Paul Nicholls and the McManus team must agree because they have pitched him in against the big boys. He's my idea of the winner in a tough race.
I'm also going to be greedy and have a speculative punt on BALLYALTON for Ian Williams. He's a horse who has served me well over the years and is now on a dangerously low mark for a horse who won at the festival two years ago. I accept he isn't progressive at this age but if Williams can get him back to something close to his best he'll go really close and I can't leave him unbanked.
4.50pm – Mares Novice Hurdle
(2 miles, novices only, mares only)
I know I said it on Tuesday about Apples Jade and it came back to bite me on the bum but I think LAURINA is an absolute good thing here. She won both her races in really good times over in Ireland and the Mullins camp are pretty hot on her. I'm not going to recommend a bet at odds on but if you are doing multiples put her in there.
5.30pm – Kim Muir Challenge Cup
(3 miles 2 furlongs, fences, amateur jockeys only)
I say it every year but there is a decent betting angle into this race with the fact that it is exclusively for amateur jockeys. The likes of Jamie Codd, Katie Walsh, Derek O'Connor and Nina Carberry are amateurs in name only and have a strong advantage over some of their rivals.
I am hot on MALL DINI who was only placed last year in the race and is back to make amends. He has been set out for this all year and will go really close with Jamie Codd on board.
- 1.30 – Snow Falcon – 1 point e/w at 16/1 wth Betbright
- 2.10 – Who Dares Wins – 2 points e/w at 12/1 with Betbright
- 2.50 – Un De Sceaux – 4 points win at 13/8 with Betbright
- 2.50 – Already advised – Frodon – 2 points e/w at 16/1
- 3.30 – Supasundae – 2 points win at 5/1 with Betbright
- 3.30 – Already advised – The New One – 2 points e/w at 16/1
- 4.10 – Movewiththetimes – 3 point e/w at 10/1 with Betbright
- 4.10 – Ballyalton – 1 point e/w at 25/1 with Betbright
- 4.50 – Laurina (no bet)
- 5.30 – Mall Dini – 3 points e/w at 6/1 with Betbright