After a pretty profitable day two which saw us land 2 winners plus 4 places come in, including one tipped 28/1 and another at 33s, we go again for day three. It's another competitive day and gives us the final chance to top up that betting bank balance before the all out assault on the big one, the Gold Cup, on Friday.
As usual, we have our race by race previews for you here on The Cheeky Punts as we look for some more winners for you all
Thursday 16th March
1:30 Turners Novice Chase, 2m 4f
7 yr-old have an excellent record in the race winning 8 of the previous 12 renewals of the race
The only 8yr-old to win the race was Samcro back in 2020, interestingly beating fellow 8 yr old The Melon.
Willie Mullins once again has an excellent record in the race with 4 wins, though has not won the race since 2017
9 of the previous 11 winners were priced 7/1 or shorter and this includes 3 winning favourites – again beneficial to focus on those to the top of the market
9 of the previous 11 winners had won a Graded chase prior to the Festival
9 of the previous 11 winners had raced at least 3 times over fences prior to the contest
9 of the last 12 winners were once again trained in Ireland
Last 5 Winners
2022 Bob Olinger
Henry De Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore 6/5
2021 Chantry House
Nicky Henderson/Nico De Boinville 9/1
Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell 4/1
2019Defi Du Seuil
Phillip Hobbs/Barry Geraghty 3/1f
Gordon Elliott/Jack Kennedy 4/1
A hot favourite to consider in the opener for Day 3, and though I did back Mighty Potter for this race after winning at Fairyhouse in December (the form been franked this week with Gaillard Du Mesnil winning on the opening day) I am happy to leave him alone this afternoon in and around the 10/11 mark. You cannot knock his claims, unbeaten over fences – ideal conditions and clearly the most likely winner but wouldn’t be my idea of a value selection at his current price and happy to sit on my hands rather than play again.
Banbridge was another who looked to have the ideal prep when chasing home El Fabiolo at Leopardstown at the DRF over 2miles 1furlong, staying on in a fashion that suggests he will improve for this step up in trip and would have been a massive player if the ground had stayed on the good side. Unfortunately with further rain due it may just come up too soft for Joseph O'Brien's runner, but shouldn’t be discounted as has the vital course form and has been plotted up for this race since the big effort behind Tuesday’s Arkle Chase winner back in February.
At the prices the value could be Appreciate it for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend who was actually sent off an 11/8 favourite to beat stable mate El Fabiolo and Banbridge at the DRF which should indicate how highly rated he is within the Closutton yard.
People may suggest he is best at 2miles but if you look deeper into his form he is a point winner over 3miles on heavy ground and also scooted clear in his bumper at Leopardstown back in 2019 which was over a strong run 2miles 4f so you could make the argument he could improve further for the step back up in trip. To me he looks the value in the market and could be hard to pass if Townend decides on front running tactics once again.
Balco Coastal comes in here having chased Gerri Colombe home at Sandown which is clearly a strong form line and the best of the British, but the feeling is it will be hard for the home side to nick this from the Irish raiders and he may be seen at better affect at Aintree in a few weeks time.
Another to consider for Aintree and maybe not today is Notlongtillmay for former Nottingham Forest left back Alan Rogers. Rogers is a proud scouser and surely looking to prep his star for a run at the Liverpool festival in a few weeks time where he will appreciate the likely better ground.
This race could be run at a very strong pace so an emphasis will be on both stamina and accurate jumping and I feel it will pay to focus on the top 3 in the market who really do set a very high standard.
Appreciate It - 7/2
Banbridge Each Way, 7/1 3 places
2:10 Pertemps Handicap Hurdle, 3m
Only 2 winners this century had actually won a Pertemps qualifier on route to the festival
7 of the 8 Irish winners this century ran in the Pertemps qualifier at the Christmas meeting at Leopardstown, this year won by Maxxum
10 of the last 12 winners were rated between 138-148, Sire Du Berlais was an exception winning the 2020 renewal from a mark of 152
10 of the last 11 winners were aged between 6-8yrs old
11 of the last 15 winners had 10 or fewer hurdle runs to their name
11 of the 16 winners hadn't run at the previous years festival
Stamina is vital, with 8 of the last 14 winners registering a victory over at least 2miles 6f
Gordon Elliott has won 3 of the last 5 renewals
Jockey Davy Russell has an excellent record in the race, also winning it 3 times
Last 5 Winners
2022 Third Wind
Hughie Morrison/Tom O’Brien 25/1
2021 Mrs Milner
Paul Nolan/Bryan Cooper 12/1
2020 Sire Du Berlais
Gordon Elliott/Barry Geraghty10/1
2019 Sire Du Berlais
Gordon Elliott/Barry Geraghty 4/1f
2018 Delta Work
Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell6/1
Traditionally one of the hardest races of the week for punters to figure out, but one of my strongest ante-post selections goes in this contest, Thanksforthehelp for trainer David Pipe who has the assistance of Mark Walsh today.
Owned by leading owner (and high-rolling punter) JP McManus, this really could be chucked in from its mark of 128 and if you can spare 5minutes go back and watch the victory in the Chepstow qualifier on the 25th February from a mark of 117 – you will see he simply didn’t come out of 2nd gear and very much looked like a horse on a serious upward curve.
In the aftermath of the race numerous firms went up 8/1 NRNB as the worry was he may not get in the race from the lowly mark so really went to war and took a fair bit of the price and went in again at 15/2 once the market settled, so sat pretty for today’s event.
This is a horse that has always been well regarded and was punted off the boards for the Punchestown festival last season when running a big race, but has since had his wind operated on and this looks to have done the trick.
I do have a friend who has horses with Pipe, and the word from the yard is they feel this will be a 150-155 horse in the future so could be it has close to a stone in hand from its mark today, and if that is the case he would take a hell of a lot of stopping. If JP McManus does open his wallet and back it accordingly it could go off very short come the off.
Another I like for the home team is Walking On Air for Nicky Henderson, a horse I had a word for last season but never made the festival and could be really well handicapped from a mark of 138.
It is worth noting that Walking On Air is owned by Michael Tabors wife Doreen, and if the Coolmore supremo does place one of his legendary wagers is another that is likely to shorten considerably.
The British look to have a strong hand as I also like An Tailliur for Jonjo O’Neil who is a master at getting one ready for the festival and the market support in the build up to the contest is well worth noting.
He was last seen finishing 3rd to ante-post favourite Shoot First over course and distance back in October and is very interesting that the trainer has put him away specifically for this race ever since.
Maxxum is sure to have his followers from the other side of the Irish sea and is hugely respected, there was suggestions that he would be a big player in the stayers hurdle if they decided to go down that route and if that is the case should be capable from a mark of 145. It is also interesting that Gordon Elliott has gone for headgear for the first time and nobody has a better record in this race than jockey Davy Russell.
At bigger prices I really like The Bosses Oscar who caught my eye at a massive price when last seen at Musselburgh and was once rated as high as 154 and gets into today from 12lbs lower, certainly no surprise to see him outrun his price.
Two of mention at much bigger prices are Green Book for the handicap queen Venetia Williams and Mill Green for Nicky Henderson who looks the consistent type that often goes well in this contest, but I will be disappointed if Thanksforthehelp does not go very close indeed and hard to see him out of the frame given an accident free trip.
Thanksforthehelp 4/1 (6 places)
The Bosses Oscar Each Way, 12/1 (6 places)
2:50 Ryanair Chase, 2m 5f
Irish trained horses have won 6 of the past 7 renewals of the race
13 of the last 14 winners were aged 7-10years old
14 of the last 15 winners had 4 or fewer runs prior to lining up at the festival
13 of the last 14 winners were rated 161 or above
11 of the last 15 winners had previously won at Grade 1 level
11 of the last 15 winners of the race had previously won a race at the track, with 10 of these winning a chase around Cheltenham
13 of the last 15 winners had ran at the previous years festival
Willie Mullins is again the leading trainer of the race, winning the contest on 5 separate occasions including the last 3 renewals
9 of the last 10 favourites have finished in the top 3
Last 5 Winners
Willie Mullins/Paul Townend 4/7f
Willie Mullins/Rachael Blackmore 3/1f
Willie Mullins/Paul Townend 2/1
Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost 9/2
2018 Balko Des Flos
Henry De Bromhead/Davy Russell 8/1
Another short priced favourite for this contest in the form of Shishkin who could not have been more impressive than when scoring at Ascot last month, suggesting he is somewhere near back to his very best. The step up in trip suited well and you could easily make a case that he should be a similar price to that of Constitution Hill went off for the Champion Hurdle earlier in the week.
For me, I am happy to let him win at the price and not a race that I will be getting too involved in as do worry that some of his old issues may pop back up and not the sort of thing you want to worry about when taking the price currently available for Shishkin.
Very much the most likely winner, but happy to look for a touch of value elsewhere.
Janidil could be the value, and though doesn’t win as often as probably should, he was impressive when scoring at Gowran Park last time out. The vibes coming out of Ireland that day was that he was only 60% fit and if that is the case he has to be a big player this afternoon.
It is easy to make a case also for Blue Lord against the favourite, a multiple group 1 winner over fences and if you were to excuse his defeat at 1/4f last time out it is easy to make a case that he would be less than half the price he is currently available at.
Stamina has to be taken on trust but there does not seem to loads of pace in this contest and he may get away with it but is always the worry one may stay on stronger up the hill.
Envoi Allen seems to get a lot of bad press these days but is still a multiple group 1 winner also and comes in here with a rating of 163, and significantly has the all important course and distance form. He could be a springer in the market and if Henry De Bromhead has him anywhere near his best form would have to enter calculations.
It is hard to make cases for those at much bigger prices and therefore is a question for punters whether they want to bank on Shishkin at the short prices available or look for some each-way value against him, personally I will be in the later.
Janidil, Each-way 15/2 3 places
3:30 Stayers Hurdle, 3m
7 yr-olds have a good record in the race, winning 5 of the last 6 renewals
The favourite has only won twice in the last decade
Winners of the race tend to come in very fresh, not since My Way De Solzen in the 2006 renewal has the winner been seen in the 6 week build up to the festival
5 of the last 8 winners have returned at double figure prices
11 of the last 14 winners were rated 156+
10 of the previous 14 winners of the race had previously won a Grade 1 event
12 of the last 14 winners finished in the top 3 in their prep run to the festival
13 of the last 14 winners had ran at Cheltenham previously
Last 5 Winners
2022 Flooring Porter
Gavin Cromwel/lDanny Mullins 4/1
2021 Flooring Porter
Gavin Cromwell/Danny Mullins 12/1
2020 Lisnager Oscar
Rebecca Curtis/Adam Wedge 50/1
2019 Paisley Park
Emma Lavelle/Aidan Coleman 11/8f
Willie Mullins/Paul Townend 12/1
This is a race I will not be getting massively involved in as keep changing my mind the longer I look at the race – something that is never advised from a punting point of view.
My main fancy now the rain has arrived is the Gordon Elliott trained Teahupoo who is a real mudlark but also very classy, so no surprise at all to see why has been backed into favouritism. He was taken off his feet a little in the Champion Hurdle last year, but that was on quicker ground over 2miles and today’s conditions will be much more up his street.
Davy Russell takes the ride and might be seen sat up on the bridle for the majority of this 3miles contest, and if fully getting up the hill might take some stopping.
Flooring Porter will have his supporters, and the former winner will be the pace angle – looking to kick out and make it all. He has been very disappointing this season, finishing just 4th on both occasions but the feeling from the Cromwell yard is that he is back to his best in the last couple of week’s and if that is accurate he must enter calculations.
Blazing Khal really could be anything for the master that is Charles Byrnes. Not an ideal build up to the race, off for a long break with injury, he returned to win on reappearance and almost doubled in price that day to suggest not a lot was expected. The yard reported he had another setback since so clearly not been ideal but you cannot dismiss the potential and if anywhere near fully fit has to be respected but will not be carrying my money.
Home By The Lee will be fancied by many but the ground looks to have gone against him, and Klassical Dream is very talented but not inconsistent and would need to be taken on faith that he is on a going day.
At bigger prices it would be no surprise to see Gold Tweet ran another big race for the French and will he love the conditions, he was a bit of a surprise winner last time out over course and distance but certainly looked no fluke, and Ashdale Bob will have his supporters and looks a touch overpriced at his current odds of 25/1
Gold Tweet Each-Way, 10/1 (4 places)
4:10 Craft Irish Whiskey Handicap Plate, 2m 5f
Last year’s winner Coole Cody is the only horse older than 9 to have won this race in the last 10 years
3 favourites have won the race in the last 5 years, but surprisingly this number only increased to 5 winning favourites since 1999
David Pipe has a great record in the race and all runners should be respected, he has won the race 3 times since 2010, his Father Martin also had a great record winning it on a further 4 occasions
23 of the last 25 winners had previously won a race over at least 2m3f
Only 5 horses have carried more than 11st to victory since the turn of the century, surprisingly 3 of the first 4 home carried over 11st last year
Only one 5yr old has ever won the race, Majadou for AP McCoy back in 1999
Novices have an excellent record in the race winning 4 of the previous 6 years
Last 5 Winners
2022 Coole Cody
Evan Williams/Adam Wedge 22/1
2021 The Shunter
Emmet Mullins/Jordan Gainford 9/4f
2020 Simply The Betts
Harry Whittington/Gavin Sheehan 10/3f
2019 Siruh Du Lac
Nick Williams/Lizzie Kelly 9/2
2018 The Storyteller
Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell 5/1f
A little boring to start with the favourite in such a competitive handicap chase, but the case for So Scottish is an obvious one and further strengthened by the fact leading owner (and punter) JP McManus has got the cheque book out again to purchase the 6 yr-old.
I am a huge fan of trainer Emmet Mullins who did so well with the likes of The Shunter at the festival, and though beat by Boothill last time out at Ascot he will strip much fitter for today and improve for the step back up in trip. It is significant that Mullins has opted to put the headgear on for the first time, and should this have the desired affect he will take some beating from a mark of 143. A horse with a big future and well worth following.
Another fancy who is also blinkered for the first time is the Richard Hobson trained Fugitif who has performed really well twice at the track already, finishing runner up twice including a length behind Il Ridoto over course and distance last time out. Up 6lbs for this performance he may found something just a touch better handicapped but rates a rock solid selection and one that could easily take home some place money.
Haut En Couleurs has been very popular for trainer Willie Mullins and was last seen chasing home Janidil at Gowran, so if Janidil puts up a big performance earlier on the card expect his price to crumble for this handicap chase.
Dan Skelton did us a big favour with Langer Dan yesterday and looks to have leading claims with Midnight River, who won here on New Years Day in a very impressive speed figure and has been put away for this race since. No surprise to see him go very well once again.
At much bigger prices a contact did recommend having a couple of quid Each-way on Seddon so might be worthwhile keeping on eye on him at 33/1
So Scottish, 4/1 7 places
Fugitif Each-way, 10/1 7 places
4:50 Mares Novice Hurdle, 2m 1f
Once again, Willie Mullins has an excellent record in the race, winning 5 of the last 7 running’s of the race
Last years winner Love Envoi was the first British trained winner of the race
5 of the 6 winners of the race were French bred and started their jumps careers over in France
Winners of the race have previously shown a level of form in Graded events. Both Limini and Laurina won the Grade 3 Mares Hurdle at Fairyhouse, and both Love Envoi and Lets Dance won a Grade 2 event prior to winning at the festival
Irish trained horses have been dominant since the race was first run in 2016, and prior to last year only 2 British trained horses had placed in the race
Last 5 Winners
2022 Love Envoi
Harry Fry/Johnny Burke 15/2
Henry De Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore 5/1
Willie Mullins/Daryl Jacob 9/2
2019Eglantine Du Seuil
Willie Mullins/Noel Fehily 50/1
Willie Mullins/Paul Townend 4/7f
Another of my strongest fancies of the week in the shape of the Nicky Henderson trained Luccia who I managed to back at nice prices before his seasonal reappearance at Newbury earlier this season.
The mare is unbeaten and such is the reputation she is held in within the Seven Barrows yard that they were very tempted to run her in the Supreme Novices against the boys on day 1.
I have backed at her at all prices down from 9/2 prior to Newbury and is no surprise to see her coming in as a warm order, she really could be top class and the word I got from the yard was that she could well be running in the Champion Hurdle next season against the likes of stable mate Constitution Hill.
I am slightly worried that it has been reported she had a slight setback in the build up to the Festival and missed a few days work, but all being well she will take all the beating in today’s contest. She will have to hurdle better than what we saw at Exeter last time out but possesses such a big engine it is felt even if making the odd mistake her class could get her out of trouble.
The one they all have to beat and is a strong fancy of mine for a number of months now.
One at double figure prices I think may have gone under the radar is Princess Zoe for trainer Tony Mullins. This is a grade 1 winner on the flat, and a lot has been made of her just scraping home on her hurdle debut but reports from the yard are that she had a trouble preparation for that race, rushed into it after the sales and not really schooled much. She has worked much better since and a surprise to see her a double figure price still this evening.
Willie Mullins is a master trainer and specifically with mares, so Lot Of Joy needs respecting and is sure to have her followers, whereas Gordon Elliott saddles Halka Du Tarbert who was impressive at Naas before Christmas and is sure to relish the underfoot conditions.
I find it hard to look away from Luccia and may get involved again if a backable price come the off, and the springer in the market could be Princess Zoe so may have a little saver on the Tony Mullins mare.
Princess Zoe Each-way, 16/1 4 places
5:30 Kim Muir Challenge Cup, 3m 2f
Jockey bookings are vital and always worth noting the leading amateur riders. Jamie Codd is the leading rider in the race with 4 wins but the last victory was back in 2016
Only 1 of the last 10 winners carried below 11st
6 winners in the last 12 years have actually carried at least 11st 9lb, so could pay to focus on those to the top of the weights
Stamina is clearly vital, 19 of the last 22 winners ran over at least 3miles in their start prior to the festival
8 of the last 12 winners of the race wore headgear
10 of the last 12 winners of the race came from the top 6 in the betting
Only 2 of the previous 19 winners actually won on their previous run before the festival
Gordon Elliott is always to be respected in the race, winning it 3 times and placing another 6 times
Only 4 horses older than 9 have won the race since 1992
Last 5 Winners
Venetia Williams/Lucy Turner 40/1
2021 Mount Ida
Denise Foster/Jack Kennedy 3/1f
2020 Milan Native
Gordon Elliott/Mr R James 9/1
2019 Any Second Now
Ted Walsh/Derek O’Connor 6/1
2018 Missed Approach
Warren Greatrex/Mr N McParlan 8/1
One note of caution for punters would be with one of the market leaders Mr Incredible for the ultra shrewd owner Paul Byrne.
Mr Incredible has refused to race previously and rumour from the other side of the Irish sea is that he also refused to jump his schooling fences at home in his prep for the festival, so not exactly what you want to hear for a selection to the head of the market.
If he does jump off and willing to race he must have leading chances and might be one to look to play in the run itself if seen jumping well from fence to fence.
My main fancy for this race is the likely market leader Stumptown for the in-form Gavin Cromwell stable. It was a very clever bit of placing by Cromwell when getting Stumptown to win at Sandown in the middle of last month as forced the UK handicapper to allocate him a mark on what he showed that day and not take an uneducated guess.
He scooted up that day and has only been raised 8lb and with the leading Irish Amateur Barry O’Neill taking the ride he would be my idea of the most likely winner of the contest.
Angels Dawn is being touted by numerous judges in Ireland and his case is fairly obvious but again strikes me as the type that will find something just that bit classier and may be forced to settle for place claims only.
Dunboyne is very interesting for Gordon Elliott and leading rider Jamie Codd now that the rain has arrived and the ground sure to be on the softer side. Dunboyne was last seen chasing home Carefully Selected in the Thyestes Chase at Gowran, a very strong form line that was franked last week with the 5th home Espanito Bello bolting up. I can see him being well backed overnight and throughout the morning and one that should be high on any shortlist.
Beauport could be the pace angel but likely to be picked off late, whilst Royal Thief and Anightinlambourn both have place claims but will have to show a great deal of improvement to trouble those at the head of the market.
For me, I see this as a toss up between Dunboyne and Stumptown and wouldn't put anyone off backing both Each-way with 5 and 6 places on offer.
Stumpton Each-way, 5/1 5 places
Dunboyne Each way, 8/1 6 places
Good Luck and lets hope we can have another profitable day and if you've been enjoying our daily, free previews be sure to tell your gambling friends