1.30 – Jewson Novice Chase
The opening race of day three is a tough little novice race over the intermediate trip of two miles four furlongs. Plenty chances here and the two I like are Noble Prince and Mr. Gardner. With Nicky Henderson’s string not fulfilling their potential yet this week, I’ll plump for the former. Tony McCoy takes the ride on Paul Nolan’s son of Montjeu. The Montjeu hoodoo was put to bed by Hurricane Fly on day one so there are no concerns on that front. Anyway, Noble Prince has got strong course form from last year’s running in the County Hurdle. Hopefully he goes well.
Advice: 1pt each-way Noble Prince @5-1
2.05 – Pertemps Hurdle
Twenty-four horses go to post for the Pertemps Final in yet another competitive handicap. Plenty of racing luck will be needed and the three that stand out for me are Michael Flips, Kayf Aramis and Tarablaze. Michael Flips ran a cracker in last year’s Coral Cup behind Spirit River. He is allowed to run from the same mark and I feel this is a less competitive race – so he should run well. The trainer stated he needed his last run so he can go well at a big price. Kayf Aramis was the winner of this race two years ago and he is back to reclaim under the young but talented Sam Twiston-Davies. He always runs well at Cheltenham and is a vey solid each-way punt. Tarablaze is an interesting contender coming back over hurdles. He has been mixing it with some very classy types over fences and this test represents a drop in class. A mark of 138 looks very workable so fingers crossed he runs well.
Advice: 1pt each-way Kayf Aramis @20-1
0.5pts each-way Michael Flips @25-1 and Tarablaze @20-1
2.40 – Ryanair Chase
Strictly on form Poquelin looks to be the stand out horse. In terms of form and preparation he is the clear pick, but, there are plenty lurking to pick up the pieces if he doesn’t fire. Last years winner, Albertas Run, has been a shadow of his brilliant best this year. All his poor form was on his unfavoured soft ground so today’s quick surface will be to his liking – as will the return to Cheltenham. A risky proposition, however. The same comments can be applied to J’y Vole who came into last year’s race in better form. I’d rate the Mullins mare the biggest danger, but, I’m going to stick with Ruby and Poquelin.
Advice: 2pts win Poquelin @5-2
3.20 – World Hurdle
This year’s renewal is being dubbed “Big Bucks vs Grand Crus”. For me, Big Bucks has been the best horse in training for the last 18 months. Never mind your Kauto Stars and Denmans – Big Bucks is the real deal. Grand Crus is a worthy opponent, but, this will be his biggest task on ground that won’t be ideal. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him finish out of the frame, but, in saying that – I have been impressed by him. It’s still Big Bucks for me and I’ll also be playing a little each-way on the hardy Any Given Day.
Advice: 4pts win Big Bucks @1-1
0.5pts each-way Any Given Day @50-1
4.00 – Byrne Group Plate
Again, another big field goes to post for a very competitive handicap. Suzy Smith’s horses are in super form at the moment and the price about her Aimigayle (33-1) looks very attractive. The eight-year-old mare ran a decent race here back in 2009, but, since, has obviously had plenty of problems. Her come back run at Sandown wasn’t to inspiring, but, with the stable in better form she may go well. Good ground is what is needed and the tougher new course will suit her well. A bit of a shot in the dark in a wide open race, but, she may go well. Hollo Ladies of the market leaders looks to have a live chance, too.
Advice: 1pt each-way Hollo Ladies @8-1
0.5pts each-way Aimigayle @33-1
4.40 – Kim Muir Handicap Chase
The Kim Muir for amateur jockeys always attracts a big field and this year is no different. Of the market leaders Junior is the stand out and he gets the call, but, one at a bigger price is Billie Magern under the young Willie Twiston-Davies. He certainly looks well handicapped on some of his earlier runs behind the likes of Chicago Grey. Davies is a seven lbs claimer, but, racing is in his blood and his claim will be helpful.
Advice: 1pt each-way Junior @11-2
0.5pts Billie Magern @ 16-1