Day Three – Cheltenham Festival

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Disko is another I like but Noel Meade isn’t the force of old when sending runners, particularly chasers, across to the UK. Politilogue will take them along at a fair old clip out front but he was pretty filthy at last year’s festival. His running style might just set it up for the selection. Divine inspiration somewhere along the A40 aside, TOP NOTCH can take this to continue a super week for Henderson and Seven Barrows. He’s been good all season, winning four times in the process and improving with every start. He’s only a little rat of a thing but he really impressed me with his jumping last time out.

Selection – Top Notch @ 4/1

14:10 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle

Impulsive star is 5 from 6 and looks a proper graded horse. Sam Whaley cohen splits opinion but his 3lb claim will help massively. 

The other through a line of scoir mear that came 5th yesterday and ahead of modus (165) who ran his race. That puts him well in and on a winnable mark. Jury duty looks a good bet and we will be taking these two against the field.

Selections – Jury Duty @ 8/1 Impulsive Star E/W @ 9/1

14:50 Ryanair Chase

This isn’t a race where you look at who has beaten who, but more of a case of who has lost to who and why. The only exception of that really being Empire Of Dirt who’s been dominating the 3m chase scene with Gordon Elliot. Elliot wants him in the Gold Cup but instead he runs over 2m 5f for only the second time in his career. This has got to be a worry for a horse with an age of 10, albeit he did win his only run over this distance at Cheltenham as well.

Josses Hill and Sub Lieutenent are of each way interest, making more appeal that Uxizandre. Our choice though is the STAYING, yes staying, Un De Sceaux.

For us the ground isn’t a work as he doesn’t have the high mud loving knee action to just want softer ground. The slight step up in trip with what will be on better ground will be ideal.

Selection – Un De Sceaux @ 11/4

15:30 Stayers’ Hurdle

Things have been made a little trickier here thanks to the good ground and fair weather we’ve had all week. I will be bitterly disappointed if last year’s Albert Bartlett winner Unowhatimeanharry can’t get this done though. He’s carried all before him since switching to Harry Fry but a combination of the ground and the price leaves me looking elsewhere. The two I want to take are previous winner Cole Harden, and Ballyoptic. Both will love the ground and Cole Harden will leave it all out on the track as he bids to win for a second time in a pillar to post victory. Ballyoptic has had a breathing operation, which hasn’t gone unmentioned, and will hopefully give his running. If you’re nervous about the worthy favourite, have a stakes saver. But the play for me is Cole Harden and Ballyoptic to upset the applecart.

Selections – Cole Harden E/W @ 8/1 and Ballyoptic E/W @ 16/1

16:10 Brown Advisory Plate

It’s Thursday, we’ve all just lumped on the fav in the world hurdle and either booked a first class ticket to fuckedville or a first class ticket to the Caribbean. 

One of those handicaps which sometimes can throw up a decent priced winner and where you would be more inclined to stay away from the fav. Not this year. Diamond King is currently head of the market and clearly merits his place there. Previous festival form winning last years coral cup and with a trainer who seems like anything he touches turns to gold these days. More strikingly for TNS though is the fact he is on relatively the same mark as last years success which could prove another shrewd piece of placement from the wily Mr Elliott. 

The other horse we like at a decent value is the giggingstown horse, Road to Respect. Love or hate him but O Leary certainly is a proud horseman and always seems to make sure that his trainers have his horses laid out for the festival. A consistent sort all year against some decent novices in Ireland, he is sure to be run a big race.

Have a Guinness and celebrate all that is great about the great emerald because this race is going the way of the Irish.

Selections – Diamond King @ 5/1 and Road to Respect E/W @ 16/1

16:50 Stud Mares’ Novices’

A Willie Mullins favourite in Rich Ricci’s famous Pink silks?! After the way their week has gone so far you’d be inclined to steer clear, but fear not young padawans. 

This race seems to be back to Cheltenham of last year with Willie Mullins absolutely dominating the market with the loveable Let’s Dance. There were huge questions marks as to wear this versatile mare would go but as soon as she was confirmed for this she absolutely bombed in price and is now as short as 6/4 to win this race. If we’re completely honest she absolutely stinks of banker. A large number of people have been very keen on Airlie Beach for this from a long way out but with a number of the Mullins camp throwing nap all over Let’s Dance it’s hard to ignore.

Looking further down the market you’re going to get a decent enough price about some good Mare’s and one that we are interested in for this is Coillte Lass. Paul Nichols has been very sweet on this horse. She beat Dusky Legend by the same distance as La Bague Au Roi earlier on this season and is pretty much double the price of that horse. It’s hard to see much getting too close to the Willie Mullin’s pair here but if you are looking for an e/w tinkle then we believe you could do much worse than this lovely lass.

Selections – Let’s Dance @ 7/4 and Coillte Lass E/W @ 28/1

17:30 Kim Muir Handicap Chase

Hopefully you’ll all be coming into this with pockets and wallets flooded with Gravy, but for those of you that aren’t here’s to hoping we can find you that day saving bet.

Like all other big field handicaps at Cheltenham Festival there is value to be found. There’s also horses that are going to be backed off the board by those who’s heads are rolling around the betting enclosures. There’s a reason favourites have a record of around 3 or 4 winners in the last 50 odd handicaps and that is because they are incredibly competitive and it takes very little to go wrong in such big fields for your chances to be hampered immensely. 

Now then…a fellow member of TNS wrote up a fantastic pick for a handicap on Tuesday and brought a horse to my attention who decided to go for this instead of that race and so I couldn’t not throw Potters Legend your way here. A horse thats only finished out of the frame once from its 12 races thus far. The only time he missed the frame he blundered and was hampered and things just didn’t go right for him. For those reasons we’re hoping he is a Legend by name and by nature tomorrow.

In a race of this nature we feel it is more than fair to go in two handed and for those reasons I’m going to throw you another one here. That horse comes in the shape of two time course winner What’s Happening. This horse faced a serious lay off after winning here in October 2015 but came back with a very respectable run finishing a staying on second to Perfect Candiate over a 3m5f trip, so we know staying won’t be an issue for this fella. He is also running off only 137 which is the exact same weight he ran off when winning here back in 2015 in his second to last race. After dusting off the cob webs last time out, we are hoping he can run a serious race here at a very nice price.

Selections – Potters Legend E/W @ 16/1 and What’s Happening E/W @ 16/1