DAY Three of the Cheltenham Festival is upon us and on St Patrick’s Thursday, expect plenty of Guinness to be sunk around the track. For many, the Irish banker of the week also takes centre-stage this afternoon with Allaho headline act in the Ryanair Chase. Throw into the mix a cracking Stayers’ Hurdle featuring former winners Flooring Porter and Paisley Park – it promises to be an excellent day of action.
The action takes place on the New Course for the first time this week and begins at 1.30pm and concludes at 5.30pm. Make sure to check out the latest betting odds
1.30pm Turners Novices’ Chase (2m 4f)
Four runners, but ultimately this is a clash between Bob Olinger and Galopin Des Champs. The former was a brilliant winner in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle last term and is unbeaten in two starts this term. He looks sure to be suited by this speed test. Galopin Des Champs is a leading danger given he has looked a potential superstar in two starts over fences and impressed at Leopardstown last time out. However, this short could be just short of his optimum trip and Bob Olinger’s turn of foot could prove telling here.
Selection: Bob Olinger
2.10pm Pertemps Network Final (3m)
Sire Du Berlais is a former dual winner of this event and has to be respected off top-weight. Winter Fog looks thoroughly unexposed and shaped with stacks of promise when second on debut for Emmet Mullins at Leopardstown in December. Others towards the top of the shortlist are Alaphilippe who shaped with stacks of promise when fifth at Warwick last time out and that run can be marked up. He has been kept fresh for this event and is taken to score here.
2.50pm Ryanair Chase (2m 5f)
Irish Gold Cup hero Conflated is a fascinating runner dropped back down in trip, but this is all about Allaho. He was a stunning 12 length winner of this event last year and is unbeaten in two starts this term. He makes plenty of appeal to record successive victories in this event.
3.30pm Stayers’ Hurdle (3m)
This looks a wide-open renewal. Flooring Porter has to be respected as the defending champion, whilst Paisley Park bouned back to form when defeating Champ last time out and the 2019 winner commands respect. Klassical Dream is a former winner at the meeting, but he did disappoint in the Galmoy Hurdle last time out which was won by Royal Kahala. With that in mind, Thyme Hill looks an interesting runner. He finished second in the Long Walk Hurdle to Champ last time out and he has been kept fresh since. He is taken to come out on top here.
Selection: Thyme Hill
4.10pm Cheltenham Plate (2m 4f)
A typically ultra-competitive handicap. The Glancing Queen has progressive with every run this season and is towards the top of the shortlist along with Grand Paradis. Imperial Alcazar is already a winner over course and distance this term and is deeply respected along with former winner Simply The Betts. However, Celebre D’Allen has been sensational in three runs for Philip Hobbs since moving over from France. A mark of 141 still looks lenient and he is taken to complete the four-timer.
Selection: Celebre D’Allen
4.50pm Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (2m)
This looks ultra-competitive. Dinoblue is one of seven runners for Willie Mullins who has won five of the six renewals of this contest. She could arguably be the pick of his septet, but Brandy Love and Grangee are also given mentions as they look open to more progress. Impervious won her first three starts, before being beaten in Grade One company at Fairyhouse but it is too early to be writing her off, whilst Gordon Elliott’s team includes Party Central who impressed when landing a handicap last time out. However, preference is for Dinoblue as the manner of her 15-length debut win at Clonmel suggested she could be a potentuial superstar.
5.30pm Kim Muir (3m 2f)
Frontal Assault is strong fancied for Gordon Elliott in the finale. He ran a race full of promise when second at Fairyhouse last time out and looks to have been crying out for this step up in trip. Others who warrant a mention include stable companion Smoking Gun who was a good third at Fairyhouse on his latest start, whilst recent Leopardstown scorer School Boy Hours and the progressive Ain’t That A Shame are other leading players in the finale.
Selection: School Boy Hours