After another day of top class racing over at Cheltenham Festival yesterday, RacingGav is back with a huge 12pts spread across the entire day's racing on Thursday.
Don't miss RacingGav's Cheltenham Day 3 betting tips and prediction. Remember, if any of the selections take your fancy, click on the odds to add the selection to your bet slip.
Cheltenham Day 3 Prediction
1:30 Cheltenham Tips
(2m3f168y) (New) Turners Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Antepost – Mighty Potter (11/2) & Appreciate It (10/1)
Balco Coastal – 0.5pt Each Way – 35/4 (Bet365, 3 places using Each Way Extra)
For me, Mighty Potter looks a very tough nut to crack here. He flopped in last year’s Supreme but since then he has been faultless. He went to Punchestown and won the Champion Novice Hurdle. He has then won all three chases this season including Grade 1s on the last two occasions. He oozes class and the soft ground should be right up his street. This lad could well be a Gold Cup horse next season. At 8/11, he is too short for a bet now but I hope he can land for my Antepost bet at 11/2.
Appreciate It has been crying out for this step up in trip in my eyes and I’m glad to see him finally get it. He has taken to fences very well this season, readily picking up victory in his first two runs. He then went in the very hot Irish Arkle where he ran a very solid 3rd, just lacking a change of gear at the business end. El Fabiolo has franked that from by winning the Arkle on Tuesday and he is a serious contender here. If Appreciate It was an each way price, I’d have a play on him but at 11/4, he is too short now also. Fortunately, I secured 10/1 Antepost as a nice cover for Mighty Potter.
Balco Coastal and Stage Star are representing the British and whilst they are lovely horses and probably similar in ability level, they look a level below Mighty Potter here. I think Balco Coastal can improve for going left-handed though and at 12/1 (taking 35/4 for 3 places), I think he is worth an each way play here. He gave Gerri Colombe backers a fright last time in the Scilly Isles and that horse should have won the Brown Advisory yesterday (beaten in a photo when running on), franking the form.
2:10 Cheltenham Tips
3m (2m7f213y) (New) Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Antepost – Walking on Air (8.68/1 & 10/1), Bear Ghylls (22/1) & Itchy Feet (40/1)
The Bosses Oscar – 1pt Each Way – 11/1 (8 places)
Mill Green – 0.5pt Each Way – 22/1 (8 places)
In the Pertemps Final I have three Antepost bets – Walking On Air, Bear Ghylls and Itchy Feet.
Walking On Air was incredible on his hurdling debut at Newbury but he missed Cheltenham and then misfired at Aintree. His Dam, Refinement, was a Grade 1 winner over 3 miles so I always thought he would make a lovely staying chaser. I’d imagine this has been the target for a long time now and a 5lb rise for his win the last day looks very generous – Massive chance.
Bear Ghylls has had more than his fair share of issues and a season of chasing has not worked out for him. As result, he is both back over hurdles and off a lovely mark of 136 here. Two years ago, he was 4th in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and achieved a RPR of 150. He kept on that day and always looked like he would improve for going up in trip. He finally tried 3 miles last time at Chepstow and ran very well for a long way before tiring. If he is spot on after that run, he could run a huge race here.
Last but not least on the Antepost front, we have Itchy Feet. This horse was a good hurdler in his Novice days winning a Listed race before placing in a Grade 2 and the Grade 1 Supreme at Cheltenham. He then went chasing but has never really appeared to enjoy it. Finally, after what felt like forever, they reverted him back to hurdles and he won at 20/1 for us.
He only went up 5lb for that and nearly landed a Grade 2 next time but tired after having to make his own running and there was a strong head wind at Haydock that day. He has come down 1lb for that, should get a lead from something else here, has course form and I think he can run a cracker at a massive price of 40/1.
Looking fresh at the race, two horses stand out for me. Those are The Bosses Oscar and Mill Green.
The Bosses Oscar would have gone very close in the 2020 Martin Pipe if not badly hampered and not having a clear run. He then nearly won the 2021 Pertemps Final off a mark of 151 (144 with Jordan Gainford claiming 7lb). They sent him chasing which never worked out and since then, this time last year, he has been back over hurdles.
In that time, his mark has come down from 154 to 142 and he showed a return to form last time out to finish 3rd in the qualifier. He has been given a mark of 145 here but with Ben Harvey claiming 5lb, he will be running off 140, which is 4lb lower than when he was second in the race two years ago. This just feels like the master plan for this horse and he may finally land a big handicap at the Festival for his connections.
The other interesting runner is Mill Green. He has twice run very solid races at the Cheltenham Festival. He was 7th in the 2021 Martin Pipe before finishing 3rd in the 2022 Pertemps Final. He backed up his Festival run last year by finishing in the same 3rd spot at Aintree on his next run. He then has some issues and had 315 days off the track. He made a nice return to finish third and subsequently qualify for this race.
He travelled very strongly that day and looked the winner between 3 out and 2 out but he put in a bad jump at 2 out. He probably just got tired and that run should have blown away the cobwebs for a big run here.
2:50 Cheltenham Tips
2m4½f (2m4f127y) (New) Ryanair Chase (Registered As The Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Antepost – Shishkin (7.33/1, 7/1, 6/1 & 2.2/1) & Hitman (20/1)
Hitman – 0.5pt Each Way – 25/1 (Bet365 & Paddy Power, 3 places)
In the Ryanair, I think it is Shishkin’s race to lose. Even his closest rivals have to find half a stone to get near him and the remainder have to find a stone or more. He has phenomenal course form in the book with wins in the Supreme and Arkle. He then had an excuse for his no show in the Champion Chase. Since then, he flopped again in the Tingle Creek but that was believed to be due to a mixture of his wind and the trip.
They gave him a wind-op and a step up in trip for the Ascot Chase and he blew them away just like the Shishkin of old and it was right up there as a potential career best.
I have managed to get four Antepost bets on Shishkin which I’m very happy with but I could not be backing him at a shade of odds on. If the ground gets very testing, it would be a worry that his wind issues might re-surface.
My second Antepost bet is Hitman at 20/1 and he is now available at 28/1. Outside of Shishkin, this has the potential to be a very competitive race but even still, I think Hitman is being underestimated at that price. He was second in the Old Roan Chase when giving away tons of weight.
He then won the Betfair Graduation Chase at Haydock incredibly comfortably over 2m5.5f on Soft ground, albeit he was very well in at the weights that day. He made a bad mistake in the King George and was pulled up.
They gave him another try over 3m and he failed to stay. So, I think the drop back to 2m5f here is a good decision. I find it very interesting that Nicholls has now reached for the Cheekpieces when he has not previously.
If saving them for today and they have the desired effect, he could run a huge race. Nicholls put cheekpieces on Il Ridoto for the same owners after that horse was failing to deliver at the business end of his races and they worked wonders for him. At his price of 28/1, I’m definitely having an each way play here.
3:30 Cheltenham Tips
3m (2m7f213y) (New) Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Antepost – Blazing Khal (22/1), Dashel Drasher (25/1) & Flooring Porter (5/1, 5/1 & 7/1)
Teahupoo – 1pt Win – 5/2 (General)
This year’s Stayers’ Hurdle looks an absolute cracker!
I have Blazing Khal, Dashel Drasher and Flooring Porter Antepost.
Blazing Khal is at a lovely 22/1 slip and he is now 7/2, so it would be nice if that can come in. He has raced four times over hurdles and he is unbeaten. He won a Maiden Hurdle at Galway and then two Grade 2 Novice Hurdles at Cheltenham. That form has worked out well while he spent 428 days sat on the injury list.
However, he came back in the Boyne Hurdle over 2m5f and won going away impressively and proved his wellbeing that day. They have had an interrupted prep in the build up to this which is far from ideal. Horses can also sometimes “bounce” on their second run after a long absence which would be a worry here too. Would I be backing him at the current 7/2, no.
Next up I have Dashel Drasher. He is a really versatile horse in terms of running over both hurdles and fences and also over 2m4f and 3m. He is one of those horses who would run through a brick wall for you and subsequently, it hard not to have a soft spot for him. He has done little wrong this season.
He won first time out over Hurdles before running 2nd to Noble Yeats over fences with subsequent Cotswold Chase winner, Ahoy Senor back in 3rd. He then dropped back in trip over hurdles where he only found Marie’s Rock too strong. Finally, he was 2nd in the Cleeve Hurdle over 3m here on Trials Day. However, he was convincingly beaten by the reopposing Gold Tweet. The only thing in his favour is that he set the pace that day and he may be able to drop in here and save more in the tank for the business end. He could well run into a place at a big price.
Last but certainly not least, we have dual Stayers’ Hurdle winner Flooring Porter. He has been very impressive when winning this race, the past two years. The concern would be that he has not lived up that level in his two runs this year and he has had an interrupted preparation like Blazing Khal. Whilst he was beaten in the same races last season before winning this race, he did put up more of a performance in those races last year compared to this year. He loves the track and you wouldn’t want to rule him out.
Looking at the rest of the field, you could make a case for a few but you could also pick holes in the same ones from other angles. Firstly, Klassical Dream has ran his three best races when returning from a break. However, it has been a forced break which is a concern. He ran a stormer in his one run this season finishing in front of subsequent Mares’ Hurdle winner Honeysuckle home but finding Teahupoo too strong.
It also worries me that he did not find a great deal when asked in last year’s renewal. Paisley Park is another you could make a case for. His form in this race is 1733, so he usually runs his race and he will stay all day. However, he is 11 now and whilst the likely strong pace would suit, I’m happy to oppose him at his age. T
he final main contender is Teahupoo. He ran in the Champion Hurdle last year, so this is quite the change. However, he beat Klassical Dream and Honeysuckle at Fairyhouse on his first run of the season. As mentioned, Honeysuckle has franked that form. He then stepped up to 3m0.5f on Soft to Heavy ground and blew away anyone doubting whether he would stay. He is only 6 and looks to have a rock-solid chance here. At 5/2, I think he is the most likely winner and I’m playing a 1pt win bet.
4:10 Cheltenham Tips
2m4½f (2m4f127y) (New) Magners Plate Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Antepost – Il Ridoto (50/1) & Haut En Couleurs (8/1)
Datsalrightgino – 0.5pt Each Way – 10/1 (Bet365, 6 places)
Stolen Silver – 0.5pt Each Way – 33/1 (Bet365, 6 places)
Frero Banbou – 0.5pt Each Way – 10/1 (Bet365, 6 places)
In the Plate Handicap Chase I have Il Ridoto Antepost at a lovely price of 50/1 and I have also backed Haut En Couleurs Antepost at 8/1.
I thought Il Ridoto might improve significantly for the addition of Cheekpieces last time, so I backed him to win that race and this race at 50/1. He certainly improved and he won well with the front two drawing a long way clear. With that Course and Distance victory under his belt and similar ground conditions here, he must have a very solid chance off 8lb higher.
My other Antepost bet is Haut En Couleurs at 8/1. I backed this horse when I saw he would sneak into this handicap as he has been running very well in Graded company. He ran fourth in a Grade 1 behind Galopin Des Champs on his reappearance before looking the likely winner of a Grade 2 before coming down at the last. He ran equally as well in another Grade 2 last time when only finding his stablemate Janidil too strong and that one is one of the main contenders for the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase earlier on today. So, it’ll be very interesting to see how he gets on. Haut En Couleurs could well be a Graded horse in a handicap. He gets the assistance of Mikey O’Sullivan who claims 3lb and who has already had two winners this Festival. Off effectively 154 here, he would have a massive chance if running to the same RPR of 163 that he has the last twice.
Looking at the race afresh, Datsalrightgino, Stolen Silver and Frero Banbou all interest me.
Datsalrightgino has run very consistently this season and is yet to achieve a RPR of less than 139. His last two performances since going up in trip to 2m4.5f have been his best with RPRs of 149 the last twice. He has gone up 7lb in the process which is frustrating but twice he has pulled clear with impressive winners. His jumping often lets him down but if he can put in a clear round today, he must have a great chance. He previously performed best on Good ground but now he is bigger and stronger, he appears to handle the Soft ground perfectly well.
Stolen Silver looks to me like one who could be sneaking under the radar at 33/1. His Cheltenham form when completing is 22412, so he seems to love it around here. His latest run was when second in the Paddy Power Chase here on New Year’s Day. The form is right up there and linked with Il Ridoto and Midnight River yet those two are 17/2 and 9/1, whereas this lad is 33/1.
The final one that caught my eye was Frero Banbou for Venetia Williams at 11/1. Two of his best performances last season were on Heavy ground at Lingfield when winning off a mark of 134 and also when 3rd in the Grand Annual on Very Soft ground off a mark of 141. He usually races from off the pace and stays on very strongly and he has always looked like a step up in trip would suit. He finally gets that now after being campaigned over 2m and predominately on better ground. With the step up in trip likely in his favour and his mark right back down to 135, I think he has a massive chance, particularly on the very soft ground expected today.
4:50 Cheltenham Tips
2m1f (2m179y) (New) Jack De Bromhead Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (The Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle) (GBB) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Antepost – Magical Zoe (12/1), Princess Zoe (20/1) & Foxy Girl (16/1)
Selection – No bet.
This race looks extremely competitive and we also have an extremely strong looking favourite.
Nico De Boinville was so impressed by Luccia the last day that he wanted to run her in the Supreme but he was outvoted by Nicky Henderson and the owner. That is some vote of confidence from Nico.
This race is a special one as Ryanair kindly offered to sponsor the race and put in the name of Jack De Bromhead. For those of you who do not know, Jack was the son of Henry De Bromhead and he was tragically killed in a pony racing accident in September. Henry has made it very clear that he obviously would love to win the race now that it is named after his boy. I think he has a good chance with Magical Zoe and Foxy Girl.
Magical Zoe won very well the last day despite being hampered two out. She flew home to pick up those in front of her and has been put away since. The Model Kingfom was back in third and has since won before being placed in a Listed race and a Grade 2. Saylavee was back in 5th and won a Listed race next time. Likewise, Liberty Dance who finish 6th, won her next two races including a Listed race, so the form looks very solid.
Foxy Girl also has strong form too. She was 2nd to Liberty Dance who then went on to win a Listed Race next time, as already mentioned. She then beat In Excess of Willie Mullins who bolted in the next day.
The other horse that interests me is Princess Zoe. This horse is a fan’s favourite and was a serious animal on the Flat. Tony Mullins and her owner agreed to send her hurdling this season rather than breeding from her. She won on debut with a deadheat where she should have really won but she emptied and subsequently made a mess of the last.
It looked to be purely her class that got her through. She should be spot on fitness wise here and her jumping should be neater with the experience under her belt. She won the Group 1 Qatar Prix du Cadran on Heavy Ground over 2m4f on the flat, so staying will not be an issue here and she should relish the going. It would be a fantastic story if she could win this.
Ultimately, I feel my heart may well be ruling my head on these three and my head does think Luccia will be incredibly tough to beat. Therefore, I’m going to leave this race alone. At 13/8 in such a wide open and deep race, I’m happy to leave Luccia too and watch her win without a penny on.
5:30 Cheltenham Tips
3m2f (New) Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase (Sponsored By JRL Group) (GBB) (Class 2) (5yo+ 0-145)
Fontaine Collonges – 0.5pt Each Way – 25/1 (Bet365, 6 places)
Rapper – 0.5pt Each Way – 22/1 (Bet365, 6 places)
Dr Kananga – 0.5pt Each Way – 16/1 (Bet365, 6 places)
I have no Antepost bets in this race.
The only other race I had no Antepost bets in was the Cross Country but at least I had the race involved in some multiples. This race I have had next to no interest in for some reason.
I have taken a look at the race and six horses stood out for me. Stumptown, Mr Incredible and Dunboyne were three of them but they are all in the Top 4 of the betting.
At bigger prices, Dr Kananga, Rapper and Fontaine Collonges all interested me.
Dr Kananga was fantastic last spring winning two races and finishing second in the other, seeing his mark go from 113 to 140. They then give him a break and he reappeared over Hurdles when only finding Maximilian too good. That looked disappointing on the day but Maximilian has since ran third in a Grade 2 before going on to win a Grade 2 at Doncaster in January.
Now Maximilian is rated 137, that form doesn’t look bad at all. The ground was then too quick for him at Aintree and the run at Haydock over hurdles just looked to be a preparation run for this. When factoring in Darren Andrews’ claim, he is now 10lb lower than his Becher Chase run on unsuitable ground. He also gets his desired softer ground and that should see him have a great chance in this race.
Next up we have Rapper for Henry Daly. He ran out a wide margin victory over course and distance in January for which he wore first time pieces. That was also on Soft ground like he will encounter today. He went up 5lb for that but has since come back down 1lb for his 5th last time out at Sandown. That was on Good to Soft ground, over 3m and he just lacked a gear when he needed it.
He kept the cheekpieces on that day. Back over this course and distance, they switch to first time headgear again, this time a Visor. With the combination or track, trip, ground, first time headgear and the fact he is only 4lb higher (1lb when factoring in Alice’s claim) than running out an easy winner, I think he has a fantastic chance here and 22/1 underestimates him massively.
Last but not least we have Fontaine Collonges for Venetia Williams. This horse won at Haydock over 3m1.5f on Soft ground beating The Big Breakway who then went on to finish second in the Welsh Grand National. She then backed that up by finishing 4th on Soft ground at Kempton behind Remastered despite dropping back in trip to 3m.
She hit a flat spot that day but stayed on from 2 out and went fourth in the final strides, suggesting a step back up in trip would help. Everything just happened a bit quick for her down in trip around a flat track like Kempton. She is now just 3lb higher than her win, she gets her favoured soft ground and she gets stepped back up 3m2f which she should relish, big chance!
Total Outlay – 12 points.