The festival at Cheltenham will still be in full force by the Thursday. This day is renowned for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations, but there is still enough action on the track to keep fans engaged in the racing. There are four Grade 1 races, with the Stayers Hurdle and Ryanair Chase being the two most coveted prizes of the afternoon.
When: Thursday 12th March
Where: Cheltenham Racecourse
Marsh Novices’ Chase
The action gets underway on day three with the first Grade 1 action of the day. Yorkhill and Vautour have won this race in the past. Itchy Feet will start as the favourite having won both his previous starts this campaign. However, he hasn’t come up against competition like this in the past. Faugheen has been in good form this season but hasn’t won at Cheltenham in five years. The preference would be for Fakir D’oudairies.
He won at Cheltenham last year and has won two of three starts this season. The only defeat that he has suffered was against Notebook, who will be a leading chance for a festival win himself. This race will be the start of superstardom for Fakir D’oudairies.
|A Plus Tard||+225|
This is one of the biggest races of the entire festival and is a popular race for gamblers because it is unpredictable. A case can be made for all the leading chances in the Ryanair. Frodon will be back to defend his crown and will be a popular pick. Bryony Frost made history onboard Frodon in last year’s festival when she became the first woman to ride a Grade 1 winner at the Cheltenham Festival.
However, the preference for the 2020 instalment is Min. The nine-year-old is enjoying a fine comeback this season after being written off by many at the beginning of the campaign. He won at Punchestown to start the season, before brilliantly finishing second behind Chacun Pour Soi. That second-place is a confident marker for the festival, and could prove a popular bet.
|Benie Des Dieux||+300|
The Stayers’ Hurdle will be one of the more straightforward races at the festival. The leading chance is last year’s winner Paisley Park, and it is difficult to see past him winning again this year. He won last year’s event by two-and-three-quarters lengths from Sam Spinner and has already won at Cheltenham this season. On that occasion, he won by one-and-a-quarter lengths from Summerville Boy. This could be the banker of the week.
Mares Novices’ Hurdle
This is one of the newest races at the festival, and Minella Melody will go into the race as the outright favourite. However, Willie Mullins has won all four previous instalments, which means the preference would be for Dolcita. The five-year-old has already shown progressive steps this season, after winning at Tranmere. She will have to be better at the festival, but she goes in with a really good chance.
Cheltenham Day Three Other Tips
|The Pertemps Network Final||Relegate (+1000)|
|The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate||Cepage (+1200)|
|The Fulke Walwyne Kim Muir Handicap Chase||No Comment (+1000)|
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