It was definitely a day for the bookies yesterday and to be fair, both me and Lewis found winners hard to come by. I’m feeling confident though that we can turn things round today!
Thursday Recommended Offers: ↓
The first race today is the JLT Novices Chase.
This race is only 6 years old so there’s no point looking at the trends for this race. Yorkhill on form and ability is the best horse in the race.
He does have his issues though when it comes to his jumping. He won the Neptune last year from Yanworth and Its’afreebee.
Those two horses ran very badly here earlier in the week. The form of the Neptune has worked out badly since bar the first 2 home. Yorkhill was sent chasing this season and he went 2 from 2 over. He won nicely on both start’s but he didn’t beat anything of much substance.
He had a schooling session after racing at Leopardstown a few weeks back. He did not jump well at all. He was very slow over his fences and clouted a few.
He’ll have to jump much better today if he wants to win. No doubt he has the talent but the jumping issues put me off this horse.
Plus the Mullins stable has had a shocking week so far.
Top Notch is a decent horse, he was 5th in last years Champion Hurdle and he has taken well to fences. He warmed up for the festival by winning the Scilly Isles novice chase at Sandown.
No winner of that race has won this race in the 6 years it’s been run.
That’s slightly off putting but I can’t see the horse out of the frame. I’d give Flying Angel a decent chance at odds of 14/1 for this.
He was a decent hurdler and finished 2nd in the Martin Pipe Hurdle at the festival last season. He might not have the class of a few of these but I can see him running a big race.
Disko is the one I like for this race.
This Noel Meade trained big grey gelding won his bumper and won his maiden hurdle but he was always going to be a chaser. He has been very impressive since going over the larger obstacles. He won his beginners chase easily and ran well behind A Toi Phil and Our Duke in two top novice chases.
He turned the form around with Our Duke last time out in the Flogas G1 Novice chase at Leopardstown. Which shows that he is an improving sort.
He was very impressive that day from the front and he jumped so fluently. I think Bryan Cooper will set some good fractions on this one and will put them to the test early.
He may well get away from them round the final bend. If Yorkhill makes a few errors he’ll have to go to catch this one.
At 6/1 I think DISKO is a great each way bet at odds of 6/1.
The 2nd race on the card is the Pertemps Final handicap run due to be run over 3 miles. This looks like it will be a close race with nearly all the horses in the field in with a decent chance.
This is a race in which the trends prove profitable to follow.
15 of the last 16 winners were rated lower 142 or lower. That stat alone eliminates 10 horses from the field of 24 runners.
Horses ages 8 or older have won 7 of the last 10 renewals but the younger horses have done well recently.
11 of the last 13 winners started at a double figure price and just 1 of the last 19 winners won a qualifying race for this.
The Gordon Elliott trained Sutton Manor comes out top of the trends, ticking 8 out of 9 boxes. Aubusson and old boys Fingal Bay and The Tourard Man also score highly. I had fancied Presenting Percy for this race all along but he has been put up an awful lot in the weights because of his last run.
His connections won the race last year with Mall Dini.
He should run a good race and wouldn’t rule out a place but he looks to have too much weight. Same can be said for Gayebury and Dury Duty.
They have decent chances on form but the weight will catch them out.
Aubusson is a very interesting runner and I think it is way too big of a price. It may be carrying 11-10 but the jockey claims a very valuable 7lb off it which means it can run off near bottom weight. This horse is by far the class horse in the race too. He’s been placed in 4 Grade 1’s over hurdles.
He’s ran over fences for 2 of his 3 starts this season and ran 6th in a qualifier for this race last time out to get into this. I think he’s on a very nice mark and the jockeys claim really helps.
He’s definitely worth an each way bet at 66/1. I wouldn’t put you off The Tourard Man at 66/1 either. But he has an inexperienced jockey on board.
A lot of people like Impulsive Star in this. He was impressive last time out but he was getting a lot of weight from the others. He beat Rocklander, Ballymalin, Barney Dwan, Clondaw Cian and Fingal Bay that day. Ballymalin is the one to take out of that race.
He ran a gallant race in 3rd and he was giving Impulsive star a stone in weight. Ballymalin has a 13lb swing in his favour today and I think he will reverse the placings with Impulsive Star and Rocklander. Noel Fehily rides it too which is a huge plus.
He’s been on fire this week. Fingal Bay was a decent horse in this day and won this race 3 years ago but has been very one paced the last two seasons.
The jockey claiming 7lb off it will be a big help today but I think this horse’s best days are behind him.
Sutton Manor comes from the all conquering stable of Gordon Elliott who has had a week to remember so far.
I’ve liked this horse for this race for sometime now. He may have preferred the ground to be softer but I think he’ll run a big race. He was very eye catching when 2nd in a trial for this race 2 runs back and he hacked up last time out.
He’s off a nice mark and the jockey also claims 5lb off its back. She won on Tiger Roll for the the yard earlier in the week.
This race is not one to be having a large bet on. It’s usually won by an outsider and given that Sky Bet are paying a whopping 6 places on this race
I’m going to put up 3 outsiders at big odds. SUTTON MANOR at 25/1, BALLYMALIN at 25/1 and AUBUSSON at 66/1.
The 3rd race on the card is the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. Some key trends to look at for this race are: 32 of the 33 Irish trained horses to run in this race were beaten.
Vautour did win it for the Irish last year though. 8 of the last 9 winners contested the King George this season. 10 of the last 12 winners went off at 6/1 or shorter. 6 of the last 9 winners were rated over 165.
Age is not much of a factor in this race. Course form is a must as is proven stamina.
Given that the Irish trained Empire of Dirt came out top in the trends with Un De Sceaux it could well mean back to back wins for Irish horses in this race.
Both are also the only horses rated over 165 in the race. Both have won at the festival and both are under 6/1. There are two key factors to differentiate these two though.
Empire of Dirt is a much better stayer and Un De Sceaux does not go well on good ground. The owners of this horse stated it would not win unless the ground was soft.
The ground has dried out since yesterday and it is now good.
Uxizandre won this race 2 years ago and was Tony McCoys last winner at the festival. He was off the track for over a year but had a great comeback run last time out.
There’s a good the bounce factor could come into play though. French bred horses older than 7 don’t do too well here which is a negative for both Uxizandre and Un De Sceaux.
The connections of Empire of Dirt had pondered running this horse in the the Gold Cup but decided to run here instead.
Gordon Elliotts horses are in top form and I’d favour this horse over the Willie Mullins trained Un De Sceaux, whose horses are out of form.
As I mentioned earlier 8 of the last 9 winners of this race ran in the King George Chase. Josses Hill is the only runner in the field that ran in that.
This horse has been placed at the festival 2 of the last 3 years. Nicky Henderson’s horses are in top form too. I think this horse has gone under the radar and has a live chance at 9/1.
The selection for me is EMPIRE OF DIRT but I do think Josses Hill will put up a fight.
The feature race of the day is the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle. This race was known as the World Hurdle last year and it was won by Thistlecrack.
A few interesting trends in this race: The last horse to wear headgear and win this race was in 1992. 9 of the 13 horses in this race wear headgear including Unowhatimeanharry. The Stayers Hurdle has never been won by a horse that ran in the Albert Bartlett.
Unowhatimeanharry won the Albert Bartlett. Of the 12 trends in this race those are the only two that this year’s favourite has against them.
In regards to the headgear, more horses are wearing it now, plus Unowhatimeanharry only wears a tongue tie.
As far as the Albert Bartlett trend goes, most of the winners of that go over fences their following season including Bobs Worth who won the Gold Cup.
Other than those 2 trends in which holes can be picked, Unowhatimeanharry is flawless trends wise.
He comes out joint top with Cole Harden who won this race 2 years ago.
There was a big trend against front runners in this race in the past but Cole Harden put that to bed when he made all the running in this two years ago.
He was 4th in this race last year behind Thistlecrack. He probably paid for taking him on but still a good run.
He will like the ground but he has not won a race for 2 years which is a doubt for me.
Unowhatimeanharry came out of nowhere last year and won five straight races over hurdles including the Albert Bartlett at this festival. He won very easily at the festival last year and he has done nothing wrong again this season.
He’s won a grade 2 and two grade 1’s all of which are the key trials for this race.
He was very impressive in the Long Walk and won nicely last time out in the Cleeve Hurdle. He was giving away a lot of weight that day to Cole Harden, West Approach and Ballyoptic and he gets to run off level weights today which is a big advantage.
He’s won his last 8 races over hurdles and I don’t see any reason why he can’t win again today under Noel Fehily who is going for 3 wins in a row in the Championship races this week.
Shaneshill is a decent horse, he’s been 2nd 3 years in a row at the Cheltenham Festival. I don’t see why he won’t be right there again today. He won nicely last time out and comes here in good form. Slight doubt about the Mullins horses but I think he’ll hit the frame.
Stablemate Clondaw Warrior is one I like at big odds. This horse has been an improver over the last few seasons on the flat and over hurdles. He’s a Royal Ascot winner, he’s been 2nd in a Group 2 on the flat and he’s won a Galway Hurdle over 2 miles.
He proved at Clonmel he stays 3 mile and he’s done little wrong this season. He ran a nice race behind Shaneshill last time out. Didn’t get the run of the race.
The small field was also against him. He loves big fields and a lightning fast pace which he’ll get here. Ruby Walsh’s wife owns the horse.
I think Ruby will be shrewd and he’ll ride this horse for a place. Might be worth backing it each way without Unowhatimeanharry.
It’s definitely the value in the race.
Jezki loves it around here as he proved when winning the Champion Hurdle. Had been off the track for well over a year but made a nice return to the track this season.
Won first time up and was 2nd last time out. Bit of a question about how much ability he retains from his old days and about this trip but he’s got the class to go close in this.
For me I can’t see past one horse and that is UNOWHATIMEANHARRY for trainer Harry Fry.
Clondaw Warrior w/o at odds of 12/1 is the value bet of the race.
The Brown Advisory handicap chase at 4:10 is a wide open race and isn’t a race to be getting stuck into. Only 1 of the last 15 favourites have won this race with most of the winners being double figure prices. 26 of the last 28 winners were rated under 141 and 20 of the 24 winners had previously run at this festival.
20 of the last 24 winners placed in first 4 last time out and 12 of the last 21 top 3 finishers were in the bottom 7 of the weights.
Venitia Williams, David Pipe and Nicky Henderson have won a combined 7 of the last 10 renewals.
Venitia Williams target’s this race every year and it’s no wonder both of her horses Tango De Juilley and Cold March come out top of the ratings. Tango De Juilley was 2nd in this race last year off a 1lb lower mark.
The form of that race has worked out well given that Empire Of Dirt won it. This horse run’s fresh and must have a great chance in the race yet again.
Cold March has it to do based on it’s form though. Bouvreuil has been 2nd at the last two Cheltenham Festivals. He doesn’t win often and is a tricky ride but he is another with a great chance.
I would not rule out a place but he usually finds 1 or 2 too good. Diamond King is most people’s idea of a winner. This horse win the Coral Cup at the festival last year.
He won nicely on debut over fences and ran two solid races against stiff competition. Gordon Elliott is in top form and I think this horse will go close.
Favourites have an awful record in this race. For that reason alone I’m going to pass on it.
The two for me with the best chance in this race are Starchitect and Sizing Codelco.
The Pipe’s do well in this race and their horse Starchitect is still unexposed unlike most of these. This horse was 4th in the Fred Winter 2 years ago and 5th in the County Hurdle last year. Clearly likes the track and should go well under Tom Scudamore.
He isn’t bombproof though, he can hit the odd fence. Joe Tizzard son of trainer Colin Tizzard has been grinning from ear to ear about Sizing Codelco when asked about this horse at cheltenham preview nights.
He said bar their two horses in the Gold Cup this is their best chance of a festival winner. This horse was a decent novice in Ireland for Henry de Bromhead before switching to the Tizzard stable this season. This horse was only beaten 1l by Top Notch in a decent novice chase this season.
Given that this horse is rated 140 and that horse is rated 152, I think that was a great run. Sizing Coldelco was 14lb worse off with the winner that day. It ran a lovely prep race last time out when 4th in his handicap debut over 3 mile.
That trip was just a shade too far for him and the drop back in trip will suit today. Arpege D’Alene finished in front of it that day. That horse boosted the form by running a great race in the 4 miler on Tuesday. I think SIZING CODELCO is the best bet in this race each way at great odds of 14/1.
There are no trends to go on for the Mares Novice Hurdle at 4:50. This race was only added to the festival last season and it was won by Willie Mullins.
He has a strong hand yet again today with Airlie Beach and Let’s Dance. His horses earlier on in the card would want to show up or I woudn’t be backing any of these.
Mullins has had an awful start to the festival and even his best horse by far Douvan got injured and was beaten. I will say, Let’s Dance and Airlie Beach based on form alone have a great chance. They are both the top rates mares in this race. There’s a big doubt about the trip for Let’s Dance. She didn’t get up the hill too well last year over 2 miles. I’d much prefer Airlie Beach to her.
This mare has won 7 races out of 7 and was impressive when winning the Grade 1 Royal Bond novice hurdle last time out. They’ve given the horse a break of 101 days as it was on the go since last July.
It got up the hill at Galway no bother, no problems with the trip either. She’s great value at 4/1 even though Ruby has neglected to ride her. I’d be interesting in her if the Mullins yard get’s a winner earlier on the card but I’m going to go with La Bague Au Roi. Warren Greatrex has been telling everyone for the past 6 months that it’s the best horse he has ever trained and it’s gone under the radar.
This horse has been so impressive in her career thus far.
She’s 6 from 7 and her only defeat came on ground that was too soft for her. She’ll love this good ground. She may not have beaten much this season but she’s won with ease each time.
On Demand a rank outsider is going to go off like the clappers and I think it will really suit this La Bague Au Roi’s racing style. LA BAGUE AU ROI is tremendous value at 10/1.
The last race on the card is the Kim Muir chase run over 3 mile and 2f and it’s for amatuer jockeys. Some trends to look at in this race. 14 of the last 16 winners were rated over 135. Only 6 of the last 36 winners of this race were aged 7 or younger.
That’s a bad sign for the favourite Squoateur who is 6 years old. The older horses definitely have the advantage here and it’s down to experience.
This race takes a lot of getting. 16 of the last 17 Paul Nicholls horses were unplaced which is bad news for Unioniste fans. 15 of the last 16 winners had won over 3 mile already which is bad news for Squoateur and Doctor Harper fans.
There’s only been 6 winning favourites in 40 years of this race.
Some major trends against favourite Squoateur who ranked last in my trends guide.
Southfield Royale and Doctor Harper came out tops in my trends guide. Doctor Harper was a big fancy for me in this race last year but the horse never got into the race.
He’s on the same mark again this year but he can’t be trusted. Getting back to the favourite Squouateur, even though most of the trends are against him he has 1 major plus and that is his jockey Jamie Codd who won two races here yesterday from 2 rides.
He also had a 4th on his only ride on Tuesday. He’ll need to give it the ride of its life to get it to win. There’s too many cons than pros for that horse so I’m going to pass on it.
Mall Dini was a fancy of mine last year for the Pertemps and he duly won at big odds for me. He’s had a few nice runs over fences this season to get it handicapped for this race. He’s been running over 2 mile and 2 mile 4f which is way too short for this horse.
I’m guessing that was on purpose to get a nice mark. He’s an out and out stayer and he’ll give Katy Walsh a great ride. He also didn’t do so well in the trends.
It’s mainly due to his inexperience but I’d much prefer him than Sqoauteur. Pendra the top weight has it to do to win but he does have festival form and runs well fresh so he could place for jockey Derek O’Connor.
The ones of most interest for me in this are Southfield Royale, Premier Bond and Venetian De Mai. Premier Bond was a 14l 2nd to stablemate and RSA winner Mite Bite 3 runs back.
That form have been given a big boost. Premier Bond won its next 2 starts and comes here in top form. I’m not sure this horse has the experience to win it but a bold showing at least. Venetian De Mai and Southfield Royale for me have the two best pieces of form in this race.
Venetian De Mai was 5th in the Troytown chase earlier in the season.
That race has worked out like no other handicap has in Ireland this season. Empire of Dirt won it and he’s gone on and run 2nd in a G1. He’s strongly fancied for the Ryanair earlier on the card. The 2nd in the Troytown was Abolitionist.
That horse hacked up on its next start in the Leinster National. The 4th Noble Endevour won on its next start in the Paddy Power chase and he was 3rd in the big handicap here on Tuesday.
The 7th in the race was 2nd in the Welsh National to Gold Cup hope Native River and the 8th horse Bless the Wings was 2nd in the Cross Country race here yesterday.
Venetian de mai fell on its next start in the Paddy Power Chase and it had a prep run over hurdles behind Sutton Manor last time out. 33/1 is a huge price about this horse based on that form.
The other horse I like maybe has the best form in the race. This horse finished 3 lengths in front of Native River in a novice chase off levels last season and was 4th in the 4 miler at this festival last season. Native River was 2nd in that race. Clearly that horse improved past Southfield Royale that day and has improved since.
He holds a major chance in the Gold Cup. Southfield Royale had 1 run this season, I’d ignore that run, they were only getting run under its belt, the conditions of that race did not suit. I think he could well be a handicap blot in this race.
He likes the track and is proven over further.
Has a decent jockey on board and came out joint best in the trends. SOUTHFIELD ROYALE each way at 8/1 and VENETIAN DE MAI at 33/1 each way are my selections for this race.
1:30 Disko 6/1
2:10 Suttom Manor 25/1,Ballymalin & Aubusson 66/1 all Each Way
2:50 Empire of Dirt 3/1 Win
3:30 Unowhatimeanharry 11/8 (NAP) Win
4:10 Sizing Codelco 14/1 Each Way
4:50 La Bague Au Roi 10/1 Each Way
5:30 Southfield Royale 8/1 Each Way & Venitian De Mai 33/1 Each Way