The 2019 Cheltenham Festival has treated us well so far with Tiger Roll, Band Of Outlaws and Envoi Allen all winning for us on Wednesday, so I have decided to treat myself and attend Day 3 of The Festival despite not planning on it! Let’s hope we can pick up some more winners today. Be sure to follow me on twitter @JakePriceTips for live updates from the track throughout St Patricks Thursday.
13:30 – JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m4f
We start Day 3 with the Grade 1 JLT Novices’ Chase, where Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation head the market. Despite being a huge fan of the latter horse, I tipped Real Steel in my Ante-Post article for this race, and I have no reason to abandon him here. A faller when seemingly about to beat Paloma Blue on Chase debut at Leopardstown in December, this Willie Mullins horse then went on to win by ten lengths at Fairyhouse in impressive style. This six-year-old repeated the trick at Thurles last month in a prep-race for this event, winning an open company Rated Chase by ten-lengths once more. Connections of Arkle winner Duc Des Genivres seemingly have another live chance here, with Paul Townend riding.
Real Steel tipped @ 20/1 (Now 13/2)
14:10 – Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) – 3m
I’ve had my eye on one for the Pertemps since the weights came out a few weeks ago, and thankfully he has made it into the race as number 22 of 24! Champers On Ice was a very useful Novice Hurdler back in 2016 when third in the Albert Bartlett behind Unowhatimeanharry, but never really took to fences how connections would’ve liked. He’s undoubtedly had problems in his career, but he ran well to finish fourth behind Sykes in a Haydock qualifier for this Series Final last month. Down to a mark of 135 for shrewd connections, David Pipe’s grey has a live each/way chance under a very nice weight of 10-13. Tom Scudamore takes the ride.
Champers On Ice Each/Way @ 12/1
14:50 – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) – 2m4½f
The Ryanair Chase looks an absolute belter this season, and with little rain overnight I’m going to side with Road To Respect. Noel Meade’s eight-year-old has been switched from the Gold Cup to this race this season, having finished a very respectable fourth behind Native River last season. A winner on seasonal debut of the Grade 1 JNwine Champion Chase by sixteen-lengths, this Gigginstown horse was sent of favourite for the Grade 1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December when third to Kemboy, a neck behind today’s rival Monalee. He encountered a lot of problems in running that day including stumbling on the home bend, which in my eyes means you can upgrade this run even further. We last saw Road To Respect at the Dublin Racing Fesitval, when contesting a thrilling renewal of the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup, where he went down a short-head to Gold Cup hopeful Bellshill – seven-and-a-half lengths ahead of The Storyteller. Back down to 2m4½f for the first time since winning the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at Fairyhouse in April 2017, this Festival Plate Handicap Chase winner that same year will surely go very well here over a course and distance which he clearly thrives upon.
Of the remainder, I will also put up another Irish horse to take on the favourite Footpad. This Arkle winner has failed to fire on all cylinders this season, but the same can’t be said for eleven-year-old stablemate Un De Sceaux. This 2017 Ryanair winner has only had one run this season so far, but it was a fantastic effort when only beaten four-lengths by Wednesday’s Champion Chase winner Altior at Sandown in December. Already a dual Cheltenham Festival winner himself, this classy horse still seems to have a fire burning in his heart and I’d love to see him go close again here.
Road To Respect @ 4/1
Un De Sceaux Each/Way @ 13/2
15:30 – Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) – 3m
I’m going to take on the short-priced favourite Paisley Park here as I am still not entirely convinced what the form was worth when visually very impressive on Trials Day, albeit he could completely prove me wrong here and turn out to be a superstar. Nevertheless, I’m going to take a chance on another Willie Mullins eleven-year-old legend in the shape of Faugheen. Stepped up to three-miles for the first time since 2013 last spring at Punchestown, this Rich Ricci charge ran an absolute screamer under David Mullins to beat last year’s Stayers Hurdle winner Penhill by an incredible thirteen-lengths. Second on seasonal reappearance at Punchestown in November when second to stablemate Sharjah back down to two-miles in the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle, we last saw Faugheen at Leopardstown over Christmas when running in the three-mile Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle. Travelling well in behind Apple’s Jade, Faugheen was yet to be asked a question by Ruby Walsh before taking a crushing fall at the second last. Whether he would’ve won that day or not is irrelevant as it still would’ve been a good piece of form coming into this contest, and I am hoping the old boy can create another unreal moment at the Cheltenham Festival here.
Faugheen @ 9/2
16:10 – Brown Advisory Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – 2m4½f
The Stable Plate looks a tough renewal this year, with Janika and Siruh Du Lac very closely matched on the form of their race here on Trials Day in January. I’ll take a chance that the former Nicky Henderson charge can reverse that form on 1lbs better off terms today, with his second to Hell’s Kitchen at Ascot in December reading particularly well after that rival finished nine-lengths fourth to Altior in Wednesday’s Champion Chase. The time of that aforementioned Trials Day Handicap was actually near enough the same as the Novices’ Handicap Chase on the same card, so I’ll also take a chance on Spiritofthegames, who looks much better handicapped. A winner of a Listed Novices’ Chase on debut over fences at Chepstow in October, this Dan Skelton charge was then a well beaten fourth behind La Bague Au Roi at Newbury in a Grade 2 – but this rival has of course won two Grade 1s since. His last run came on Trials Day in January when running over today’s course and distance, where he finished two-and-a-half lengths behind JLT hopeful Kildisart. From a mark of 147 this unexposed seven-year-old still looks to have improvement on his side, and last year’s County Hurdle fifth should go close here.
Janika @ 9/2
Spiritofthegames Each/Way @ 8/1
16:50 – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) – 2m1f
I had been a huge fan of Honeysuckle who unfortunately misses this due to a minor issue, but stablemate Sinoria gets my vote here instead. This point-to-point winner was fourth on Hurdles debut at Gowran Park when running on eye-catchingly at the finish, and proved that she was a good horse when destroying most of the same horses at Down Royal on Boxing Day by thirteen-lengths on Yielding ground. We last saw this Kenneth Alexander owned Mare at Punchestown in February, where she ran another cracker to win a Listed Novices’ Hurdle by three-quarters of a length back to Chosen Mate. That rival has won a Grade 2 at Naas since our selection beat him, so the form is rock solid – and running against geldings rather than her own sex makes her really stand out here. Rachael Blackmore takes the ride of this Henry De Bromhead charge, and I’d expect her to run a really big race here.
I do love a lot of the Mares in this race such as Posh Trish, Queenohearts and Lust For Glory, but Epatante looks worth taking on for me as she has won very impressively on both starts – but without needing to do much to win. I feel she’s very short to win such a competitive contest, despite clearly having superstar potential. One horse who I feel is overpriced however is Willie Mullins’ Sancta Simona, who comes into this race with a Grade 3 under her belt. A comfortable Winner on Hurdles debut at Galway in October, this six-year-old went to Down Royal in November to contest the Grade 3 Mares Novice Hurdle when keeping on well to score by one-and-a-quarter lengths. Her last start came in the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, where she finished second to stablemate Aramon. That rival has since ran well twice behind Klassical Dream, at both the Dublin Racing Festival and then in Tuesday’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Again a Mare with some decent form, I think she can go well under Mark Walsh.
Sinoria Each/Way @ 17/2
Sancta Simona Each/Way @ 16/1
17:30 – Kim Muir Handicap Chase (Class 2) – 3m2f
We end the day with the Kim Muir Handicap Chase for Amateur riders, where I fancy top jockey Jamie Codd to record a third win in three days at The Festival. Measureofmydreams has seen huge market support since connections bigged him up over the Preview Nights, and it could pay to listen to Gordon Elliot. Once a very classy Novice Chaser, this former Grade 2 winner finished third behind Native River in the 2016 National Hunt Chase. He’s had plenty of problems since, moving stables twice to now be trained at Cullentra House. Measureofmydreams made his debut for Gordon at Fairyhouse last month when finishing an eye-catching third to Snugsborough Benny in a Rated Chase, which should set him up perfectly for a crack at this Handicap. Down to a mark of 137, this eleven-year-old could round off a dream day for Veteran Horses.
Measureofmydreams @ 4/1