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2019 Cheltenham Festival day three tips - Through-the-card selections for Cheltenham's St Patrick's Day racecard

The Cheltenham Festival enters day three on Thursday.

Brian Healy looks through the day three Cheltenham Festival racecard, and he gives his race-by-race selections for all seven contests on the St Patrick's Day racecard.

Thursday sees the third day of the Cheltenham Festival go to post, and another top-class St Patrick’s Day racecard at Prestbury Park features a further trio of Grade One contests spearheaded by the Stayers’ Hurdle which gets underway 3.30pm.

Seven races in all will face the starters’ tape on Thursday, and the ITV Racing cameras will again be on hand to capture the best of the day’s action with five races shown live throughout the afternoon.

1:30 - JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4f
2:10 - Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m
2:50 - Ryanair Chase (Registered As The Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f
3:30 - Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
4:10 - Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f
4:50 - National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Reg' As Dawn Run) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m1f
5:30 - Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 3m2f

Ed Chamberlain and the team will be on hand again to offer their expert tips, insights and post-race analysis on another exciting and dramatic day at the Cheltenham Festival, and Brian Healy gives his day three race-by-race selections.

1:30 - JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4f

LOSTINTRANSLATION (3/1, Bet365) and Defi Du Seuil have a win each in their two clashes this term with Colin Tizzard’s charge getting the better of the 2017 Triumph Hurdle winner in the Dipper Novices’ Chase here on New Years’ Day; but Philip Hobbs’ charge evened the score at Sandown in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase last time.

A return to this venue and going left-handed could see the Tizzard charge return to winning form, and the Flemensfirth gelding can retake the lead in his battle with his old foe.

A smart hurdler, scoring in minor company last term at Newbury in soft ground prior to disappointing in the Rossington Main Hurdle where the heavy ground probably caught him out; he returned to better form in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, finishing seventh prior to getting to within a half-length of Black Op when upped to this trip.

Twice beaten over fences behind La Bague Au Roi, he might have gone close on his second outing at Newbury but for a really bad mistake; he did well to finish third in the circumstances, but he improved to get the better of Defi Du Seuil here on New Years’ Day, strong at the finish to get back up to deny the Hobbs runner having looked beaten on the run-in.

He had no answer to the same rival at Sandown, going down by three-parts of a length; but there is likely to be little between the two again in this latest rematch, although a return to this venue and back racing left-handed could see him in a better light, and he can get back on the scoresheet.

Lostintranslation can win the JLT Novices' Chase on Thursday.

2:10 - Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m

Ian Williams’ FIRST ASSIGNMENT (11/1, Unibet, each-way) has some very good form to his name over timber, winning three times in all from eight starts with successes at Huntingdon last January, and then returning from almost eight months off the track to register further wins here which include in a Listed contest back in November where he ran out a nine lengths’ winner over Boyhood.

The Vinnie Roe gelding was quickly turned out just seven days later to contest the Grade Three Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, where he eventually finished third having been run down late by Paisley Park and possibly just feeling that effort coming too soon.

That form has been significantly franked by the exploits of the winner who has won both the Long Walk Hurdle and the Cleeve Huhrdle since; as well as the runner-up who won the Rendlesham Hurdle next time out.

Williams’ charge produced another solid effort to finish third over a longer trip behind Keeper Hill at Warwick when last seen, giving the winner 8lbs; whilst the runner-up from that contest has won since to further boost his lines of form. 

As a result, he remains fairly treated off a mark of 142 coming into this contest, and he has been given a breather since his last outing so he could well have better to come. 

Trip and ground are no problem, although arguably his best form has come on a better surface; but he is 2-2 at Cheltenham and he can continue to give a good account of himself from this workable mark.

First Assignment (right) can win the Pertemps Final for Ian Williams.

2:50 - Ryanair Chase (Registered As The Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f

MONALEE (9/2, Paddy Power) could be set to join an illustrious list of winners in this race, with Henry De Bromhead’s runner likely to bid to follow up the yard’s win in the race twelve months ago when Balko Des Flos outgunned Un De Sceaux to land top honours.

The Milan gelding has shown himself to be a top-class performer over the larger obstacles, although he was let down somewhat by his jumping during his novice campaign last term.

Having won on his chase debut at Punchestown, he was a faller at Leopardstown next time out behind Shattered Love prior to beating Al Boum Photo in the Flogas Novices’ Chase. He then chased home Presenting Percy in the RSA Chase, finishing seven lengths adrift of that rival.

He fell behind The Storyteller in the Growise Champion Chase, falling two out when still travelling well; but he has shown no such jumping problems this term and his shrewd yard appear to have ironed out any issues in that department.

Third on his reappearance behind Snow Falcon at Down Royal in the Chase, he probably needed that run after six months off the track, and he subsequently went one better despite proving no match for Kemboy in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown.

That was over three miles however, and he opened his account for the campaign when dropping back in trip with a relatively straightforward win over Anibale Fly to win the Red Mills Chase when last seen.

Proven on a range of underfoot conditions, he ought to go well in this contest, and with plenty of proven form at this level, he could prove a tough nut to crack although he may not want to get embroiled in a scrap.

Monalee can win Thursday's Ryanair Chase,

3:30 - Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m

Paisley Park would be an emotional victor for his owner Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, and Emma Lavelle’s star boasts outstanding claims; while Faugheen would be a hugely popular winner should Willie Mullins’ charge return to winning ways.

But, but at longer odds, Cleeve Hurdle third BLACK OP (14/1, Ladbrokes, each-way) could be worth keeping onside, and Tom George’s charge can turn in a big performance despite having been beaten behind Paisley Park last time out.

The Sandmason gelding twice finished runner-up here last term, behind Santini in the Classic Novices’ Hurdle prior to chasing home Samcro in the Ballymore Hurdle; he subsequently finished his season on a high when beating Lostintranslation to win the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on his final outing.

With the size and build of a chaser, the eight-year old had been expected to make his mark over the larger obstacles this term; but things haven’t gone to plan, and he hasn’t looked happy in either start over fences at Exeter and Cheltenham where he finished third both times.

However, he shaped well back over hurdles in the Cleeve Hurdle when trying three miles and having taken up the running after the second last, he ran out of puff heading to the last and he had no answer as the front pair sprinted away from him. He still finished ten lengths ahead of Sam Spinner, who looked more like his old self, and he could improve for that run.

He didn’t appear to see out his two earlier efforts over fences, so it is possible that he wasn’t fully wound up in that Cleeve Hurdle outing; but he could take a big step in the right direction with that run under his belt now.

A winner between the flags in the point-to-point sphere, he may still make into a very smart chaser in the future; but his immediate future lies over hurdles, and he could still have some further progress to come over the smaller obstacles. 

He does has some ground to make up with Emma Lavelle’s charge from their Cleeve Hurdle battle, but it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see him find another jolt of improvement and he can post a big effort in what looks a relatively open contest even allowing for what Paisley Park has achieved this season.

Black Op (centre) can cause a Stayers' Hurdle upset.

4:10 - Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f

AZZERTI (16/1, William Hill, each-way) boasts some very solid handicap form over hurdles at a decent level, and Alan King’s charge could prove to be an even better handicap chaser not that he appears to be steadily finding his feet over fences.

Possibly in need of his return over hurdles at Chepstow after almost five months off when finishing down the field in the Silver Trophy behind Garo De Juilley, the Voix Du Nord gelding resumed his chasing career at Ascot next time where he wasn’t beaten far behind Wenyerreaddyfreddie.

He has gone on though to win two of his next three starts, scoring at Ascot and Ludlow either side of a fall here behind Kildisart where he was still holding every chance, and still with the potential for better over the larger obstacles he can remain competitive.

He was entitled to win his Ludlow outing against just two other rivals, and there is still room for him to brush up on his jumping as he wasn’t altogether fluent on a couple of occasions.

This is obviously a much tougher test of his credentials, and his jumping will be put under a more serious examination in this competitive contest; but he appears to be going the right way as a chaser, and he remains on a very workable mark. With winning form in soft ground over both hurdles and fences, he could find another jolt of improvement to post and a big run wouldn’t come as a surprise.

Azzerti (right) can post a big run in the Brown Advisory and Merribelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase.

4:50 - National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Reg' As Dawn Run) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m1f

The race has had some of its’ lustre taken away when Henry De Bromhead ruled out his rising star Honeysuckle from the race, leaving EPATANTE (6/4, Ladbrokes) at the head of affairs in the betting market, and Nicky Henderson’s charge can end Willie Mullins’ dominance of this race with another success.

The No Risk At All Mare was very smart in France, winning twice in bumpers which included in a Grade One at Saint Cloud where she ran out a three lengths’ winner over Eveiduboulay, after which he was bought by JP McManus and sent to Seven Barrows.

2-2 over hurdles, scoring at Kempton in November and then following up three months later at Exeter, he looked a star in the making in the latter when beating Makety by almost four lengths. He travelled really well throughout that contest, only needing to be pushed out when sent to the front two hurdles from home and he won with his head in his chest.

He looked a potentially top-class prospect, and sure to have further improvement to come he could prove a tough nut to crack despite some very promising rivals in opposition. The form of that last win doesn’t amount to great deal, and others in the race have achieved more coming into this contest than has been the case with Nicky Henderson’s charge.

However, the application of a first-time hood could prove a source of improvement, while she gets a valuable weight allowance which sees her get 5lbs from the likes of Posh Trish, Sinoria and Sancta Simona; she can take full advantage of that concession to extend her unbeaten record over hurdles to three wins from three starts.

5:30 - Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 3m2f

ITS ALL GUESSWORK (9/1, Coral) carries the same colours as last year’s runner-up Mall Dini, but Gordon Elliott’s charge could go one place better than that one, and the Mahler gelding ought to go close here.

A very useful hurdler, winning at Bellewstown and making the frame in starts at Galway and Kilbeggan as well as here behind Brillare Momento, the Mahler gelding has taken well to the larger obstacles and he has shown good form over fences where he has only once finished outside the frame. 

Third on his chase debut behind Minella Beau, he collected back-to-back silver medals at Kilbeggan and Listowel prior to winning at Navan in September where he ran out a six lengths’ victor over Rueben James; and he looked set to go close when falling at the last in the Munster National when still travelling well enough .

Given a break on the back of that mishap, he showed no ill effects to quickly bounce back with a good third over hurdles at Punchestown following four months off where he finished eight lengths’ third behind Cap York. 

He caught the eye with the way he travelled into the race, but late mistakes robbed him of valuable momentum and probably a winning chance, although he finished to good effect.

Returning back over fences here, he could build on that outing to go close under top amatuer Barry O’Neil.


1:30 - LOSTINTRANSLATION (3/1, Bet365)

2:10 - FIRST ASSIGNMENT (11/1, Unibet, each-way)

2:50 - MONALEE (9/2, Paddy Power

3:30 - BLACK OP (14/1, Ladbrokes, each-way

4:10 - AZZERTI (16/1, William Hill, each-way)

4:50 - EPATANTE (6/4, Ladbrokes)

5:30 - ITS ALL GUESSWORK (9/1, Coral)

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2019 Cheltenham Festival day three tips - Through-the-card selections for Cheltenham's St Patrick's Day racecard

Brian Healy looks through the day three Cheltenham Festival racecard, and he gives his race-by-race selections for all seven contests on the St Patrick's Day racecard.

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