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2019 JLT Novices' Chase tips - Two against the field for Thursday's day three Cheltenham Festival opener

Colin Tizzard's Lostintranslation can go close in Thursday's Grade One opener.

Brian Healy looks over the potential runners in Thurday's opening race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival and he gives his two against the field.

The third day of the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday gets underway at 1.30pm with the JLT Novices’ Chase, and another typically competitive renewal awaits punters in this classy contest.

This 2m4f contest is a relatively new addition to the Cheltenham Festival roster, having its’ first running in 2011; but a notable array of big-name winners such as Yorkhill, Shattered Love, Vautour, Taquin Du Seuil and Sir Des Champs have all claimed this top prize, and the race can have future bearings on both the Champion Chase and Gold Cup.

The first of seven races on the day, a maximum field of 20 runners goes to post for this valuable contest, each bidding to land a first prize of almost £90,000.

Brian Healy has taken a look at the potential big race field for the Thursday opener, and he gives his two against the field who should go well.

Willie Mullins boasts an excellent record in this race, winning four times which includes Yorkhill two years ago; the County Carlow handler looks to hold solid claims of landing a fifth success in the race and PRAVALAGUNA (EW) (16/1, William Hill) could post a big run.

The Great Pretender mare was a decent performer over hurdles, but since switching to the larger obstacles she has come into her own with back-to-back wins at Limerick and Naas, the latter of which came in Listed company where she ran out a comfortable winner over Baie Des Iles.

That win might have been even easier had she not made a bad mistake four out which saw her rider briefly without irons; but she was quick to pick up the bit again, and despite another mistake at the last fence she ran out a comfortable wide margin winner.

She is sure to have even more to offer over the larger obstacles on that evidence, and she receives 7lbs from the boys which could prove a significant concession. While she does probably need to brush up on her jumping over these stiff obstacles, it would be no surprise to see her going well with a clear round.

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.


PRAVALAGUNA (EW) (16/1, William Hill), LOSTINTRANSLATION (3/1, Bet365)

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2019 JLT Novices' Chase tips - Two against the field for Thursday's day three Cheltenham Festival opener

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