Cheltenham day three tips – Selections on Stayers’ Hurdle day

Cheltenham day three tips. Paisley Park can win the Stayers' Hurdle again.Cheltenham day three tips. Paisley Park can win the Stayers' Hurdle again.

Brian Healy gives his race-by-race Cheltenham day three tips and selections for Thursday’s top-class racecard.

The 2020 Cheltenham Festival enters its’ third day and the Grade One Stayers’ Hurdle is the main event of another top-class racecard which also includes the Grade One Ryanair Chase and the Grade One Marsh Novices’ Hurdle.

1:30 – Marsh 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 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
4:10 – Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f
4:50 – Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Dawn Run) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m1f
5:30 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 3m2f

The ITV Racing cameras will be on hand again to cover the best of the action from Prestbury Park with five races shown live including the feature race of the day where Paisley Park will bid to defend his crown in the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Brian Healy looks over all seven of Thursday’s scheduled races and gives his Cheltenham day three tips for every race.

CHELTENHAM DAY THREE TIPS AT A GLANCE

1:30 – MISTER FISHER (11/2, Betway)
2:10 – SKANDIBURG (12/1, Betway)
2:50 – A PLUS TARD (7/4, Unibet)
3:30 – PAISLEY PARK (4/6, Unibet)
4:10 – CLONDAW CASTLE (22/1, William Hill, each-way)
4:50 – FLORESSA (6/1, Betway)
5:30 – KILFILUM CROSS (12/1, Bet365)

1:30 – Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4f


Faugheen would be a popular winner but MISTER FISHER gets the vote having won his last two starts in tremendous style and Nicky Henderson’s charge can get day three off to the perfect start.

The Jeremy gelding was a Grade Two winner over hurdles, but he’s taken really well to chasing and arrives on hat-trick having coped with the drop in trip to readily account for Al Dancer at Doncaster in January, jumping well and only needing pushed out to score easier than the winning margin might suggest.

That win followed up a ready defeat of Good Boy Bobby over course and distance in December and there’s likely better still to come from him back up in trip for this latest run.

The runner-up from his latest success did the form no harm with a solid run in Tuesday’s Arkle Chase and with the potential for further improvement to come he could play a big part here if coping with the further rise in class.

Cheltenham day three tips. Mister Fisher can win the day three opener for Nicky Henderson.

Cheltenham day three tips. Mister Fisher can win the day three opener for Nicky Henderson.

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


SKANDIBURG looks a very progressive sort and Olly Murphy’s charge arrives here 2-2 over three miles this term. The Sageburg gelding could well progress again and make his presence felt here.

Olly Murphy’s charge showed himself to be a talented sort last term, winning twice over hurdles and running a creditable eighth in last season’s Matchbook VIP Hurdle behind the reopposing Third Wind.

All wins last term came over shorter, and having gone close on his reappearance at Market Rasen in October he was stepped up to this trip at Aintree where he was impressive in seeing off Diomede Des Mottes, travelling well and finding plenty to score by two lengths.

He ran in snatches here last time out on New Years’ Day which is a slight concern; but he powered up the hill to win in good style over Rapper and he can continue his progression despite taking a rise in class for this contest.

Raised 5lbs for that success, he could still be handily weighted for this competitive contest, while the reapplication of cheekpieces might help him to better focus his energies. He’s still unexposed as a stayer and it could be worth chancing he can find further improvement to post a big effort here.

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


Defending champion Frodon will be popular, but A PLUS TARD has looked a cut above over fences and the progressive Kapgarde gelding ought to prove a tough nut to crack here under Rachael Blackmore who can steer her partner to a second Festival success.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge won the Close Brothers’ Chase at the Festival twelve months ago before finishing a creditable third to Delta Work in a Grade One at Punchestown in April.

The drop to two miles on his reappearance might have been against him and he was beaten behind Ballyoisin; but he stepped up on that effort to lower the colours of Chacun Pour Soi next time, although he had the advantage of race-fitness. Nevertheless, he can improve again and the return to this longer trip is a positive.

With ground no issue and still relatively unexposed with the potential for better still to come he looks to hold solid claims and no surprise if he strikes again.

Cheltenham day three tips. A Plus Tard can win again at the Festival.

Cheltenham day three tips. A Plus Tard can win again at the Festival.

3:30 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m


PAISLEY PARK improved out of all recognition last term to win all five starts which culminated in a win in this race twelve months ago; Emma Lavelle’s charge can continue his dominance of the stayers’ division and mount a successful title defence.

The Oscar gelding is 2-2 this term, making a winning return to action when beating former champion Thistlecrack in the Newbury Long Distance Hurdle before readily seeing off Summerville Boy latest over course and distance in the Cleeve Hurdle.

He had looked one of the first beaten in this race twelve months ago before storming up the hill, and the latest Cleeve Hurdle was a messy race which he did well to overcome and strike in good style. There’s a suspicion that Paisley Park still has more under the hood as he won with his ears pricked last time and he ought to prove a tough nut to crack once more as he bids to land a second successive win in this race.

He can continue to dominate this division with another success and extend his unbeaten record to eight successive wins.

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


CLONDAW CASTLE might be worth chancing having impressed when getting back on the scoresheet at Warwick last month and Tom George’s charge might be able to build on that performance to follow up despite stepping up in class.

The Oscar gelding won twice last term in lesser company before posting a very good fourth in last season’s Arkle Chase where he travelled well for a long way and only started to struggle on the run to the second last fence.

That was a creditable run given he’d helped to set the pace and there was no disgrace subsequently in finishing in the same position behind Ornua next time at Aintree.

Runner-up in a Listed contest on his return he wasn’t seen to best effect here in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup before bouncing back to winning form. The bare form of his runs needs to be improved upon and a 6lbs rise makes life tougher; but he’s unexposed over this trip and a likely strong pace will suit so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him remain competitive and he can go well.

4:50 – Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Dawn Run) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m1f


Willie Mullins has won all four renewals of this race but there could be a changing of the gard this year and FLORESSA is taken to get back on the scoresheet.

The Poliglote mare finished runner-up here in a bumper at the April meeting last year and she won two of her first three starts over hurdles at Worcester and Newbury, the latter of which came in a Listed contest.

Nicky Henderson’s charge then returned from a short break to finish a close third behind the admirable Lady Buttons in in the Yorkshire Rose Hurdle at Doncaster, beaten three lengths but losing no caste in defeat having been hampered on the run-in and hanging left.

She likely remains capable of better than she was able to show that day and looks worth giving another chance in what looks a very open renewal of this race.

Cheltenham day three tips. Floressa can win the Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

Cheltenham day three tips. Floressa can win the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

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


KILFILUM CROSS found only one too good in this race twelve months ago under this rider and the Beneficial gelding is chanced to go one place better this time around.

Henry Oliver’s charge finished around four lengths’ second behind Any Second Now and ahead of The Young Master having led over the last but just unable to maintain his effort to the line. He’s finished fourth or better in four of his subsequent five outings and he found only one too good latest at Kempton when denied only by Legal Eyes when sporting cheek-pieces for the first time.

He could well build on that effort which was much more like his best and he turns out here 1lb below the mark he finished runner-up from in this race last year so he could be capable of another big effort in this contest if the slower ground doesn’t catch him out.