Is the glass half-full or half-empty at the half-way stage?
We’ve reached the half-way stage of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival and boy, what a rollercoaster it’s been!
With another couple of short-priced favourites lined up to potential spank us bookies again on St. Patricks Thursday, we’ve got our eye on some lesser-known fancies for you all to consider.
With Great Britain closing the gap on Ireland in the BetBright Cup after a solid Ladies’ Day showing. Ireland now lead 8-6 on the scoreboard – this could be the day that makes or breaks the title!
Here’s our Day Three picks and advice:
1.30 Cheltenham – JLT Novices´ Chase
The JLT looks a four horse race between Apache Stronghold, Ptit Zig, Valseur Lido and Vautour. The last named is the race 6/4 favourite, but that price looks very skinny on what we’ve seen this season. Ptit Zig comes here on the back of a fall and may not enjoy the fast ground.
The two value options are Apache Stronghold and VALSEUR LIDO and we are going to side with the latter who is taken to reverse their last time out Leopardstown run.
On faster ground dropping slightly in trip, we think it will suit the Gigginstown House Stud horse better given his superior travelling and jumping abilities.
2.05 Cheltenham – Pertemps Network Final
Another big field handicap to try and solve and we’ve narrowed down the field to three; Big Easy, The Tourard Man and Trustan Times. BIG EASY is the solid option of the trio. He has the most scope for improvement, is sure to stay and will love the quick ground.
TRUSTAN TIMES was a gallant fourth in this race last year and now comes here on a two pounds lower mark. The 2015 running doesn’t look as strong so we’ll side with him. Given 24 horses go to post THE TOURAD MAN also warrants a bet given he is a big price. He’s a lightly-raced horse, who will stay and has been in good form this season.
We’re also going money-back if your horse finishes second or third in the Pertemps, click below for further details!
2.40 Cheltenham – Ryanair Chase
A very competitive running of the Ryanair Chase where we have the field down to five; Balder Succes, Don Cossack, Foxrock, Taquin De Seuil and Ma Filleule. Faster ground and a big field may not suit Balder Succes. The quickening conditions possibly hinder the chances of Foxrock, too. Taquin De Seuil is a horse we love, he has so much ability, but his jumping leaves him down.
The two we’ve narrowed it down to are DON COSSACK and Ma Filleule. The gelding will just get the nod given his form this season has been solid. He looks a completely different horse to 2014. His strong travelling and slick jumping was always evident, but his ability to finish his races has improved dramatically. He may give Michael O’Leary a win in his own race.
3.20 Cheltenham – Ladbrokes World Hurdle
Another competitive Championship race where over a handful of horses look to have genuine chances of scoring. The British challenge and form looks stronger than the Irish in this race and we’ll side with them. The improving SAPHIR DE RHEU is just going to get the nod. His win last time out in the Cleeve Hurdle looked a classy effort.
At the age of six, he must be still improving and he is taken to give Paul Nicholls yet another winner in this race. Hopefully the ground isn’t too quick for him. There looks to be plenty of pace on in this race and at the prices AT FISHERS CROSS looks worth an each-way play, too. He was a good third in the race last year when it looked a much stronger running.
First time blinkers are interesting and it would be great to see the legendary AP McCoy get a winner.
4.00 Cheltenham – Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate
Two Irish horses that rarely get to race on their favoured fast ground at the Emerald Isle are BURN AND TURN and RAWNAQ. The mare Burn And Turn loves fast ground, it aids her travelling and jumping so she could outrun her price.
The second behind Road To Riches in the Galway Plate looks more than useful now. Rawnaq’s recent victory over Gilgamboa is another piece of form that looks SOUND. He may be underrated coming in here given his big-priced win last time out, but connections have supposedly sorted out some issues he had and with him running on his favoured ground he can outrun his big price.
4.40 Cheltenham – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase
CLONDAW KNIGHT probably had too much use made of him on soft ground last time out at Ascot. Back on a quicker surface with a more restrained ride he may be able to make use of his sound jumping. A first time tongue-tie is a little worrying, but he looks worth chancing at the prices.
HEANEY has got some very useful form in his native Ireland. The run last time out behind the useful Foxrock looks sound now and it was encouraging to see him finish off his race well. Tom Taaffe’s horse has form on good ground so this terrain my see another solid effort.