The big race on day 3 is the Stayers Hurdle, it looks a wide-open renewal this season with Blazing Khal currently heading the market. The Charles Byrnes runner is unbeaten in his last 5 starts including success in grade 2 here at Cheltenham. He needs to totally prove himself under these conditions over this trip though and whilst on the upgrade I’m happy to look for a more proven runner.
You can’t get much more proven that Flooring Porter a dual winner of this race he shaped as if needed the tun last time which is no surprise given that he will only have been trained with this race in mind. Conditions will be fine and he could just once again get the run of things. It`s not often you see a horse of this profile at the price he is currently to defend his crown and offers some value.
Of the others Gold Tweet has not been given the credit he should for his victory in Cleeve hurdle and should offers fair each way value.
Selection: Flooring Porter Each Way Alternative: Gold Tweet
Yet another handicap this week in which JP Mc Manus currently has the favourite in the shape of So Scottish for the excellent Emmet Mullins. This looks to have been the target all season and seems to have been kept fresh for this race after his success at Ascot on handicap debut. Whilst he handles cut I`m just mindful that he might be better on a sounder surface and that is my only concern. For all the success Willie Mullins has at the Cheltenham festival he doesn’t train many handicap chase winners. That could be about to change though in the shape of Haut En Couleurs. He`s top weight here for a reason given some of his graded form like for example his second to Janadil last time out. Proven under these conditions he also ran well enough here last year at the festival when finishing sixth.
At bigger odds War Lord could be the type to run well he finished behind Edawardstone in last season Arkle and looked to be coming to hand when showing more promise at Wetherby when last seen. He a interesting contender from a reduced handicap mark.
The recent rain will be welcome for the Venetia Wiliams trained Frero Banbau, He has some good handicap form to his name in the last year all of which over the minimum distance of 2 mile, He has though on numerous occasions given the impression that he would have more to offer when stepped up in distance. He sneaks in here on a handy mark and a big run is expected.
Selection Frero Banbou Each Way Alternative War Lord
The unbeaten Luccia looks a mare to follow for the Nicky Henderson team, and is likely to make a bold bid to she keep her unbeaten record going in the Mares Novice. She seems an uncomplicate type and should be hard to beat, however there is not much juice in her price given the rise in grade.
Magical Zoe won a Grade 2 at down Royal when last seen she will need to brush up on her jumping but not sure how much she still has in the tank, soft ground will suit and she looks a player. In what would be an emotional victory for Henry De Bromhead it’s his other runner Foxy Girl who I also want to have on my side. It will take some step up to win a maiden hurdle and then take this but she has listed form on France as a 3-year-old and again conditions will be no issue.
Selection Magical Zoe Each Way Alternative Foxy Girl
Day 3 closes with the Kim Mur in what looks a typical wide-open race. Beauport has taken well to fences including a listed chase success, he looks all about stamina and could just be well treated off 143 given his form in open company. Ben Pauling’s runners always have to be respected in Cheltenham handicaps and of his 2 runners here I think Slipway has more in his favour. He looks all about stamina and is likely to be running on when many have cried enough here.
Selection Beauport Each Way Alternative Slipway