2020 Cheltenham Festival day three tips – Thursday’s top tips
Jon Vine takes a look through Thursday’s card and provides readers with his 2020 Cheltenham Festival day three tips on Thursday 12th March.
St Patrick’s Day at the Cheltenham Festival is always a momentous occasion, with three fantastic Grade Ones featuring on Thursday’s card. Day three in 2019 will go down as one of the most emotional and memorable days in Festival history, and the two heroes from that afternoon, Frodon and Paisley Park will return to Cheltenham this week and try to retain their titles.
I’ve taken a look through the card in full and provided my Cheltenham Festival day two tips.
Cheltenham Festival Day Two Tips
Marsh Novices’ Chase Tips
There was barely a dry eye in the house when “the machine” Faugheen won the Flogas Novices’ Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival last month. If Willie Mullins’ former Champion Hurdle winner was to win the opener on St Patrick’s Day, the outpouring of emotion from the stands may lift the roof right off Prestbury Park. Yet, Willie Mullins’ teenager has slid from favoritism out to 8/1 in recent weeks, and I have a feeling Rich Ricci may save his teenage star for Punchestown.
If ALLAHO was to turn up on day three, then he would definitely feature amongst my Cheltenham Festival day three tips. The team is still said to be undecided between this race and the RSA Chase on day two. I just think two-and-a-half miles would suit him better and this is certainly the weaker of the two races. Yet, while his participation remains up in the air, I can’t bring myself to back him just yet.
The other runner who holds strong appeal for me is MISTER FISHER. I was really taken with the style in which Nicky Henderson’s charge swept past Good Boy Bobby to win the Ryman’s here in November. It reminded me of Defi Du Seuil’s winning performance in this race 12 months ago. Mister Fisher then proved he had more than enough speed and class to win over two miles at Doncaster, battling bravely to beat Al Dancer and Lisp to the Grade Two Lightning Chase.
Henderson has left the option of the Arkle open for this progressive novice. Good ground is clearly key to Mister Fisher’s chances though, and the going at Cheltenham will undoubtedly be better on day three than day one, so the Marsh Novices’ Chase looks his most suitable race. If he can sit just off the pace and strike turning for home, he has a turn-of-foot that even Allaho should be worried about. He looks an excellent each-way Cheltenham Festival tip.
Pertemps Final Tips
Gordon Elliott boasts an excellent recent record in the Pertemps Final, and last year’s winner, Sire Du Berlais cannot be discounted, even under the burden of top-weight. That being said, I cannot leave THE STORYTELLER out of my Cheltenham Festival day three tips, as there’s clearly been a plot to get this former Grade One-winning chaser into this handicap.
Having won the Brown Advisory Plate here as a novice, The Storyteller then struggled during his second season over fences. On his return to hurdling, Elliott’s nine-year-old beat two future winners at Clonmel. A tactful Davy Russell ride then helped The Storyteller book his spot in this final with a sneaky sixth in the qualifier at Leopardstown. A horse of The Storyteller’s class should have no trouble contending with 11-9 on his back.
While The Storyteller is one of my strongest Cheltenham Festival tips in the handicaps, I’m really keen on ONE FOR THE TEAM’S chances in this final. Nick Williams’ hurdler showed excellent consistency in big staying handicaps during the first half of the season, before proving his undoubted class with a 14-length triumph on his latest outing at Newbury.
An outing in the Albert Bartlett remains a possibility, but I think Williams will have missed a trick if he doesn’t chuck One For The Team into this handicap. He could make a big splash off his mark of 142. One For The Team joins The Storyteller in my Pertemps Final tips.
Ryanair Chase Tips
I’ve studied the form, looked at the trends and listened to quotes from connections of all the leading contenders in this year’s Ryanair. I still don’t know who’s going to win. You could make a case for any of the leading quartet in the betting, while the likes of Saint Calvados, Aso, and Duc Des Genievres are not without each-way chances.
The most likely winner of the race looks to be A PLUS TARD, so I’ll tentatively include him in my Cheltenham Festival day three tips. I think Henry De Bromhead’s chaser brings the best seasonal form to the table, having beaten Chacun Pour Soi over Christmas, and is the only runner who seems to be open to a significant amount of improvement.
12-months ago, A Plus Tard looked a Grade One-quality horse running in a handicap when winning the Northern Trust. De Bromhead’s charge has gone on to prove that this term. I’m confident two-and-a-half miles on decent enough ground will prove to be his best trip. A Plus Tard is one of Rachael Blackmore’s best chances at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.
Stayers’ Hurdle Tips
Whereas I have only a small amount of confidence that I’ve got the Ryanair right, the Stayers’ Hurdle looks much more clear-cut. PAISLEY PARK is the best-staying hurdler on the planet at the moment and, barring an accident in the jumping department, he’s going to retain his title.
Emma Lavelle’s star has looked a more composed, mature horse this season. Although his wins in the Long Distance Hurdle and the Cleeve Hurdle have only been narrow, Paisley Park clearly had plenty in hand when winning on both occasions.
Of those sitting on lengthy prices, BACARDYS offers the most each-way appeal at 25/1 with William Hill. Summerville Boy and Emitom are well worth considering too. Yet, I think the chances of either dethroning Paisley Park in the Stayers’ Hurdle are slim-to-none. He’ll be the lynchpin in my Cheltenham Festival day three tips, despite his unappealing odds-on price-tag.
Brown Advisory Plate Tips
Having tipped Siruh Du Lac to win at 7/1 last season, I’m going for two long-odds Cheltenham Festival tips in the 2020 Plate. There are some very classy horses sitting at the top of the weights, with Shattered Love’s name catching the eye on 20/1 with Unibet. MISTER WHITAKER is another who’s been tried at the highest level, and I’m praying Mick Channon chooses this race over a return to the Ultima.
All of Mister Whitaker’s last three victories have come over course-and-distance. Having won on Trials Day, Channon’s charge won the Northern Trust in 2018, and rounded off a poor campaign last season with another victory at Cheltenham’s April meeting. Mister Whitaker has only been out twice this term, finishing an eye-catching fifth here on New Year’s Day, before pulling up in the Cotswold Chase. As he clearly doesn’t produce his best over three miles, the Brown Advisory Plate looks ideal and Mister Whitaker has the class to carry 11-8 to victory.
The second of my Cheltenham Festival Day three tips in this handicap will be CLONDAW CASTLE. I had my reservations as to whether last year’s Arkle fourth could see out two-and-a-half miles, especially after a limp showing in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. Yet, any worries about the trip were dispelled at Warwick, as Tom George’s mount sauntered to victory over a decent-quality field.
I was delighted when Newbury’s Greatwood card was washed away last week, as Tom George had intended on running Clondaw Castle in that handicap. I think he’s still very well-handicapped running off 149, and I’m confident Clondaw Castle can contend in what looks a wide-open renewal of the Plate.
Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Tips
There’s a chance Fujimoto Flyer could end up here, as the trip would suit her more than the Triumph or the Boodles, and Emmet Mullins’ juvenile will be much shorter than 20/1 if she is confirmed. Santa Rossa has a good each-way chance too. However, I think you have to back at least one of Willie Mullins’ entrants in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Ireland’s Champion Trainer has won all four renewals of this race. Even when his chances seemed bleak 12-months ago, 50/1 and 66/1 shots came through to hand Mullins a shock 1-2 in this Grade Two. Quotes from Mullins’ stable tour suggest Lamarckise is Willie’s best chance of a fifth-straight victory. I, however, would rather include COLREEVY in my Cheltenham Festival tips.
A Grade One winner of a bumper at Punchestown last season, Colreevy has won one of her three outings over hurdles. Mullins’ charge was really pushing Minella Melody last time out at Fairyhouse too, and might have finished even closer to the favorite had it not been for a slow jump at the last. Colreevy is a strong stayer and is proven on all kinds of ground. She looks a solid each-way Cheltenham Festival tip.
Kim Muir Tips
All of the last ten winners of the Kim Muir carried at least 11-4 on their back, so it’s clear the classier horses at the head of the weights are the ones to side with. I tipped up Plan Of Attack at 33/1 for this race back in January. Henry De Bromhead’s novice has been backed into 12/1 with bet365, and I still think he has an excellent chance.
If Mulcahys Hill was to run here over the Ultima, then I’d be very keen to back Warren Greatrex’s charge at an each-way price. However, performance this season has helped LE BREUIL drop below the 145-ceiling for the Kim Muir and he’ll be the last of my Cheltenham Festival day three tips.
Under a fantastic ride by top amateur Jamie Codd, Ben Pauling’s stayer saw off Discorama to win the National Hunt Chase 12 months ago. Le Brueil has been well beaten in both the Becher and the Classic Chase this term. However, I don’t think his jockey was that keen to get fully involved in either of those races.
“The Coddfather” was in the saddle again as he guided Le Breuil over the National fences for the first time in December. Ben Pauling has managed to secure Codd’s services again at the Festival, which greatly enhances his already strong chances.