CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL – DAY 3 (THURSDAY)

13:30 – Cheltenham JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) YORKHILL has gone from strength to strength this year and comes here chasing a hat-trick of wins. Running in the famous Wylie colours, the seven year old is the only course winner in the field. A winner of up to two miles and five furlongs over hurdles, this trip is well within his compass. With a near eighty percent strike rate, he has to be high on any shortlist. YORKHILL (WIN)

14:10 – Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Listed) Much noise has been made at the handicappers reaction to Irish challenger Presenting Percy after he trounced a fairly decent field at Fairyhouse the last day. Jockey Davy Russell (who missed out by a nose on Whisper yesterday) thinks the reaction was too harsh but as a six year old there is surely more improvement to come and he deserves a tremendous amount of respect. IMPULSIVE STAR has an eye catching profile and won a qualifier for this at Exeter in good fashion, up ten pounds today demands more but he has a lovely racing weight and is taken to follow up. Tobefair deserves a mention having won his last seven races, tough as teak he wont fail for trying but the handicapper surely has a grip of him now. IMPULSIVE STAR (E/W)

14:50 – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) Un De Sceaux looks almost certain to go off favourite in this and looks to have every chance, enigmatic he often makes blunders at his fences but as a multiple Grade One winner there is no denying his engine. UXIZANDRE won the 2015 version of this under the legendary AP McCoy, injury struck after however and he missed the entire 2016 season. Behind Un De Sceaux on his comeback run in January, he clearly has a little to find but that run will have brought him on and this is his trip. Empire Of Dirt is another high class Irish challenger who demands plenty of respect but a chance will be taken on the JP McManus runner at the odds. UXIZANDRE (WIN)

15:30 – Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) UNOWHATIMEANHARRY has been a revelation since joining Harry Fry, winning eight in a row and beating a number of rivals who re-oppose today. He is unbeaten in five over three miles and unbeaten in four at Cheltenham. The winner of the Cleeve Hurdle, the Long Distance Hurdle and the Long Walk Hurdle, all of which have been key preparation races for the Stayers’ Hurdle in recent years, he acts on any ground and although he may be a short price he doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses. Jezki has made the frame in seventeen of his twenty career runs over hurdles, has winning form at Cheltenham and is proven over the trip so rates at the main danger, while 2015 World Hurdle winner Cole Harden and the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Ballyoptic also have place claims. UNOWHATIMEANHARRY (WIN)

16:10 – Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) The handicap races at the festival are extremely competitive affairs and as such it can pay to rely on previous race stats to whittle down the field. Trainer David Pipe has an excellent record in this race, winning three renewals since 2010 and as such all his entrants warrant respect. His best chance looks to be STARCHITECT who was a respectable fifth in last years’ Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle and, racing off a weight of 10stone 11lbs and off an official rating of 143 (both of which are in keeping with previous winners) he looks to have a solid each way chance. STARCHITECT (E/W)

16:50 – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) Willie Mullins holds a strong hand here with the two top rated mares in LETS DANCE and Airlie Beach. The former gets the vote and is on a four-race winning streak. She was behind Apple’s Jade in April and we saw that mare win the Mares Hurdle on Tuesday. She has course experience after finishing fourth in last year’s Triumph Hurdle. She stays further so the new course should suit and is the pick ahead of La Bague Au Roi, who has taken well to hurdles; she is likely to be a pace angle into this contest. LETS DANCE (WIN)

17:30 – Kim Muir Challenge Cup A wide-open handicap for the Amateur jockeys where plenty have chances. Hadrian’s Approach showed he was coming back to form when fourth in the Hennessy off this mark. Potters Cross is one that is likely to stay but can be untidy in the jumping department. Mall Dini won last season’s Pertemps Hurdle and has Katy Walsh on board, so it shortlisted but the vote goes to DOCTOR HARPER. David Pipe has twice trained the winner of this race, cheekpieces and tongue-tie are on first-time plus Lisa O’Neill gets the leg up after her win in the four-miler on Tuesday. This nine year old was second over course and distance in January and is a leading contender. DOCTOR HARPER (E/W)

Don’t forget to download our free Cheltenham Festival 2017 Guide (Just click the image below to download your free copy)


Like our Facebook page for exclusive tips, content and more.