Cheltenham 2020 Day Three: Faugheen to start day off with a bang for punters
Wednesday’s Cheltenham festival was a memorable day for JP McManus with four winners, a 1020/1 accumulator, few if any would have been on it, bar maybe JP.
Thursday starts off with a bang as punter’s favourite Faugheen goes to post in the first race, the Marsh Novices’ Chase at 1.30pm
Over the last number of years, Faugheen has been a frustration, mixing massive wins with crushing defeats and Faugheen followers just never know which horse will turn up, however, his last three runs all over the bigger obstacles, have been impressive.
He saw off market leader Samcro more than impressively at Limerick over Christmas and follow that up with a fighting display to win in Leopardstown last month.
On the back of those wins, it’s hard to look past the fan’s favourite.
Verdict – Faugheen to win at 9/2
Pertemps Handicap Hurdle – 2.10pm
This looks a pretty open race and an interesting one too, with many horses making good claims.
Skandiburg stands out amongst them proven both at this distance and on this course, winning here on New Year’s Day and rested since.
Rapper ran a fine race that day to trail him in and looks an enticing price at 25/1
Verdict – Skandiburg to win at 10/1
Ryanair Chase – 2.50pm
This could be the race of the week. The card is stacked with talent from top to toe.
A Plus Tard form may need a second look after Defi De Seuil capitulation yesterday in the Queen Mother. He is rated due to a victory over Chacun Pour Soi over Christmas, Chacun being the only horse to beat Defi, that was until yesterday afternoon.
The thought here is Riders Onthe Storm comes into the race in the best form and has accounted for a number of good sorts in his last couple of runs.
Min has hit the bar a couple of times at Cheltenham over the years but is far from over the hill and could go well in this company.
Verdict – Riders Onthe Storm to win at 9/1
Stayers Hurdle – 3.30pm
Since it was moved into the prime slot on Thursday afternoon, this has certainly become one of the must watch races of the week.
This afternoon will be no different with an excellent field assembled.
Paisley Park is one of the UK’s bankers of the week, unbeaten in two years and seven races. It will take something pretty special to beat it.
Penhill won this race two years ago in stunning fashion only to be struck down with injury shortly afterwards. Since his return, his form has been nothing special, but you have to imagine he has been trained with this race in mind.
Apples Jade had an emphatic victory at Leopardstown over Christmas but followed it up with a stinker in Gowran last month. At 22/1 you would have hopes she can regain the form shown at Leopardstown.
Verdict – Paisley Park to win at 4/6, Apple’s Jade e/w @22/1
Plate Handicap Chase – 4.10pm
A lot of horses in this race at one point look like they could have been stars but then somehow lost their way, a prime example being La Bague Au Roi who is dropping down a division to race in this, however that may tell its own tale – best avoided.
Another, and a winner at Cheltenham last year, who is looking for redemption is Siruh Du Lac. Granted it pulled up in his last race and only outing since Cheltenham last year but has had four months to get it right, is a super jumper, and that always helps on this course.
Verdict – Siruh Du Lac to win at 16/1
Mares’ Novice Hurdle -4.50pm
If the crop of mares seen on show this year can be matched by anything in this race, we are in for some cracking match-ups down the track.
This like the Mares’ Hurdle on Monday Henry De Bromhead has a fine horse in Minella Melody and it looks like her form stands up and could follow Honeysuckle into the winner’s enclosure for the same connections.
But challenges certainly will come, with Floressa and Ard Abhainn in with decent shouts.
Verdict – Minella Melody to win at 11/4, Ard Abhainn e/w at 16/1
Kim Muir – 5.30pm
Deise Aba looks an improving sort and maybe a lot shorter that 17/2 come race time.
Le Breuil won at the festival last year beating Discorama, who plodded on to third earlier in the week. Although his form doesn’t look all too impressive, he did trail in just behind The Conditional in a race in January and The Conditional was an impressive winner of the Ultima on Tuesday, beating Discorama, so Le Breuil cannot be discounted.
Verdict – Deise Aba to win at 8/1