Cheltenham Festival 2019 – Day 3

A tremendous day thanks to the late charge of William Henry, and the battling attitude of Topofthegame in the RSA. Thankfully we don’t need to commiserate ourselves too much over Santini’s second, a nice ante-post each/way return, and we can head into today ahead – and that’s good because this is a difficult, difficult card.




13:30 – 2m4f (2m3f168y) (New) JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller) (Class 1)(5yo+): One of the most difficult races of the week, with not much between the whole field. Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation have the best form of the week, but picking between the two is a brave man’s task – Lostintranslation looked to like the the hill better when worrying Defi Du Seuil out of the Dipper here but that case was reversed in the Sicily Isles, which came on soft ground. Vinndication was third at Sandown when he disappointed many of his backers, but he didn’t appear to be entirely happy there when he supposedly got stuck in the ground, which will also be an issue today. Real Steel has won two non-graded chases by a combined 20 lengths and has shades of the wide margin Arkle winner Duc de Genievre, whilst stablemate Voix Du Reve was in with every chance when coming down at the last in the Irish Arkle.


Kildistart won a strong C&D handicap on trials day despite a poor round of jumping – what he he puts both front feet forward?


Pravalaguna, Mengli Khan, Capeland and Castafiore all have claims on their best form but there are also all reasons to oppose them too.


The pin lands on Lostintranslation.



Advice: 1 pt win Lostintranslation (7/2 general)



14.10 – 3m (2m7f213y) (New) Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (5yo+): Plenty of decent angles in if you’re willing to let Sire du Berlais win at the prices – and I am.


Notwhatiam – see what I did there? – makes appeal for the Skeltons on the basis of two eyecatching runs, the latest of which came when he was given too much ground to make up in a slowly run qualifier behind Keeper Hill. That form has seen been underlined by the second Oh Land Abloom finishing second and then winning in two starts since and there’s no danger of a slow gallop here, which makes him one of the most attractive contenders, especially on a line through the consistent contender First Assignment.



Sire Du Berlais was the big eyecatcher in the Leopardstown qualifier but Walk To Freedom flew home to take second there and whilst he’s top weight now, big weights have been defied in this and his form since a lackluster return at Naas is some of the best on offer in the field. He handles heavy ground too, and gets the second vote ahead of a flood of contenders.



Advice: 1 pt each/way Notwhatiam (11/1 general), 1 pt each/way Walk To Freedom (11/1 general)




14:50 – 2m4½f (2m4f127y) (New) Ryanair Chase (Registered As The Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) (Class 1)(5yo+): Our ante-post position on Monalee looks a strong one, although this is a very difficult race. Footpad’s latent ability entitles him to strong respect, although he has stamina to prove, especially after the Arkle fell into his lap last year. Road To Respect was fourth in the Gold Cup last year and has since run a series of fine races, including a second in a pulsating duel with Bellshill in the Irish Gold Cup, and he would be the most tempting of the options available on the day with the extra stamina likely to be very helpful. Un De Secaux is likely to be tough to pass, having finished second last year (won two years ago), but how will he cope with Frodon, who is having such a brilliant season, racing him each step of the way?



Advice: 1 pt win Road To Respect (9/2 general)


Already Advised: 1 pt each/way Monalee, Ryanair (16/1 Betfair, Paddy Power), 28th August




15:30 – 3m (2m7f213y) (New) Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo+): A repeat, or something close, of Paisley Park’s Cleeve Hurdle demolition will make him extremely hard for anyone to stop late and Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old is the clear choice. Impressive in a variety of fashions this season, he is a different horse to the one that disappointed in the Albert Bartlett and should also get a decent gallop to aim at – even if not, his late staying power is enticing.


Vibes around Faugheen, who slammed last year’s winner Penhill in the Punchestown equivalent of this race, are now extremely strong following his switch here.How well he was going when he fell against Apple’s Jade is an irrelevance now stepped upto three miles, and it’s upto him to show his very best over the New Course, going 3 miles in gluey ground – a different test to the tight turns of Punchestown on what was a better surface.



Supasundae, second last year, is tremendously consistent and can go well again, although he is best suited by a slow gallop and that might not be the case this year. Black Op can do better than his Cleeve Hurdle third but he was miles behind Paisley Park (14 lengths) and he was also behind West Approach there too. West Approach didn’t particularly take to chasing last year but he’s been good over hurdles this time around, finishing second to Paisley Park in the Long Walk and Cleeve Hurdles, and he had Black Op and Sam Spinner behind there. He looks big for a place shout of some kind.


Kilbricken Storm’s Albert Bartlett win is working out extremely well and he proved that was no fluke when he was then third, beaten just a couple of necks by Next Destination and Delta Work. That is outstanding form and if he’s at peak form, then he is now a 14/1 shot to be involved in some fashion here.


Bapaume runs good races over 3 miles but appears to be short of Grade 1 company, and Petit Mouchoir is a 3 mile point winner who has a lot to prove at this distance under rules.


Bacardys’ jumping keeps letting him down over hurdles and fences; Top Notch is more interesting than most, having finished third in the Long Walk on his reappearance; Wholesone has gone off the boil; There’s no explanation for Yanworth’s dire reappearance and he was sixth in this last year, whilst Coquin Mans, Keeper Hill, The Mighty Don, Nautical Nitwit, and Man Of Plenty look overmatched.



Advice: 3 pts win Paisley Park (13/8 general), 1 pt each/way Killbricken Storm (14/1 general)




16.10 – 2m4½f (2m4f127y) (New) Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3)(Class 1) (5yo+): Gardefort has been in and out but at his very best has the ablity to be better than 137, and he was travelling best when unshipping at Ludlow last time. Veneita Williams has an overall record of three winners and six other placed horses from 22 runners in this contest, a remarkable strike rate. River Wylde was set to push Actival very close before he fell at Haydock in November, form that looks very strong when one sees that Actival lost out by just a head to Kidilstart giving him nearly a stone. He’s won on soft, this has clearly been the plan, and he’s worth chancing.



Advice: 1 pt each/way Gardefort (25/1 general), 1 pt each/way River Wylde (11/1 general)



4.50 – 2m1f (2m179y) (New) National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Reg’ As Dawn Run) (Class 1) (4yo+): Epatante oozes class and ought to take the beating but there are a number of very interesting contenders and Sinoria’s defeat of the progressive Chosen Mate was a very taking effort, especially as Chosen Mate has since won a Grade 2 contest since giving weight away. It’s a worry that she’s raced top of the ground, but she’s worth chancing.


Advice: 1 pt each/way Sinoria (8/1 general)




5.30 – 3m2f (New) Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (Class 2)(5yo+ 0-145): Speaker Connolly made some really eyecatching late progress into third in the Abbey International Leopardstown Handicap Chase and if this step up in trip suits as much as that visual evidence would suggest, then he can still be better than 139 and play a hand here. He’s also a heavy ground winner.


Advice: 1 pt each/way Speaker Connolly (12/1 general)