We’re halfway through the greatest racing festival on earth and sports journalist and racing fan, Murt Murphy, has some tips for day three of Cheltenham…
Its 2-0 to the Bookmakers, as Wednesday proved a horrible day for punters.
Who would have predicted that Douvan (who appears to have injured himself during Champion Chase) would be beaten considering he did not fall!
Who would have predicted that after two days both Willie Mullins and Paul Nichols would be winless? By the way a stat produced by the layers is sobering – only 7% of bets placed were winners!!
It was also mentioned yesterday by an experienced paddock watcher that Willie Mullins runners did not look good in their coats so is there a problem with some sort of a virus?
Nothing proved yet and Mullins could have four winners today but until he breaks his duck, then punters will probably look elsewhere for value.
The day starts at 1.30pm with the JLT Novices Chase, which features one of the Irish bankers of the festival, Yorkhill. But he cannot be backed with confidence so we will side with Disko each way for Noel Meade and Bryan Cooper or take the 100/30 in the without Yorkhill market.
Ruby Walsh – who has yet to have a winner this week – is on board Yorkhill so if he is your banker – go with it! Paul Nicholls has a horse called Politologue which might be worth an each way wager but we will go with Disko without!
The 2.10pm is the Pertemps Final and this is a very open contest. I would not be having a bet, but if you have to, Pat Kelly’s Presenting Percy with Davy Russell on board at 10/1 is an each way shout.
In the Ryanair Chase at 2.50pm Un De Sceaux is another Mullins/Walsh hotshot but can he backed with confidence at such short odds? If Yorkhill wins, then he will be a more appetising proposition.
However, a Michael O’Leary horse has never won the race and he’d love to enter the winner’s enclosure with Empire Of Dirt trained by bang in form Gordon Elliott. So it’s Empire Of Dirt for me, a horse that was considered for the Gold Cup but it was felt he would not stay.
The Stayers Hurdle (3.30pm) has one of my bankers of the meeting, Unowhatimeanharry and Noel Fehily who has already won the Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase.
He won’t be good value but I don’t think he’ll be beaten, though a saver on Jezki each way for JP might not go astray.
Next up is the Brown Advisory Handicap Chase at 4.10pm and Diamond King is certainly one to watch here and is the early favourite in the betting.
I’m predicting Ruby Walsh’s day will get even better in the Mares Novice Hurdle at 4.50pm. He’s on the Willie Mullins’ trained Let’s Dance, again heading the betting this morning.
He’ll face very stiff competition though from another Mullins trained horse, Airlie Beach and I would not rule out Forge Meadow (each way).
In the last race of the day, the Kim Muir Handicap Chase at 5.30pm, if you are trouble at this stage, this puzzler is not a good “get out stakes” but if you have to here are two to back each way – Squouateur for in-form Jamie Codd at around 6/1 and one from left field, Potters Legend at 14/1.
So it will either be a Willie Mullins ‘strikeback’ day or another day for the layers so punters need a change of luck – today is recovery day – let’s hope we have given you a few winners. But tomorrow my ‘Nap’ runs so I will be keeping my powder dry today!