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Cheltenham 2020: Day 3, St Patrick's Thursday 

The Cheltenham Festival moves on to the third day which celebrates Ireland’s patron saint even though its not actually St Patrick’s Day as that is the following week in 2020. Cheltenham attracts thousands of Irish racing fans and the Guinness Village serves just one drink. At the bars in this area of the course you have two choices: a half or a pint of Guinness! Bar staff are continually filling glasses with this drink and customers are emptying them at an alarming rate. You could actually get sidetracked in the Guinness Village and not see a horse live all day. The celebrations continue in the town after racing.

As for the racing it’s probably the least spectacular of the four days but still features three Grade 1 contests. The action starts with the Marsh Novices’ Chase which is the championship race for young horses over the intermediate distance of two miles and four furlongs. The Stayers Hurdle brings together the best staying hurdlers over a demanding three miles and lastly the Ryanair Chase is known as the race for those that do not get the Gold Cup distance.  

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The Ryanair Chase was introduced to the programme in 2005 to cater for horses that were not quick enough for the Champion Chase but without the stamina to be competitive in the Gold Cup. The race became part of the running-order at the first four day festival but is now a viable target for the best horses over the intermediary distance of two miles and five furlongs. The card also features the Mares Novices Hurdle that was only added to the meeting in 2016.

As with the previous days of the festival, we've got a huge selection of Cheltenham betting offers available for you to get the best value from your bets. View the other three 2020 festival pages  that we have this week:

Champion Day | Ladies Day | Gold Cup Day

Cheltenham Day Three Betting Tips

You can view our extensive Cheltenham day three preview here to see what we fancy and our selections for all seven races on the card. 

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Race by Race Analysis

Now it's time to take a closer look at each of the races that are taking place on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival. We look back at previous winners and a useful factfile.

Guide to the Marsh Novices’ Chase (Formally JLT Chase) (1.30pm)

  • Steeplechase (Two miles four furlongs – New Course) 
  • Open to horses aged five-years-old and older 

The JLT Novices’ Chase was first run at the festival in 2011 and is the championship novice chase at the intermediary distance. The horses jump 17 fences over the New Course which is used for the last two days of the meeting. The race replaced a novices’ handicap and was given Grade 1 status in 2014 so is now a viable option for the best young chasers.  

2020 Result

1st Samcro 4/1 - Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell

2nd Melon 14/1 - Willie Mullins/P W Mullins

3rd Faugheen 3/1F  - Willie Mullins/Paul Townend

 

Previous Winners of the JLT Novices' Chase 

  • 2020 - Samcro (4/1) - Gordon Elliott (trainer), Davy Russell (jockey)
  • 2019 - Defi Du Seuil (3/1F) Philip Hobbs, Barry Geraghty
  • 2018 - Shattered Love (5/1) Gordon Elliott, Jack Kennedy 
  • 2017 - Yorkhill (6/4F) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
  • 2016 – Black Hercules (4/1CF) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
  • 2015 – Vautour (6/4F) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
  • 2014 - Taquin De Seuil (7/1) Jonjo O'Neill, AP McCoy
  • 2013 – Benefficient (7/1) Tony Martin, Bryan Cooper
  • 2012 – Sir Des Champs (3/1) Willie Mullins, Davy Russell
  • 2011 – Noble Prince (4/1) Paul Nolan, AP McCoy

Fact File

This relatively new chase for novices’ has seen four winning favourites in the last six years.Every winner in the nine year history of the contest has been returned at single figure odds. 

 

Pertemps Network Final (2.10pm)

  • Hurdle Race (About three miles – New Course) 
  • Open to horses aged five-years-and older 

The Pertemps Final is a race open to horses just below the top level in the handicap sphere that was first staged in 1974. Horses earn a place in the starting line-up after running in qualifying races throughout the season of which there are eight. Twelve hurdles are jumped over almost two circuits of the New Course on the third day of the meeting.  The race has had various sponsors and the race has been known as the Pertemps Network Final since 2003.  

2020 Result

1st Sire Du Berlais 10/1 - Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Barry Geraghty

2nd The Storyteller 11/2F - Gordon Elliott/Davy Russell

3rd Tout Est Permis 12/1 - N Meade/E Walsh

4th Third Wind 12/1 - H Morrison/TJ O'Brien

Last 10 Winners

  • 2020 - Sire Du Berlais (4/1F) Gordon Elliott (trainer) Barry Geraghty (jockey)
  • 2019 - Sire Du Berlais (4/1F) Gordon Elliott. Barry Geraghty 
  • 2018 - Delta Work (12/1) Gordon Elliott, Davy Russell 
  • 2017 - Presenting Percy (11/1) P Kelly, Davy Russell
  • 2016 – Mall Dini (14/1) PG Kelly, Davy Russell
  • 2015 - Call The Cops (9/1) Nicky Henderson, Andrew Tinkler
  • 2014 - Fingal Bay (9/2F) Philip Hobbs, Richard Johnson
  • 2013 - Holywell (25/1) Jonjo O’Neill, Richie McLernon
  • 2012 - Cape Tribulation (14/1) Malcolm Jefferson, Denis O’Regan
  • 2011 - Buena Vista (20/1) David Pipe, Conor O’Farrel

This is another competitive handicap hurdle that will attract a big field. Potential winners must have a few pounds in hand over the handicapper and before the weights have been published it’s difficult to highlight the leading contenders. Sire Du Berlais has won the race for the past two years, both times being the 4/1 favourite.

Ryanair Steeplechase (2.50pm)

  • Steeplechase (Two miles five furlongs – New Course) 
  • Open to horses aged five-years-old and older 

The Ryanair Chase was first run at the festival in 2005 and is the championship race for chasers at the intermediary distance between the Champion Chase and Gold Cup. The introduction of the race coincided with the first four day festival. The Grade 1 contest features 17 fences over the New Course on the third day of the meeting.  

2020 Result

1st Min 2/1 - Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Paul Townend

2nd Saint Calvados 16/1 - H Whittington/G Sheehan

3rd A Plus Tard 7/4F - Henry De Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore

The Last 10 Winners of the Ryanair Chase 

  • 2020 - Min (2/1) - Willie Mullins (trainer), Paul Townend (jockey)
  • 2019 - Frodon (9/2)  Paul Nicholls, Byrony Frost 
  • 2018 - Balko Des Flos (12/1) Henry de Bromhead, Davy Russell
  • 2017 - Un De Sceaux (7/4F) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
  • 2016 – Vautour (EvensF) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
  • 2015 – Uxizandre (16/1) Alan King, AP McCoy
  • 2014 – Dynaste (3/1F) David Pipe, Tom Scudamore
  • 2013 – Cue Card (7/2) Colin Tizzard, Joe Tizzard
  • 2012 – Riverside Theatre (7/2F) Nicky Henderson, Barry Geraghty
  • 2011 – Albertas Run (6/1) Jonjo O'Neill, AP McCoy

Pointers 

The race sponsors also own the Gigginstown House Stud but they have never won their own race despite coming close a number of times. Favourites have won two of the last five runnings and four of the last nine.

Stayers' Hurdle (3.30pm)

  • Hurdle Race (Three miles – New Course) 
  • Open to horses aged four-years-old and older 

The race is the most prestigious long distance contest in the discipline in the National Hunt calendar. The race was first run in 1972 and has a history of producing multiple champions in Baracouda, Inglis Drever and Big Buck’s. The race is the feature hurdle of the third day of the festival. 

2020 Result

1st Lisnagar Oscar 50/1 - Trained by Miss R Curtis and ridden by Adam Wedge

2nd Ronald Pump 20/1 - Matthew J Smith/BJ Cooper

3rd Bacardys 33/1 - Willie Mullins/P W Mullins

The Last 10 Winners of the Stayers' Hurdle 

  • 2020 - Lisnagar Oscar (50/1) - Miss R Curtis (trainer), Adam Wedge (jockey)
  • 2019 - Paisley Park (11/8F) - Emma Lavelle. Aidan Coleman 
  • 2018-   Penhill (9/1) Willie Mullins, Paul Townend
  • 2017 – Nichols Canyon (10/1) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
  • 2016 – Thistlecrack (EvensF) Colin Tizzard, Tom Scudamore
  • 2015 – Cole Harden (14/1) Warren Greatex, Gavin Sheehan
  • 2014 – More Of That (15/2) Jonjo O'Neill, Barry Geraghty
  • 2013 – Solwhit (17/2) Charles Byrnes, Paul Carberry
  • 2012 – Big Buck's (5/6F) Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh
  • 2011 – Big Buck's (10/11F) Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh
  • 2010 – Big Buck's (5/6F) Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh

Pointers 

This three miles contest identifies the best staying hurdler of the season and there are some key trials that identify leading contenders. Big Buck’s won the race from 2009 to 2010 and there have been no multiple winners in the last five years. Only one favourite has won in the last four years with a female trainer training the winner for the past two.

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (4.10pm)

  • Steeplechase (Two miles and five furlongs – New Course) 
  • Open to horses aged five-years-old and older

This race has its current sponsors for the second year and was formerly known as the Byrne Group Plate and is officially called the Mildmay of Fleet Challenge Cup. It was first run in 1951 and is a consolation race for those horses that do not get in to chases of a higher grade. A maximum field of 24 runners jump seventeen fences around the New Course. Several firms have sponsored the race and it was called the Racing Post Plate from 2006 to 2008.  

2020 Result

1st Simply the Betts - 10/3 Trained by H Whittington and ridden by G Sheehan

2nd Happy Diva - 20/1 - Kerry Lee/Richard Patrick

3rd Mister Whitaker - 22/1 - Mick Channon/Adrian Heskin

4th Oldgrangewood - 11/1 - D Skelton/Harry Skelton

Last Ten Winners of the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate

  • 2020 - Simply the Betts (10/3) - H Whittington (trainer), G Sheehan (jockey)
  • 2019 - Siruh du Lac (9/2) Nick Williams, Lizzie Kelly 
  • 2018 - The Storyteller (15/2)  Gordon Elliott, Davy Russell
  • 2017 - Road To Respect (14/1) Noel Meade, Brian Cooper
  • 2016 - Empire Of Dirt (16/1) Colm Murphy, Brian Cooper
  • 2015 - Darna (33/1) Kim Bailey, David Bass
  • 2014 - Ballynagour (12/1) David Pipe, Tom Scudamore
  • 2013 - Carrickboy (50/1) Venetia Williams, Liam Treadwell
  • 2012 - Salut Flo (9/2F) David Pipe, Tom Scudamore
  • 2011 - Holmwood Legend (25/1) Patrick Rodford, Keiran Burke

Pointers 

This is a consolation race for horse that are not good to run in the graded chases. The last five winners have started at double figure odds and only one favourite has obliged in the last 10 years. David Pipe has won three renewals in that period, two of which were ridden by Tom Scudamore. Horses carrying less than 11 stone have won all but one race in the last decade. Inexperienced horses rarely figure at the business end of this contest. No favourite has won since 2012.

Mares Novices’ Hurdle (4.50pm)

  • Hurdle (Two miles and one furlong – New Course) 
  • Open to mares aged four-years-old and older

This was a new race in 2016 and fills the void for a contest for which novice fillies are only eligible. The addition of a specific race for inexperienced mares has been welcomed by professionals so it will be interesting to see what trends emerge over the next few years. As a new race there are limited winners or trends to highlight. Let's Dance, aged six, won the race for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh in 2017 as the 11/8 favourite. Limini won the race for the same connections in 2016. The 2018 running saw a win for Laurina who went off the 8/13 favourite ridden by Paul Townend and trained by Willie Mullins. Anyone who could predict the first three home last year was very lucky. Eglantine Du Seuil was the winner at 50/1 (another victory for Willie Mullins) and was followed home by 66/1 Concertista and 40/1 Tintangle.

2020 Result

1st Concertista - 9/2 - Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by D A Jacob

2nd Dolcita - 9/1 - Willie Mullins/R M Power

3rd Reyna's World - 100/1  - P A Kirby/Thomas Dowson

4th Yukon Lil 20/1  - Willie Mullins/ D E Mullins

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Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase (5.30pm)

  • Steeplechase (Three miles and about two furlongs – New Course) 
  • Open to horses aged five-years-old and older

This race is only open to amateur jockeys and over the distance of just less than 26 furlongs nineteen fences must be cleared. The race is the most prestigious handicap chase for non-professional riders of the season. The race was first staged in 1946 and has honoured the legendary trainer Fulke Walwyn since 1991. Kim Muir was an officer who lost his life during the World War 1 and had no involvement in racing but his name will always be associated with this race which does not have a sponsor.

2020 Result

1st Milan Native - 9/1 - Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Mr R James

2nd Kilfilum Cross - 8/1 - Henry Oliver/Mr A Edwards

3rd Bob Mahler - 16/1 - W Greatrex/Mr N McParlan

4th Plan of Attack -10/1 Henry De Bromhead/Mr B O'Neill

 

The Last Ten Winners of the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

 

  • 2020 - Milan Native (9/1) Gordon Elliott (trainer), Mr R James (jockey)
  • 2019 - Any Second Now (6/1) T M Walsh, Mr Derek O'Connor
  • 2018 - Missed Approach (9/1)  W Greatrex, Mr N McParlan
  • 2017 - Domesday Book (40/1) Stuart Edmunds, Miss G Andrews
  • 2016 - Cause Of Causes (9/2) Gordon Elliott, Jamie Codd
  • 2015 - The Package (9/1) David Pipe, Jamie Codd
  • 2014 - Spring Heeled (12/1) Jim Culloty, Robbie McNamara
  • 2013 - Same Difference (16/1) Nigel Twiston-Davies, Ryan Hatch
  • 2012 - Sunnyhillboy (13/2F) Jonjo O’Neill, Alan Berry
  • 2011 - Junior (10/3F) David Pipe, Jamie Codd

The race is for amateur riders and it is their Gold Cup. Two favourites have won the race in the last ten years when Jamie Codd has been the winning jockey four times. There are no multiple-winning trainers in that time and the last eight winners have carried more than 11 stone. The last six-year old to win the race was in 1971 and all but two of the last 18 winners were aged eight or older. 

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