Cheltenham 2018: Day 3, St Patrick's Thursday 

The meeting moves on to the third day which celebrates Ireland’s patron saint even though its not actually St Patrick’s Day as that is on the Saturday in 2018. 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 JLT Novices’ Chase which is the championship race for young horses over the intermediate distance of two miles and four furlongs. The World Hurdle brings together the best staying hurdlers over a demanding three miles and Thistlecrack was an outstanding winner last time.  

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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.

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Guyide to the JLT Novices’ Chase 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Three – Thursday March 15th 

  • 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.  

The Last 6 Winners of the JLT Novices' Chase 

  • 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  

JLT Novices' Chase Trends 

  • 6 of the 7 winners were trained in Ireland.
  • 15 of the 21 win or placed horses won on their previous start.
  • The Scilly Isles Chase and Dipper Chase are good guides.
  • There has been no winner of a Festival novices’ chase since 1990 aged over 8.
  • Nine of the twelve placed horses so far won on their last start.
  • Runners that have run well in Supreme or Neptune run well in this race  

Pointers And Reasoning

This relatively new chase for novices’ has seen three winning favourites in the last three years, all trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh. In fact every winner in the seven year history of the contest has been returned at single figure odds. The Irish have an excellent record with all but one winner and Invitation Only, trained by Mullins, is the favourite this year. Willoughby Court won a novices’ hurdle at the Festival last year in style and is the shortest priced British trained runner. MODUS could provide Paul Nicholls with his first winner of this race.  

 

Guide to the Pertemps Network Final 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Three – Thursday March 15th 

  • 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.  

The Last Ten Winners of the Pertemps Network Final 

  • 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’Farrell
  • 2010 - Buena Vista (16/1) David Pipe, Hadden Frost
  • 2009 - Kayf Aramis (16/1) Venetia Williams, Aidan Coleman
  • 2008 - Ballyfitz (18/1) Nigel-Twiston Davies, Paddy Brennan

Pertemps Network Final Trends 

  • Only 1 favourite has won the race over the last 12 years
  • The winner’s average price since 2006 is 17/1
  • 13 of the last 16 winners started at double figure odds
  • Only 2 of the last 18 winners were favourites
  • Only one 10 year old or older has won the race since 1982
  • The last five-year-old winner was Pragada in 1988
  • 8 of the last 22 winners carried 11 stone or more
  • 9 of the last 12 winners carried less than 11 stone
  • 10 of the last 19 winners won their previous race
  • 8 of the last 11 winners were trained in Britain. 

Pointers And Reasoning

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. Favourites have a poor recent record and only two winners over the last 10 years started at a single figure price. Ten- year-olds also have a poor record and horse carrying less than 11 stone have a good record. CALETT MAD was seen as a leading novice but that has not panned out but the horse can excel in handicap company given a manageable weight.   

Guide to the Ryanair Steeple Chase 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Three – Thursday March 15th 

  • 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.  

The Last 10 Winners of the Ryanair Chase 

  • 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
  • 2010 – Albertas Run (14/1) Jonjo O'Neill, AP McCoy
  • 2009 – Imperial Commander (6/1) Nigel Twiston-Davies, Paddy Brennan
  • 2008 – Our Vic (4/1) David Pipe, Timmy Murphy

Ryanair Chase Trends 

  • 19 of the 24 winners and runners-up had won at Cheltenham before.

  • 8 of 10 winners since it became a Grade 1 race had run in the King George VI Chase.
  • Since the upgrade to Grade 1 status, horses with solid 3m form have taken over.
  • 4 of the 12 winners finished in the first 3 in the Ascot Chase.

  • 11 of the 13 winners went off at 6/1 or shorter.
  • Un De Sceaux was the second Irish trained winner.  

Pointers And Reasoning

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 the last two renewals and four times over the last six years. Albertas Run won the race in 2010 and 2011 and Un De Sceaux is trying to win back-to-back runnings this tear. All but five of the last 25 winners had won at Cheltenham before but Un De Sceaux was only the second winner trained in Ireland. Soft ground should favour the horse but if Gigginstown are to finally win the race SUB LIEUTENANT would be their best chance.  

Guide to the Stayers' Hurdle 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Three – Thursday March 15th 

  • 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.  

The Last 10 Winners of the Stayers' Hurdle 

  • 2017 –  Nichols Canyon (10/1) Willie Mullins, Ruby Walsh
  • 2016 – Thistlecrack (Evens) 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
  • 2009 – Big Buck's (4/11F) Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh
  • 2008 – Inglis Drever (11/8F) Howard Johnson, Denis O'Regan

Stayer's Hurdle Trends 

  • 16 of the last 17 winners finished in the first two in their last outing.
  • 8 of the last 15 winners or runners-up prepped in the Cleeve Hurdle.
  • 9 of the last 13 winners won last time out.
  • 12 of the last 22 winners ran in the Long Walk Hurdle.
  • 15 of the last 17 winners started in the first 4 in the betting.
  • 14 of the last 16 winners finished first or second on all hurdle starts that season.
  • 9 of the last 16 winners were bred in France.
  • No 5 year-old has ever won.
  • Just 2 front runners have placed since 1996.  

Pointers And Reasoning

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. Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh won the race last season with Nichols Canyon but that horse is no longer with us. French bred horses have a good record and few outsiders have prevailed. In an open race Yanworth will have some backers but THE NEW ONE could finally win a race at the festival in the seventh year of taking part.

Guide to the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Three – Thursday March 15th 

  • 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.  

Last Ten Winners of the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate

  • 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
  • 2010 - Great Endeavour (18/1) David Pipe, Danny Cook
  • 2009 - Something Wells (33/1) Venetia Williams, Mr Will Biddick
  • 2008 - Mister McGoldrick (66/1) Sue Smith, Dominic Elsworth

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Trends 

  • Only 1 favourite has won in the last 12 years
  • Every other winner has been at double figure odds
  • The average price of the winner since 2006 is 21/1
  • Only one horse aged over 10 has won the race this century
  • The last five year-old winner was Majadou in 1999
  • The last 9 winners have carried less than 11 stone
  • There have only been three winners trained in Ireland
  • 21 of the last 24 winners finished in the first 4 last time and ran at previous festivals.
  • 26 of the last 29 winners were rated 141 or lower
  • Amateurs were the winning jockeys twice since 2005  

Pointers And Reasoning

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. TULLY EAST looks a worthy favourite and based on recent form can become the first winning market leader since 2012.

Guide to the Trull House Stud Mares Novices’ Hurdle 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Three – Thursday March 15th 

  • 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 last year as the 11/8 favourite. Limini won the race for the same connections in 2016.

Pointers And Reasoning

This race is only being run for the third time and some pundits question its value at the most prestigious meeting of the year. The race conditions have kept some mares in training because there is now a season-long objective amongst their own sex. Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh have won both renewals and in Laurina the trainer has the favourite this time. On the history of the race this horse should be the winner but MARIA’S BENEFIT should have her say. The horse has been impressive at a lower level and faces her biggest test to date in this race. 

Guide to the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase 

2018 Cheltenham Festival Day Three – Thursday March 15th 

  • 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.  

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

  • 2017 - Domesday Book (40/1) Sturat 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
  • 2010 - Ballabriggs (9/1) Donald McCain Jr, Richard Harding
  • 2009 - Character Building (16/1) John Quinn, Jamie Codd
  • 2008 - High Chimes (14/1) Evan Williams, James Tudor 

Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase Trends 

  • Only 2 favourites has won in the last 12 years
  • Six winners in that spell have been at double figure odds
  • The average price of the winner since 2006 is 13/1
  • Other than the The Package only one horse aged over 10 has won since 2000
  • The last six year-old winner was 1971 and all winners since were older.
  • 16 of the last 18 winners were aged 8 or older
  • The last 8 winners have carried more than 11 stone
  • Four winners between 1995 and 2000 carried less than 10 stone and none since
  • 8 of the last 12 winners were not in the places in their last run  

Pointers And Reasoning

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 five 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. The weights have not been announced but BARNEY DWAN is being considered and would be an interesting runner if allocated less than 11 stone.


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