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Cheltenham Festival Tips – Thursday

A wonderful day at the Festival yesterday, with 12/1 (Blacklion), 9/1 (Diamond King) and 11/1 (Any Currency) winners tipped, plus 16/1, 18/1 and 22/1 placed selections.

JLT Novices Chase     CH4

Day three gets underway with the JLT Novices’ Chase and it will be interesting to see how these young chasers fare on ground that will be much better than anything they have encountered all winter.

The form pick is probably BRISTOL DE MAI, who has been so impressive in winning his last three starts. If he can produce that level of performance on this drying surface he looks the one to beat for a yard that is having a superb meeting so far.

The horse who could improve most for the change in underfoot conditions is ZABANA, who was just pipped in the Coral Cup last season, and he makes plenty of appeal at a double figure price as he has always looked a chaser in the making.

Bristol De Mai (ew)1.30 Cheltenham5/1Bet365, Paddy Power
Zabana (ew)1.30 Cheltenham10/1Sky Bet

(Sky Bet will refund losing bets on the JLT if your horse does not win)

Pertemps Final     CH4

The Pertemps Final that follows is always one of the most competitive heats of the week and this year’s renewal is no exception.

It is probably noteworthy that Barry Geraghty has chosen Leave At Dawn from all the JP McManus entries, although CUP FINAL looks to have at least as a good a chance on paper. Being by Presenting, the conditions should be ideal for him and he is lightly raced enough to still be improving.

His qualifier at Musselburgh could be key as we also think the runner up that day, WARRIORS TALE, will run well. He’s a smooth traveller, which is always a plus for a race like this, and having switched to Paul Nicholls at the start of the year his new yard should be getting the best out of him now.

The other one to be on is Irish raider, MALL DINI, in the hope that he improves on the ground. He has been running well all season and is a thorough stayer.

Cup Final (ew)2.10 Cheltenham10/1Bet365, Paddy Power
Warriors Tale (ew)2.10 Cheltenham25/1Bet365
Mall Dini (ew)2.10 Cheltenham20/1Bet365

Ryanair Chase     CH4

The first of the feature races of the day is the Ryanair and it has become a real conundrum for punters with both Vautour and Road To Riches re-routed here from the Gold Cup.

If he is at his best, Vautour could win this easily, but the vibes from the Mullins camp haven’t been the best and it is hard to recommend backing him at the prices.

There is likely to be a fierce gallop with so many front runners and that could set things up for a hold up horse.

A shock is also possible, so we’d suggest backing JOSSES HILL. He bounced back to form in emphatic style last time out, really improving for the step up from two miles.

The same could happen to Vibrato Valtat, who has looked a bit short of toe against the best horses over 2 miles, but the other one to be on is a horse coming back in trip – GILGAMBOA.

He had good form with some of the best novices around last season so it is hard to understand why he is such a big price here. He saves his best for spring ground and he could pick off plenty of these up the home straight if the leaders cut each others throats.

Josses Hill (ew)2.50 Cheltenham28/1Bet365
Gilgamboa (ew)2.50 Cheltenham40/1Bet365

World Hurdle     CH4

Next is the World Hurdle where we are still really keen on the chances of our two ante post selections, ALPHA DES OBEUX and SAPHIR DU RHEU.

For those already on that pair we would suggest supplementing the portfolio with WHISPER.

Nicky Henderson has been saying for some time that he has this horse back to his best and the ground has come right for him.

Martello Tower is also interesting at a huge price (28/1 with Bet365).

Alpha Des Obeux (ew)3.30 Cheltenham8/1Bet365
Saphir Du Rheu (ew)3.30 Cheltenham11/1Bet365
Whisper (ew)3.30 Cheltenham11/1Bet365

Our tips for the later races are as follows:

Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate  CH4

Ballycasey (ew)4.10 Cheltenham16/1Bet365
Baily Green (ew)4.10 Cheltenham40/1Bet365
Buckers Bridge (ew)4.10 Cheltenham22/1Bet365

(Bet365 offer 5 places for each way bets on this race)

Trull House Stud Mares Novices’ Hurdle     RUK

Whistle Dixie4.50 Cheltenham33/1Bet365
Jaune Et Bleue4.50 Cheltenham66/1Bet365

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup     RUK

Doctor Harper (win)5.30 Cheltenham5/1Bet365
Upswing (ew)5.30 Cheltenham9/1BetVictor
A Good Skin (ew)5.30 Cheltenham25/1Bet365

Horses fitted with first-time headgear

Flintham2.10 CheltenhamBlinkers (B1)50/1BetVictor
Fingal Bay4.10 CheltenhamBlinkers (B1)10/1Bet365