Cheltenham Thursday Preview & Results

1:30 – Jewson Novices’ Chase (Registered As The Golden Miller Novices’ Chase) Grade 2
2m4f, Class 1, £51,309.00
1 Noble Prince 4/1
2 Wishfull Thinking 7/2 Fav
3 Loosen My Load 11/2
11 ran
WIN: £4.40
EX: £12.10 CSF: £17.53
TRICAST: £75.47 Tote Trifecta: £42.90

2:05 – Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Listed Race)
3m, Class 1, £39,907.00
1 Buena Vista 20/1
2 Son Amix 16/1
3 Sivota 9/1
4 Knockara Beau 33/1
23 ran
WIN: £23.50
EX: £533.90 CSF: £252.70
TRICAST: £3089.47

2:40 – Ryanair Chase (Registered As The Festival Trophy Steeple Chase) Grade 1
2m5f, Class 1, £154,896.17
1 Albertas Run 6/1
2 Kalahari King 7/1
3 Rubi Light 16/1
11 ran
CSF: £46.39
TRICAST: £633.52

3:20 – Ladbrokes World Hurdle Grade 1
3m, Class 1, £148,226.00
1 Big Buck’s 10/11 Fav
2 Grands Crus 7/2
3 Mourad 8/1
13 ran
WIN: £1.80
EX: £4.50 CSF: £3.74
TRICAST: £15.64

4:00 – Byrne Group Plate (Handicap Chase) Grade 3
2m5f, Class 1, £42,757.50
1 Holmwood Legend 25/1
2 Aimigayle 25/1
3 Beautiful Sound 9/2 Fav
4 Consigliere 20/1
20 ran
WIN: £41.00
EX: £977.70 CSF: £513.44
TRICAST: £3320.18

4:40 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup (Handicap Chase) (Amateur Riders)
3m1½f, Class 2, £30,010.00
1 Junior 10/3 Fav
2 Faasel 20/1
3 Deal Done 20/1
4 Galaxy Rock 18/1
24 ran
WIN: £3.10
EX: £47.50 CSF: £74.21
TRICAST: £1225.50

Jewson Novices Chase: Wishful Thinking is the Philip Hobbs runner here, after Captain Chris was successfully rerouted to the Arkle on the opening day. Hobbs runner has plenty of course experience and crucially won a handicap chase over the track last time out. This experience should stand him in good steed today. The likes of Robinson Collonges, Noble Prince and Loosen My Load will make life difficult but Wishful Thinking is given the vote.

Pertemps Final: This 3mile handicap hurdle has thrown up some real shocks in recent seasons and it certainly isn’t one that punters will be getting too heavily involved in. Having said all that, the Pipe’s landed one of the biggest festival gambles of recent times with Unsinkable Boxer in this very race, and appear to have lined up an unexposed type this year, in the shape of Chartreux. A winning Irish pointer, the horse was very backward last season, and although he managed to win over hurdles, he found it all happening too fast for him when he ran in the Albert Bartlett. Chartreux caught the eye behind stablemate, Ashzakar, in a run at Cheltenham before Christmas and has been put away for the festival subsequently. He looks a real plot horse here and should go close. Kilcrea Kim from the Philip Hobbs yard is another of interest and looks a solid eachway play at 10/1, while at bigger prices, Gwanako and Knockacara Beau could run well.

Ryanair Chase: Last years winner, Alberta’s Run, looks a serious contender now that he runs here instead of in tomorrows Gold Cup. Jonjo O’Neill’s charge was an impressive winner of the contest last season and although not in the same form in 2011, he has his required good ground for the first time. At 6/1 he is the eachway bet to nothing in this race. Kalahari King has been a high class 2miler in recent seasons and while he has won over further, his stamina has to be taken on trust over this course.However, for the winner, the vote is given to last year’s runnerup, Poquelin, who has had this race in mind all season. Paul Nicholls has an excellent record in the race and he can add another winner here.

World Hurdle: Since the festival was upgraded to a four day meeting, the penultimate day has been the one to suffer most. With lesser races added in to make up the card, only the Ryanair Chase and World Hurdle offer any real interest. Many racegoers have taken the day off in recent years, in an attempt to recharge the batteries ahead of a final onslaught on Gold Cup day. It is unlikely that many will be adopting that practice this time around…Big Bucks v Grands Crus promises to be one of the races of the week. The young pretender taking on the established star, who seeks his third win in the contest. Opinions are divided on this one, with many favouring Grands Crus, who has been backed into as low as 2/1 in recent days. However, Paul Nicholls Big Bucks has the proven form in the book and is beginning to look worthy of a bet. Currently 5/4 in places, that could look very big come post time on Thursday afternoon. While Grands Crus has done nothing wrong and could be a superstar in the making, Big Bucks has to get the vote.

Festival Plate: Another very difficult handicap making up the numbers on a disappointing day at the festival. Aigle D’or looks to have been laid out for this race by connections and although he is little value at 4/1 he should take plenty of beating. Hollo Ladies is another that will have been campaigned all season with this contest in mind and shrewd trainer, Ferdy Murphy already has a handicap winner on the baord this week. At odds of around 10/1 he is the value call against the favourite.

Kim Muir Challenge Chase: A race for amateurs, the Kim Muir has thrown up some surprises over the years, as the ability of the jockeys tends to play as big a part here as that of the horse. David Pipe has been tipping up Junior as one of his better chances of the week, and with top Irish rider, Jamie Codd, confirmed to ride, he looks the safest option for those that feel like having a bet. Nina Carberry looks likely to partner last years third, Galant Nuit, and again, as one of the better riders in the race she must hold excellent claims. Tony Martin’s stable have been quiter than usual the past few months but Saddlers Storm caught the eye over hurdles last time and looks to have been laid out for this race. At 12/1 he is a cracking eachway alternative to the top two.


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