Unlike Day One and Day Two, where I have knocked it out the park, Day three has predominantly been my weak day for Cheltenham the past few years, but there is plenty of reason given the stiff competition and the races held, so here’s my Cheltenham Festival 2015 day three preview.
Day Three Ante Post picks
2.05 – Pertemps Final – Virtuel D’oudon E/W 25/1
2.40 – Ryanair Chase – Balder Succes E/W 7/1
3.20 – World Hurdle – Saphir Du Rheu WIN 5/1
Cheltenham Festival 2015 Day Three Preview
JLT Novices Chase
The JLT Novices Chase sets off day three with a fine renewal, this race looks like Vautour’s most likely destination and if he takes his chance he will be very tough to beat, something was amiss in his penultimate start when defeated by Clarcam, however he had beaten his victor the time before without being asked a question so the defeat in my eyes can be overlooked.
Vautour is held in massive regard by the powerful Mullins yard and the way he jumped last time out has shown why, the form line with Clarcam looks hot form and there is no surprise he is favourite.
I have been very impressed with the attitude of Ptit Zig up until his recent fall against some big names, unfortunately that race would have shown a huge amount of what Ptit Zig is about as I don’t believe the form before is in essence that substantial, with Josses Hill not looking the horse he was touted to be, although I am a fan of Champagne West so that form could be very good, we just don’t know 100%, I will be very surprised if Ptit Zig is not in the front 3 however.
Apache Stronghold’s last race was really impressive reversing the form with Valseur Lido and his race before in defeat to Don Poli is looking more and more impressive so he could also be a live contender. However it will take a special effort getting to Vautour or Ptit Zig. My pick will be Vautour, I’m hoping he will become a big name over the next couple of years and this could be the start of something special over fences.
The Pertemps Final is a small stakes affair for me and a race where you have to look at outsiders.
The two that interest me at this stage are Regal Encore and Virtuel D’oudon, Regal Encore has always been touted as a big name in the Honeyball yard but has disappointed since his bumper days, losing twice at odds on.
He has however in his 11 races been favourite 7 times therefore that goes to show the expectation, his recent win could mean that he has turned a corner and although penalised for that win he could be one to keep the right side of whether he races here or anywhere else for that matter.
Virtuel D’oudon is an interesting contender following his win at the weekend over Katkeau who I thought would be a winner, any horse that gets headed and fights back shows he has the attitude required to win a race like this.
The Welsh Champion Hurdle didn’t go to plan for him, however his previous form is good and he shouldn’t be too hard done to at the weights, he would be my each way selection.
The Ryanair Chase looks a great race in prospect with some big names in the line up.
Don Cossack heads the market and deservedly so after defeating Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere and hopeful Boston Bob before taking on Champagne Fever, unfortunately that day the latter fell at the last, his form is very solid and at 4/1 it looks an each way bet to nothing.
Cue Card is next in the line up and is arguably the biggest name in the race and although many say he is on the decline his form being Silviniaco Conti this term is not bad, if he can get as fit as he was last year then he would go there with leading credentials.
Balder Succes has been propelled in the market following his latest victory in a hot Group One when beating Ma Filleule, Ballycasey and Ptit Zig (fell) and this may well be his ideal trip, he is very interesting and would be my each way selection.
Paul Nicholls’ string head the World Hurdle Market with Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar flying the flag for the yard.
Zarkandar was 4th in the race last year and despite the renewal looking on paper weaker than last year he doesn’t interest me in the slightest, Saphir Du Rheu however does, the 6 year old has improved markedly and there is no doubt he will go back to jumping fences, but for now his form looks appealing and the form line through Reve De Sivola puts him ahead of his stablemate.
Another who doesn’t really interest me is Rock On Ruby, I don’t think the fact that he hasn’t tackled 3 miles over hurdles before is coincidence and for that reason I am bypassing him.
Un Temps Pour Tout and Monksland both have chances, the former may well have needed the run behind Saphir Du Rheu last time out and wasn’t far behind whereas Monksland has never been out of the first 3 home under rules, whether he will handle the Cheltenham hill would be my worry.
My each way bet in the race would be Un Temps Pour Tout although my win selection is Saphir Du Rheu.
The last two races are handicaps and there are too many variables at this stage to pick a selection.