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    Cheltenham Festival : Day Three    
    DATE POSTED: 16/03/2016    
    After providing the two biggest price winners of Day Two, we enter the third day of the festival with plenty of confidence - the World Hurdle and Ryanair Chase are probably the highlights of the day.

Half-way through the Festival already, but another two days ahead to savour. We’ve already seen some spectacular and memorable performances and can fully expect to see even more. Bring it on!

1:30 JLT Novices Chase.
This doesn’t look like a great renewal, but does seem to be a contest which has 4 or five of these novices who are live contenders. THREE MUSKETEERS may provide a welcome Festival winner for Trainer Harry Skelton. He has taken to chasing pretty well and we think a poor run last time out can be forgiven as he may have been under the weather. He should come into his own on good ground tomorrow. Outlander put in a tip-top performance at Leopardstown last time out and is now three from three in chase wins. He’s not a flashy type but stays and travels well, and should stay on at the end. Stablemate Black Hercules ran respectably in a Bumper and a novice hurdle respectively at the last two Festivals and was denied a hat-trick of chase wins when coming down at the last with the race in the bag at Navan last month. However we think he is best on softer ground. On the other hand, Garde La Victoire, our 2nd choice, has a hat-trick under his belt, including beating Bristol de Mai, who has since also completed a trio of chase wins. As de Me is part owned by Dame Judi Dench so expect to see her cheering her horse on.

2:10 Pertemps Network Final
We can expect something of a cavalry charge here, as the 24 runners are likely to go off at a furious pace in the good ground. JP McManus has maximised his chances as he owns one quarter of the runners, including the favourite LEAVE AT DAWN, who has already won in Grade 1 company, and is still on a handy mark. Our Kaempfer and Broxbourne have already crossed swords, with the latter coming out on top in a good hurdle race at Aintree last November. Both of them have had this race in mind for a while and both strike us as possibilities here. However this is always a tough race and there are sure to be a few handicap snips lurking down the field.

2:50 Ryanair Chase
Victory in this race has eluded the Irish so far, but they are likely to put that right this year as they have a particularly strong hand with 4 of the top 5 in the betting. VAUTEUR heads the market and rightly so, he has never been out of the first two in all his races, including two easy successes in previous Festivals. He is a much better horse going left-handed and so can be excused a narrow defeat by Cue Card (a previous Ryanair winner) in the King George back in December. 9yo Road to Riches is slightly more experienced and was 3rd in last years Gold Cup. He had a hard race last time out but if fully prepped, sure to go close. The race is no shoo-in for the Irish, Village Vic has improved dramatically this season, winning his last four races, and has gone up 32lbs in the ratings and will have to step up even further to have a hand in this, but he could possibly squeeze into a place.

3:30 World Hurdle
THISTLECRACK has done nothing wrong this year and seems to improve with every run for trainer Colin Tizzard. He has already seen off most of tomorrow’s rivals and looks likely to do the same again, especially on the drier surface. For those seeking an each-way interest it might be worth taking a chance on Au Ptits Soins, who has been blighted by health niggles all year and hasn’t won since taking the Coral Cup here last year. He is lightly raced, his connections think the world of him and Paul Nicholls reckons that he is now raring to go, so he could be the dark horse.

4:10 Brown Advisory Plate
Winners here are hard to find, the winners are invariably at big odds. David Pipe has saddled the winner on three occasions. He will be hoping that top-weight Ballynagour can repeat his victory of 2014, but we prefer the look of his other runner, French import La Vaticaine, lower down the handicap and relatively unexposed in this country. Recent winner Stiletto looks fairly treated for Paul Nicholls and good go well despite preferring softer grund, but we will opt for FINGAL BAY who is another on a decent mark and will like the drop in trip.

4:50 Trull House Stud Mares Novice Hurdle
Willie Mullins seems to have unearthed another potential star in the shape of French import LIMINI, who was useful on the Flat over the Channel and easily won her two hurdles over here. We think that if she jumps well, she wins.   Bloody Mary, a prolific Bumper winner in France and winner of her two hurdle starts over here for Nicky Henderson could provide the main opposition, while Brian Ellison’s tough mare, Smart Talk could do her bit for the north with a prominent run.

5:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup  (Amateur Riders)
We are going to take a chance on 9yo PERFECT CANDIDATE to help us out of this conundrum of a race. He is a standing dish around here (last 5 runs have all been here) and could follow up his C/D win here in January at a decent price. 11yo Midnight Prayer also knows what it’s like to win round here and still seems to enjoy the game. The Pipe family have won this race five time in all, and David has three runners this year, all with chances. Doctor Harper has had most support in the betting so seems their strongest hope. Whatever wins it is always a exciting spectacle of a race to bring down the curtain on day 2.

The Form Team hope you are in pocket and continuing to savour the week. Good luck!

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