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    Cheltenham Blog  -  Day Three, Thursday 17th March 2011    
    DATE POSTED: 16/03/2011    
    Wednesday was a very difficult day for punters, with many of the well fancied horses disappointing and the bookmakers reporting big wins.  So what does Thursday look like?  Ryan H takes us through his selections for day three of the premier National Hunt meeting...

Only one word can describe day two 'DISASTER'. It was certainly a good day for the bookmakers and the Irish who won six of the seven races. The entire day was just completely backwards as regards the calibre of horse that won. Further frustration was added when the race the Irish were actually expecting to win (the bumper) was won by the only British winner of the day. If anyone made a good profit they did extremely well. So onto day three.......

The first race of day three is a completely new race to the calendar. Although it is called the JEWSON, it is not actually the Jewson (Handicap) we have known for the past few years. It is simply a graded novice chase. As such there are no clues to the type of horse needed to win this, so it must be treated as a normal novice chase. On this basis ROBINSON COLLONGES (6/1) is my selection in the race.

When Robinson Collonges and Wishful Thinking met at Wincanton in November, Robinson Collonges was all over the winner before falling three out and was giving Wishful Thinking 8lbs that day. In today's race they are racing off level weights. Robinson Collonges was in the process of running a big race last time out at the course on his handicap debut before a mistake stopped him as he was beginning to mount a challenge. He has since been given a break and some intensive schooling which should put him spot on for this race. He also has the services of Ruby Walsh who is a master at getting novice chasers home.

The second race on the card is the PERTEMPS FINAL HANDICAP HURDLE. A difficult race to work out with a lot of seasoned handicappers and horses who have been specifically campaigned to be able run off of a good handicap mark in this race. However a chance is given to a novice, LUSH LIFE (14/1). He is a lightly raced horse who appears to be still progressing. He has won over course and distance on good ground and shaped well on that occasion. His last run can be forgotten about as he was left at the start after being attended to by the farrier.

A quality RYANAIR CHASE provides the third race on the card. The selection in this, although not very original is POQUELIN (11/4). He really does fit the mould of a Ryanair winner. As well as this, according to the official handicapper he is the best horse in the field by at least 4lbs (presuming Somersby doesn't line up just a day after running). He has winning course and distance form as well as winning form on good ground. He is quite a short price for a race of this nature but is a likely winner.

The fourth feature race of day three is the WORLD HURDLE. Only two words spring to mind and they are BIG BUCKS (EVS). A truly great horse who always seems to do the bare minimum required to win but always wins so comfortably. He sometimes makes you sweat a bit when he seems to loose a bit of interest mid-race, but always picks up again to win. As far as conditions are concerned they could not be more in his favour. The course, the ground, the trip and the jockey are all perfect. Although many people believe there may be a new kid on the block to take over Big Bucks crown the official handicapper still rates Big Bucks 5lbs higher than Grand Crus, who has to prove he goes on the ground, which I think is unlikely.

The fifth race on the card is the BYRNE GROUP HANDICAP CHASE. This is a hot race with any number of potential winners. A chance is given to QUARTZ DE THAIX (7/1) who is on the search of a hat-trick. He has returned to fences in great form this season and for this race is also 7lbs in front of the handicapper due to winning only last week. He will love the ground, he is a distance winner and has also won at the course.

The sixth and final race of day three is the KIM MUIR HANDICAP CHASE. 24 runner amateur races are never the easiest to work out. The horse taken to win this is MOSTLY BOB (16/1). The horse is a novice who has been progressing well over fences this season. He has already won over 3 miles on good ground so conditions should be fine for him. Although a faller last time out, he is reported to have 'lost no confidence in his jumping and has been schooled with no problems'. His pilot MR J A BEST has not yet ridden a winner under rules but has come close from just seven attempts. From what I was told by a gentleman I met at Cheltenham on day two, he has ridden a fair few point to point winners so the jockey would not be a worry to me.


Lets hope that day three is a lot easier to find winners than the previous day. My two best bets of the day are in the two feature races, POQUELIN and BIG BUCKS. The world hurdle has been built up as a match, there may well be a third opponent, but I very much doubt it.

Read Day Two's Blog from the Festival
Read Day One's Blog from the Festival

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