by Aodán Boland
Day three has arrived and if it’s anything like the opening two days than the average punter is in trouble. Day two produced more high odd winners and drama, for a full recap click here. Let’s have a look at today’s races which includes the Ryanair Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle.
A cracking race to start day three. Last season’s Neptune winner, Yorkhill is the favourite at 6/5 and i expect him to run his race but I like Nicky Henderson’s Top Notch at 4/1. He is on a four race win streak and won a Grade 1 at Sandown last time out. Their is a number of horses certainly capable in this race but i like Top Notch.
Tobefair has won his last 7 races and certainly worth a look at 11/1. Noel Fehily is having a cracker of a festival so far, he rides 25/1 shot Ballymalin in this race and could make a nice each way bet.
This looks like a highly competitive Ryanair Chase. Ruby rides the 5/2 favourite Un De Sceaux who beat 10/1 underdog Uxizandre here in January but I’m going to go for Irish Gold Cup runner-up Empire Of Dirt who’s available at 11/4. He won the Plate on this card 12 months ago and has been in great form for his new yard this season.
It’s time for the feature race of the day and I have to go for the favourite, Unowhatimeanharry at 11/8. The horse is 3-3 this season and Noel Fehily will fancy this after winning the feature race on Tuesday and Wednesday. 2014 Champion Hurdle winner Jezki is second best at 13/2.
Tough Grade 3 race, 2016 Coral Cup winner Diamond King is the 5/1 favourite, he’s been fantastic over fences this season and i expect him to do the job for Gordon Elliott. I also like Jonjo O’Neill’s Champagne At Tara at 28/1 and could be worth a look at especially at those odds.
Willie Mullin’s pair, Let’s Dance and Airlie Beach lead the way in this Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle but i have to go with the latter. The unbeaten Airlie Beach extended his unbeaten record to seven at Fairyhouse in December and I like this mare at 9/2. La Bague Au Roi, Verdana Blue and Coillte Lass could all make an impact at big odds.
We end the day with a Class 2 Handicap Chase, and i’ll go for Nicky Henderson’s Premier Bond at 16/1. Sam Waley-Cohen gets the ride on the novice chase winner.
Well that’s my predictions for day three of the highly unpredictable 2017 Cheltenham Festival. The bookmakers have run riot so far but hopefully today the punters will fight back.
We’ll be back tomorrow to have a look at the final day of this year’s festival which will include the Gold Cup.