Cheltenham 2021, Day 3: After Kilkenny’s glorious day in the Cotswold’s can we get another winner?
By Jonny Browne
After a glorious day for Kilkenny Horse Racing yesterday, today could see wins spread out across Ireland and the UK, with bigger fields and fewer standout favourites.
Envoi Allen is the obvious banker of the the day, and he goes off in the first.
1:20 – Marsh Novice’s Chase
This looks a slam dunk for Envoi Allen, not only because he’s an amazing horse, but also because of what looks like a real paucity of opposition.
The stable switch is a concern however, and this affair may have less of an impact on him than a more experienced horse, with that in mind he’s pretty much impossible to oppose.
In terms of opposition Shan Blue looks next best, a smashing jumper who stays further.
Chatham Street Lad pulverised a good field in the Caspian Caviar here in December and must be respected if in the same form but is still opposing Envoi Allen.
Fusil Raffles looks overpriced. He’s 3 from 4 this season, last time over course and distance where he beat Lieutenant Rocco by 4 lengths and 14 lenghts clear of Chantry House.
Conclusion – Envoi Allen
Fusil Raffle‘s price is just wrong at 16s so is obvious for an each way punt.
1:55 – Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Final
The Bosses Oscar has been all the rage here for months and was very unlucky in the Martin Pipe last year (5th). His form this year stacks up pretty well, however he has been crucified by the British handicapper – carrying an extra 8lbs.
This all seems to favour Imperial Alcazar, who looks a potential graded horse so an 8lb increase and mark of 147 is perfectly workable for him.
Come On Teddy was just 5l behind the former last time out and now has the benefit of an 8lb swing which could put him in the picture.
Champagne Platinum is the other market principal, who he went off favourite for the Kim Muir last year and emptied after 2 out, so that is not encouraging.
Of those at bigger prices, Mrs Milner who was 2nd over course and distance and 4th in the Leopardstown qualifier at Christmas, but did come a cropper in the recent Dublin Racing Festival.
Spiritofthegames is definitely handicapped to win and was 6th in the Plate last year off 10lb higher.
Conclusion – Imperial Alcazar just shades The Bosses Oscar.
Mrs Milner, Spiritofthegames for the minor places.
2:30 – Ryanair Chase
This could well be the race of the festival. Currently, there are seven horses priced up in single figures and they’re all top class horses.
Fakir d’Oudaries finished second to Queen Mother winner Put the Kettle on at last year’s festival, and finished an 8l second to Chacun Pour Soi in the Dublin Racing Festival. That form looks strong.
Willie Mullins saddles three of those seven – Min, Melon and Allaho and all like to go from the front. Melon could be the pick of the trio as Allaho might struggle to get to front in that company. Min’s performance at Leopardstown last time out was alarming having been pulled up halfway round.
Mister Fisher must have a chance too, particularly if the ground is quick. He ran quite well in the Marsh last year and it was a career best when he ran over course and distance in the Peterborough.
It seems odd not to mention former superstar in the making Samcro – who’s unbeaten at the track. Like last year, he’s coming off a bad prep but this looks a lot deeper than the Marsh he won.
Dashel Drasher keeps improving but definitely won’t get it his own way up front, while Tornado Flyer is a good horse, but his handicap could be off the mark
Conclusion – Fakir d’Oudaries might outlast Mister Fisher
Dashel Drasher a good each way option.
3:05 – Stayer’s Hurdle
Paisley Park is obviously the one to beat. A late surge had him ahead of the withdrawn Thyme Hill at Ascot and assuming no health issues he’ll certainly be coming home stronger than most.
Sire Du Berlais loves the track having won the last two Pertemps finals off a big weight and his time in winning last year was quicker than the Stayers itself (also carried 2lb more). He has to be feared.
The Storyteller has taken his own chase form to a new high this year (gone up 7lb to 165) and with the expected strong pace will be delivered late. He has course form outside last year also having won the Plate in 2018 and is a solid option.
Vinndication is a high-class staying chaser and has been the one for money recently. He goes well fresh and has decent course form/
Flooring Porter won the Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas having (potentially) stolen it from the front – it would be some story if he could repeat the job here.
Sam Spinner will challenge the aforementioned at the front and might stay on for a place.
Conclusion – Sire Du Berlais could be too good for Paisley Park.
The Storyteller and Lisnagar Oscar represent good value each way bets.
3:40 – Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase (formerly Brown Advisory)
The Shunter had many options to saddle up at this festival and has ended up here, so for that reason alone has to be very much respected.
Kilkenny based trainer Joseph O’Brien has a strong hand and A Wave Of The Sea looks the best here after an impressive win at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Fils D’Oudaries gave top horse Envoi Allen a race of it before Christmas, so keep an eyeout on Envoi Allen’s performance in the first race and judge off that.
Farclas is handicapped to win but looked outpaced at the Dublin Racing Festival. He did win the Triumph Hurdle in 2019 (weak renewal) so does like the track.
Caribean Boy has been hugely disappointing since looking a Ryanair contender having won at Newbury in November.
At bigger prices Mister Whitaker (3rd in the race off the same mark last year) loves the C&D but may be vulnerable for win purposes and Smarty Wild who has solid enough form and looks ready for this slight step up in trip.
Conclusion – The Shunter to edge out Fils D’Oudaries
Mister Whitaker and Smarty Wild may be the wildly smart bets each way.
4:15 – Mares Novices Hurdle
Skyace has been a big priced winner her last two starts. Shark Hanlon picked her up for just €600 from Willie Mullins a couple of summers ago and she’s gone on to win more than €40,000 since!
The suspicion is that she definitely wants much further (has won over 3m) – the hope therefore is they all go a mad gallop out front and the pace collapses.
Glens of Antrim has been a notable horse having run against the boys on her three starts. She looks to have a good engine but might be lacking gears.
The Glancing Queen looks rock solid. A really good bumper mare who has twice run with credit in the bumper here and has won the mares bumper at Aintree. She’s had trouble with injuries but is two from four over hurdles and has ran well in defeat.
Mighty Blue was an excellent flat horse and seems to be warming up over hurdles.
Conclusion – Skyace if the race is true looks to have the better of Hook Up and Glens of Antrim.
The Glancing Queen looks a solid each way bet and Mighty Blue could be a danger.
4:50 – Kim Muir Handicap Chase
The ground has come good for Plan of Attack and attack could be the tactics here.
He showed real signs of life when 8th in the Paddy Power at Leopardstown at Christmas and must have a cracking chance having been off since then.
Deise Aba won at Sandown last month in gruelling enough conditions and may prefer the ground a bit heavier here.
Kilfilum Cross was 2nd in the race in 2019 and although the form looks look appalling, this race must have been the plan since last year.
Hold The Note looked in need of a step up in trip when beaten by Enrilo at Newbury and he’s now 5lb lower than when a staying on 3rd in the novices handicap last year, but he has had a wind op since then.
Conclusion – Plan of Attack
Hold The Note, Didero Vallis and Kilfilum Cross could make the places.