Four winners and a place yesterday for Sam, he's got tips for every race on day three.
13:30 Marsh Novices' Chase
A couple of bookmakers are offering four places in this race which looks like an each-way punters dream with the favourite being 4/1. There’s too many unkowns surrounding Samco to back at that price. It would obviously be amazing if Faugheen won, but I personally don’t give the Mullins horse that much chance. ITCHY FEET (best price 9-2 / 4 places) is the selection for me, narrowly beating an improving Mister Fisher.
Itchy Feet’s win at Sandown was mightily impressive, the six-year-old finished just over 3L ahead of Midnight Shadow, and miles clear of the chasing field. Olly Murphy’s horse also appeared to have plenty more left in the tank. He ran a solid third in the Supreme last season, and both wins since December have come on soft ground. This looks the perfect race. Melon could also snatch a place.
14:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle
There are a few who look like this race has been the target for a while and have been relatively well treated. However, I’ve opted to go with a couple of horses in good form and that can stay in testing conditions.
The first is SKANDIBURG (best price 10-1), who just keeps on improving with every run. He quite clearly didn’t run his race last time out but stayed from miles out to claim victory. Earlier in the season he lost narrowly to Honest Vic, who ran really well at Cheltenham yesterday. Skandiburg will stay, enjoys the track and will enjoy the conditions, tricky to see how he doesn’t finish in the top seven.
The second is WELSH SAINT (best price 6-1) who closed out his victory in good style last time out at Haydock. He’s another who is improving with every run, and will be staying on late at the end of this outing. He narrowly beat Silva Eclipse last time out, but they were a long way clear of Kilbricken Storm.
If you were looking for a couple of bigger priced runners with seven places available then Rapper and Copper Gone West could be handy.
14:50 Ryanair Chase
Very happy to take on Min, Frodon and Riders Onthe Storm in the Ryanair. Min was beaten by Un De Sceaux earlier in the season, and was beaten pretty comfortably by Chacun Pour Soi last time out. I’ve not been convinced by Frodon this season, but he was an impressive winner in this last year. I’m worried about the quality of that race at Ascot for Riders OnThe Storm, and how much it took out of the horse.
A lot of people are dismissing A PLUS TARD’s (best price 7-4) chances just because he won a handicap last Festival. However, he was very impressive when putting away Chacun Pour Soi last time out in Ireland.
15:30 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle
Yesterday was a prime example of how you should treat the supposed bankers with caution. PAISLEY PARK (best price 4-6) is the most obvious winner of the race, and there’s very little reason to doubt him but at 4/6, I’d be wary of steaming in. He showed all his qualities when winning on reappearance in January, if he can produce anything like that at the Festival he’ll be clear of the rest.
Ronald Pump is an excellent bet in the without market with firms offering three places, but at the price I’m going to have a go at THE JAM MAN (best price 25-1 w/o Paisley Park / 4 places). There’s no way I could see The Jam Man finishing ahead (or near) Paisley Park, but could I see him stay on for a place? Absolutely. He’s got plenty to find, but he’s shown plenty of encouragement on the softer ground, finishing his races pretty well. He would have been a lot closer to Skandiburg at Cheltenham in January, but was hampered at the last.
16:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase
It doesn’t take an expert to work out why SIMPLY THE BETTS (best price 7-2) has a cracking chance of landing this race. As you’d expect the price has completely gone but the seven-year-old is still the most likely winner. Harry Whittington’s horse was last seen beating Imperial Aura at Cheltenham in January. Since that run Imperial Aura has won the Northern Trust, and third placed On The Slopes has won at Kempton. Obviously not every horse improves at the same rate, hence the 7/2 price, plus it’s tricky to win these sort of handicaps.
ROBIN DES FORET (best price 16-1) returns to the track following wind surgery for Willie Mullins. The 10-year-old was an eyecatcher for me when finishing 5th in Ireland. He got badly hampered on two occasions, one almost bringing him to a stop. He would have comfortably stayed further than any other horse, but then got slightly squeezed out when they avoided the last jump. He finished a head behind Any Second Now who has come out and won since.
There are plenty of others in this race with each-way claims including Oldgrangewood, and it would be great to see Siruh Du Lac reproduce something similar to last Festival. Impossible to tip given this campaign, but one of the best jumpers going around.
16:50 Daylesford Mares' Novices' Hurdle
This is a pretty hard race to judge based on form, a lot of the Irish horses have been competing against each other, with not many others of note in the field. Colreevy looks an interesting type based on last season. Another one who could run well is Emmas Joy at 22/1, She won a testing race at Warwick last time out, she pulled clear and then found more when asked near the line.
However, I’m sticking with FLORESSA (best price 17-2 / 4 places) who was my ante-post selection in the race. She was hampered in the run in when losing to Lady Buttons last time out. Before that she recorded a victory against Jeremys Flame, and a close second to Stolen Silver. The ground is my only slight concern.
I’m also going to have a dabble on a 125/1 shot in this, as there’s plenty of holes to pick at the top of the market. ANNA BUNINA (best price 125-1) looked like she was going to mount a real challenge when running at Fairyhouse last time out. However, she was struck into and quickly pulled up. The time before she ran a decent third to Thyme White and Group Stage. Thyme White put in a decent display before fading yesterday. It’s obviously a 125/1 shot but she caught my eye despite pulling up.
17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase
Like Robin Des Foret, FITZHENRY (best price 12-1 / 5 places) was badly hampered in that race won by Glamorgan Duke at Leopardstown last month. He was travelling really well before his race was pretty much ended by a faller in front. He was also hampered when finishing second to Roaring Bull the race before. He’s finished ahead of a lot of decent horses this season without being able to score a win. He will enjoy the cut under foot and if he can get a clear run has every chance of landing another JP McManus winner.