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Cheltenham Festival Day Three Preview – St Patrick’s Thursday

Thursday at the Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of the week for many, as the large Irish contingent celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

The racing gets underway at 13:30 with the Grade 1 Turners Novices’ Chase, previously won by the likes of Yorkhill and Vautour in recent times.

The second race of the day is the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle, a highly competitive three-mile contest.

The Ryanair Chase, at 14:50, often turns out to be one of the most exciting races of the festival and is headlined by Shishkin in this year’s edition.

While the Stayers’ Hurdle is the feature race of St. Patrick’s Thursday, the last ‘Championship’ race prior to Friday’s Gold Cup.

Next up is the Plate, a handicap chase over almost three miles, while the penultimate race is the Mares Novices’ Hurdle.

And the Kim Muir rounds off the day’s racing, as amateur riders take on a trip of over three miles.

Park Life Sport previews the first four races on day three of the festival, with the help of racing expert Jake Russell.

Turners Novices’ Chase – 1:30

Mighty Potter (8/11) is the favourite for the Turners Novices’ Chase, and for good reason. The most accomplished horse in the race, he would be even shorter odds had it not been for a poor showing in last year’s festival. He was pulled in the two-mile Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but has responded with four wins out of four since.

Jake Russell: I think there is always going to be concern with Mighty Potter’s run last year, especially when he couldn’t get over the finish line. But he has bounced back in the best possible way and is the clear favourite for Gordon Elliot.

Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle – 2:10

Relatively inexperienced Thanksforthehelp (6/1), for trainer David Pipe, is the narrow favourite for the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle. While Gordon Elliot’s Maxxum (13/2) is Davy Russell’s preferred ride and has been tipped by a number of outlets in the build-up.

Jake Russell: By no means am I tipping this horse to anyone else, but I have a good feeling about Good Time Jonny (9/1). I like jockey Liam McKenna and I just see it running a big race, for no particular reason.

Ryanair Chase – 2:50

Shishkin (EVS) is one of the best horses in the world, let alone this race. Blue Lord (11/2) is superb, too, but should be no match for the 2020 Supreme and 2021 Arkle winner.

Jake Russell: Shishkin is excellent – a real powerhouse and dual Cheltenham Festival winner. I just can’t see him getting beat. Take nothing away from Blue Lord – he’s clearly superb – but unfortunately not on the level of Shishkin.

Stayers’ Hurdle – 3:30

The Stayers’ Hurdle is a tough one to call. The favourite, Teahupoo, is 5/2, while Blazing Khal (4/1) and Flooring Porter (13/2) are also strong contenders.

Jake Russell: I really like the look of Home By The Lee (15/2) – he won a decent pot last time out at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. He tackles this sort of trip well and the Cheltenham hill should play to his strengths.

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