Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival is building in anticipation, as fans and punters build their bets and accumulators ahead of another afternoon of excitement and drama.
Firm favourites Bob Olinger and Monkfish ran to storming victories in the 13:20 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and 13:55 Brown Advisory Novices’ Steeple Chase respectively, whereas outside shots Heaven Help Us at 33/1 and Sky Pirate at 14/1 gave some lucky betters a hefty pay-out.
Today sees 2/5 banker Envoi Allen strongly tipped to take victory in the 13:20 Marsh Novice’s Chase, but could there be any other outside bets from this race and throughout the day?
Park Life Sport’s racing expert Nic O’Leary shares his tips of which horses, from which trainers, punters should keep an eye on throughout the afternoon.
“Willie Mullins’ had four winners in this race in previous years, so it’s best to keep an eye out for his horses, he could even have five after today,” he said.
“This is a popular race for the 7-year-olds, the oldest winner is 8. Vautour has the record time, also successful in 2015 and then went on to win the Ryan Air in 2016.”
Willie Mullins has horses Asterion Forlonge (22/1) and Black Bow (33/1) riding out in the first race of the day, who will have to deny Envoi Allen from an almost certain win and cause a huge shock at the Festival.
“Imperial Commander is a horse worth remembering today, with this afternoon’s runners Imperial Aura and Imperial Alcazar owned by the same people, as Imperial Commander went on to win the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup, so those two could replicate that sort of success in this race.”
15:05 will stage the highly anticipated Stayers’ Hurdle, where Paisley Park and Aidan Coleman will be looking to avenge their disappointing 7th place finish and look the strong favourites for top spot.
The Mares’ Novice’s Hurdle is another key race to keep an eye on, where O’Leary expects more success for Mullins and Ireland.
“Mullins has won all five of these so I would probably say he us your strongest angle in terms of winners,” he continues. “He absolutely owns this race.
“But no jockey has been successful more than once, so we have to check winning jockeys running in this race and keep an eye particularly on lap one.”