Cheltenham Festival 2018 Day 3: Robin Goodfellow’s racing tips

Cheltenham Festival 2018 Day 3: Robin Goodfellow’s racing tips

Sportsmail’s racing expert Robin Goodfellow dishes out his tips for day three of the Cheltenham Festival as well as Thursday’s meetings at Hexham, Chelmsford City and Towcester. 

Last Goodbye can add to the Irish success in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Plate Chase

CHELTENHAM

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

1.30 Terrefort

2.10 Forza Milan

2.50 Balko Des Flos

3.30 Sam Spinner

4.10 Last Goodbye (nap)

4.50 Laurina

5.30 Mall Dini (nb)

GIMCRACK

1.30 Terrefort

2.10 Glenloe

2.50 Un De Sceau x (nap)

3.30 Supasundae

4.10 King’s Socks

4.50 Laurina (nb)

5.30 Mall Dini

JLT NOVICES’ CHASE

1.30: GRADE ONE — 2 MILES 4 FURLONGS 

Willie Mullins has dominated recent runnings of this race, taking the last three with Yorkhill, Black Hercules and Vautour, with Sir Des Champs also obliging in 2012.

Even without star jockey Ruby Walsh, he has a leading chance of extending that strong sequence courtesy of Invitation Only, who ran a blinder in the Grade One Flogas Chase at the Dublin Festival.

He is a tough horse to oppose with that form in the book, but TERREFORT has looked a special talent since joining Nicky Henderson from France and could end a frustrating run of near misses in this event for his handler.

Top Notch, Bristol De Mai and L’Ami Serge have all gone close in these colours in recent renewals and this year’s representative looks likely to post a bold showing.

Terrefort showed great tenacity to see off the useful Cyrname in a Sandown Grade One last time, having previously dispensed with Bentelimar at Huntingdon.

Of the others, Snow Falcon is interesting as he ran well in the Flogas, finishing fifth, and may sneak into the frame.

BEST BET:  TERREFORT 4-1

NEXT BEST:  INVITATION ONLY 11-4

PERTEMPS NETWORK HURDLE

2.10: LISTED — 3 MILES 

As is the norm with this race, many of the contenders have been endeavouring to hide their true abilities from the handicapper. However, Louis’ Vac Pouch and FORZA MILAN have at least offered a glimpse of their capabilities and appear leading contenders.

The duo fought out the finish to an Aintree handicap last November where two lengths separated them at the line, but the latter may have been a shade unfortunate not to have finished closer as he landed in a heap after the final hurdle.

Louis’ Vac Pouch has not been seen since, which may not be a bad thing given his yard have been woefully out of form this winter, but recent signs are more encouraging and he should appreciate the likelihood of a strong gallop.

Forza Milan sports a tongue tie for the first time which may help, and he represents a stable who have made a habit of winning this race since the turn of the century.

His latest effort at Newbury was another creditable one. Glenloe and Sort It Out have caught the eye with their efforts in qualifying for this race and are respected.

BEST BET:  FORZA MILAN 12-1

NEXT BEST: LOUIS’ VAC POUCH 8-1

Balko Des Flos could deliver a memorable win for the sponsors in the Ryanair Chase

RYANAIR CHASE

2.50: GRADE ONE — 2 MILES 5 FURLONGS 

This may be another small field for a Cheltenham Grade One Chase, but it promises to be a belter, with last year’s champion Un De Sceaux taking on 2013 winner Cue Card and a number of other interesting contenders.

Frontrunners have enjoyed success in this race recently, which will increase confidence for Cue Card fans. He posted one of the finest performances in defeat in years when picked off close to home by Waiting Patiently at Ascot.

If he can peak again just four weeks on he could be a tough nut to crack, but will not be left alone at the head of affairs with Sub Lieutenant, Frodon and Un De Sceaux likely to be snapping at his heels.

The latter has won three of his four races at Cheltenham but he was coming to the end of his tether 12 months ago and more rain may leave him vulnerable to the likes of BALKO DES FLOS and, to a lesser extent, Cloudy Dream. Ryanair have yet to win the race they sponsor but in Balko Des Flos they may have a prime candidate given how well he ran behind Road To Respect in a Leopardstown Grade One at Christmas.

BEST BET: BALKO DES FLOS 7-1

NEXT BEST: UN DE SCEAUX 5-4

STAYERS HURDLE

3.30: GRADE ONE — 3 MILES  

A slog in the mud should be just about perfect for SAM SPINNER, who can exploit any stamina concerns in his rivals by leading from the front.

It will be a big ask of his young rider Joe Colliver — who lacks experience of riding at the Festival — to dictate a suitable pace. But his mount has a tremendous zest for racing and a wonderful attitude and if any horse can beat him, it will know that it has been in a race.

Sam Spinner is arguably one of few true stayers in the field and any rain will also play to his strengths. L’Ami Serge was beaten by the selection at Ascot last time, but he did manage to finish within three lengths and it isn’t difficult to envisage him still with plenty in the tank heading to the final hurdle.

Whether he finds as much as Sam Spinner from that point is the question he must answer.

The ground is a major concern for Supasundae, while a severe stamina test is also a worry for The New One. But given the form of the Mullins horses this week, Penhill and Bacardys are respected.

BEST BET: SAM SPINNER 7-2

NEXT BEST: L’AMI SERGE 12-1

Sam Spinner is arguably one of few true stayers in the field for the Stayers Hurdle

BROWN ADVISORY AND MERRIEBELLE PLATE CHASE

4.10: GRADE THREE – 2 MILES 5 FURLONGS 

This appears one of the toughest races of the week for punters with a number of the main protagonists holding compelling claims. David Pipe boasts an excellent record in this race and King’s Socks went into plenty of notebooks following an eye-catching display on his British debut at Kempton.

He has form linked with Arkle Chase hero Footpad in his native France and is sure to be a popular pick. However, the Irish have won the last two renewals of this race and LAST GOODBYE and The Storyteller could well take a hand in the finish.

The former was more than a shade unlucky in the novices’ handicap won by old adversary Tully East at this meeting 12 months ago and he advertised his wellbeing with a terrific victory at Leopardstown last time. He should relish the ground.

The Storyteller shaped with a degree of promise in the Flogas Chase last time and was far from knocked about when his chance had gone. He had previously chased home Invitation Only at Punchestown and is highly interesting now that he is dropped into handicap company. It would be no surprise to see another talented novice in Movewiththetimes attract sustained market support after enjoying a break.

BEST BET: LAST GOODBYE 10-1

NEXT BEST: THE STORYTELLER 13-2

MARES NOVICES’ HURDLE

4.50: GRADE TWO — 2 MILES 1 FURLONGS

LAURINA is perceived to be the banker of the week by many punters and it is hard to quibble with that, having seen her rout a field of Grade Three mares at Fairyhouse in January.

The time of the victory suggested Laurina is a special talent and runner-up Alletrix, thumped by 11 lengths that day, has since hammered a competitive field at Leopardstown to give the form a handsome boost.

Unfortunately, Laurina’s price is thinner than my barnet, but she boasts tremendous quality and it will be disappointing if she doesn’t stamp her authority on this event and emulate stablemates Let’s Dance and Limini.

The admirable Maria’s Benefit has been a revelation this season and looks a chief rival even if she suffered an 11th-hour scare in her preparation, while any further rain could play to the strengths of Cap Soleil, who won a Listed bumper at this venue last winter and has continued her education in impressive fashion over hurdles.

Any deterioration in conditions won’t harm her chance and she has been tidily backed in the ante-post markets with no issues about her stamina if it did become a war of attrition.

BEST BET: LAURINA 4-7

NEXT BEST: CAP SOLEIL 12-1

FULKE WALWYN KIM MUIR CHALLENGE CHASE

5.30: 3 MILES 2 FURLONGS 

MALL DINI didn’t enjoy the greatest passage or ride in this race 12 months ago and could be a good bet to atone this time. Trainer Patrick Kelly has produced great results at recent Festivals with a select band of horses and Mall Dini appears to have enjoyed a campaign largely geared around this race.

Connections reach for the first-time blinkers in a bid to sharpen their eight-year-old’s concentration, while the booking of Patrick Mullins, who was successful on day one, is another positive for a talented horse.

Squouateur was moving into contention 12 months ago when crashing out and is sure to be popular with Jamie Codd again on board. He has had a wind operation which may prove a catalyst to a better showing than of late.

The Young Master has also been under the knife after disappointing at Newcastle, but his previous performance at Kempton behind Fountains Windfall would give him claims.

This test may also be suitable for Final Nudge, a creditable third in the Welsh National before performing soundly at Sandown. He has struggled over marathon trips this season, but travels well and could surprise.

BEST BET: MALL DINI 5-1

NEXT BEST: SQUOUATEUR 9-2

PETER SCUDAMORE – EIGHT TIMES CHAMPION JOCKEY

SUPASUNDAE landed the Coral Cup at last year’s meeting and I reckon he will return this afternoon to land the Grade One Stayers’ Hurdle.

Trainer Jessica Harrington seems very keen on the chances of Robbie Power’s mount and it is easy to see why.

PETER SCUDAMORE’S SELECTIONS 

1.30 INVITATION ONLY 11-4

2.10 LOUIS’ VAC POUCH8-1

2.50 CLOUDY DREAM 10-1

3.30 SUPASUNDAE 5-1

4.10 KING’S SOCKS 8-1

4.50 LAURINA 4-7

5.30 BAND OF BLOOD 12-1 

Supasundae followed last year’s Festival with a length second to Yanworth, who he faces again, at Aintree but his form this season looks on a higher level.

He was narrowly beaten at this three-mile trip, trying to give Apple’s Jade seven pounds at Christmas and then decisively beat Faugheen by over two lengths in the Irish Champion Hurdle back over two miles.

The Irish will be fancied to land the Ryanair Chase with the challenge headed by Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux.

But I think the prize will be heading north courtesy of Ruth Jefferson’s CLO UDY DREAM .

Jefferson has bypassed this race with the talented Waiting Patiently, but Cloudy Dream has some top-class form including a last-time-out second-place finish behind Gold Cup hope Native River at Newbury. Some may think he has too many seconds in his form to be reliable but I don’t think the mount of Brian Hughes has always been running over his optimum trip. He gets it today and Hughes will be able to sit off a fast pace and pounce late.

LA URINA is the horse carrying the unbeatable tag this week for the Willie Mullins team. She is a short-priced favourite I can’t see being beaten in the Truill House Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

Mullins has a cracking chance too in the opening JLT Novices’ Chase with INVITATION ONLY .

KING’S SOCKS jumped sketchily on his British debut at Kempton but on his French form he would have to be considered for the Brown Advisory Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase.

CAPTAIN HEATH (MARCUS TOWNEND)  

MALL DINI was fifth in the Kim Muir Fulke Walwyn Handicap Chase last year — but he was left with a lot to do when badly positioned as the field had to bypass the third-last fence. With Patrick Mullins booked to ride and blinkers fitted, he has claims to get it right this time.

FORMCAST (NIGEL TAYLOR)  

UN DE SCEAUX won the same Ryanair Chase last year, beating Sub Lieutenant by one-and-a-half lengths. This season he has run as well as ever with two easy wins. A three-time winner at Cheltenham, he looks a good bet to beat chief market rival Cue Card.

CAPTAIN HEATH’S SELECTIONS 

1.30 INVITATION ONLY 11-4

2.10 SORT IT OUT 10-1

2.50 UN DE SCEAUX 5-4

3.30 SAM SPINNER 7-2

4.10. THE STORYTELLER 13-2

4.50 LAURINA 4-7

5.30 MALL DINI 5-1

FORMCAST’S SELECTIONS 

1.30 TERREFORT 4-1

2.10 DELTA WORK 12-1

2.50 UN DE SCEAU X 5-4

3.30 SUPASUNDAE 5-1

4.10 OLDGRANGE WOOD 16-1

4.50 LAURINA 4-7

5.30 AUBUSSON 16-1

BEAT THE FAVOURITE

Our football experts like to go against the grain with their tips. Here are their picks to trounce Wednesday’s fancied runners…

JAMIE REDKNAPP:  5.20 MALL DINI

CHRIS SUTTON: 4.50 MARIA’S BENEFIT

GRAHAM POLL:  2.50 CUE CARD

WINNERS ENCLOSURE – BEST BETS, BEST ODDS WITH LADBROKES’ NICOLA McGEADY  

YESTERDAY was nothing short of a bloodbath for bookmakers as bankers Samcro, Presenting Percy and Altior all won. Punters are now well in front at the halfway mark. Today is the unofficial St Patrick’s Day at Cheltenham but we will be taking on some of the Irish good things none the less. With plenty of rain forecast, the third day is expected to be really testing.

I really fancy Terrefort to run a big race for his trainer Nicky Henderson in the JLT Novices’ Chase. He made a big impression on his British debut and then again at Sandown in February. The testing conditions will be right up his street so I have him on my shortlist at 4-1.

The favourite, Invitation Only, is one we will be taking our fair share of. He was impressive when winning a Grade Three at Punchestown but came third to Monalee

Punters will pile money on these hot picks…  

INVITATION ONLY, UX DE SCEAUX, SAM SPINNER AND LAURINA

last time out at the Dublin Racing Festival and there are others in the race we prefer. The Irish dominate the Pertemps Network Hurdle and Gordon Elliott trains favourite Glenloe, owned by JP McManus. He has been placed in all three of his starts this season in similar races to this. Cheltenham will suit him and he has plenty more to come.

Many believe Un De Sceaux has the Ryanair Chase sewn up. However, he is 10 years old and was all out at the end of the race last year. The soft ground could make it even more of a stamina test than before.

With Waiting Patiently out of the Ryanair Chase, I think Cloud y Dream at 12-1 is an able deputy and can make up for his absence. He came second to Altior in last year’s Racing Post Arkle and his form this season looks good, with seconds to the likes of Definitly Red and Native River. I think he is good enough to cause an upset.

The feature race on the card is the Stayers Hurdle where Sam Spinner has replaced Supasundae as favourite. He will try and complete a rags-to-riches story for trainer Jedd O’Keefe. The rain is in his favour and he is a worthy favourite.

… but keep an eye on these outsiders 

 TERREFORT AND CLOUDY DREAM

I have been to a lot of Cheltenham preview nights and the one horse nobody is arguing with is 8-13 banker Laurina in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle. Reports from the stable have been nothing short of glowing. 

She is top class and there will be no ground issues. Squ ouateur runs in the Kim Muir and although he is at the front of the betting, we will look to be competitive about him. Last year he unseated Jamie Codd when three out. He is always backed at the Festival but I think is running out of excuses.

Our traders look to be top price about Pendra, but I think he could be value each-way. He has great Cheltenham form and always seems to be placed.

HOTSPOTS

Work whisper: COLIN’S SISTER (Cheltenham, 3.30)

Weighting game:  HILL FORT (Towcester, 4.35)

Down 22lb from last winning mark.

Burnt fingers: EVINCE (Chelmsford City, 7.30)

Captain Heath trio  

MALL DINI (nap) (Cheltenham, 5.30)

SAM SPINNER (nb) (Cheltenham, 3.30)

UN DE SCEAUX  (Cheltenham, 2.50)

Formcast special bet  

UN DE SCEAUX (Cheltenham, 2.50) 

HEXHAM

ROBIN GOODFELLOW 

1.45 Cornerstone Lad

2.25 Mcginty’s Dream

3.05 Haul Us In

3.45 Portrait King

4.25 Princess Mononoke

5.05 Mr Witmore

5.40 Western Honour

GIMCRACK

1.45 Cornerstone Lad

2.25 Nelly La Rue

3.05 Dudette

3.45 Itstimeforapint

4.25 Princess Mononoke

5.05 Mr Witmore

5.40 Storm Nelson

CHELMSFORD CITY 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW  

5.55 Pulsating

6.30 Waneen

7.00 Boom The Groom

7.30 Glorious Army

8.00 Azam

8.30 Lacan

9.00 Weloof

GIMCRACK

5.55 Impart

6.30 Firesnake

7.00 Just That Lord

7.30 Aquarium

8.00 Azam

8.30 Arsenio Lupin

9.00 German Whip

TOWCESTER 

ROBIN GOODFELLOW  

1.20 Scotchtown

1.55 Lissycasey

2.35 American Life

3.15 Alberto’s Dream

3.55 Oscar Star

4.35 Jasani

5.15 Hazel Hill

GIMCRACK

1.20 Abbreviate

1.55 Llantara

2.35 Banco De Logos

3.15 Call Carlo

3.55 City Star

4.35 Jasani

5.15 Hazel Hill

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