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Cheltenham Tips for Thursday & Schedules

Cheltenham Day 3 Tips 2020, Thursday 12th March, Day 3 Tips and Schedule

Time Race Cheltenham 2020 Tips
13:30 Marsh Novices’ Chase Read Tip
14:10 Pertemps Final Read Tip
14:50 Ryanair Chase Read Tip
15:30 Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle Read Tip
16:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Read Tip
16:50 National Hunt Breeders Mares Novices’ Hurdle Read Tip
17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase Read Tip


Cheltenham Day 3 Acca

Each day of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, our racing expert Stephen Harris posts his best acca of the day. Stephen’s Cheltenham Day 3 three leg acca is available now with his best bets from the Mares Novices Hurdle, Ryanair Chase and Stayers Hurdle.


Marsh Novices’ Chase 2020

Race 1, Thursday 12th March 1:30

Irish trained runners have dominated this 2m4f Grade 1 Novice Chase in recent times, winning 7 of the last 9 runnings, but they suffered a reversal in 2019 when the well backed 3/1f Defi du Seuil landed hefty cash under a superbly judged patient ride from Barry Geraghty. He has since franked the form in style in numerous Grade 1’s, and form students will be searching hard for future champions in the 2020 renewal.

There is no standout contender at this stage of proceedings with “8/1 the field” freely available from the bookmakers, but perhaps Nicky Henderson’s Mister Fisher is the one to concentrate on. He jumped superbly given his inexperience when winning a warm novice chase at Doncaster in January, and is just the type to relish a stiff test of stamina over this trip at Cheltenham.


Pertemps Final 2020

Race 2, Thursday 12th March 2:10

One of the most competitive handicap hurdles of the entire four days, with the runners earning their place in the line up by running in a series of Pertemps qualifiers over the winter months and the 3m trip providing a severe test of stamina given the fast gallop from the tape.

This has the reputation of something of a bookmakers benefit, with a maximum field size every year and some huge priced winners roared home by the men with the satchels. However, the punters enjoyed a notable coup in 2019 when the JP McManus owned Sire de Berlais landed an almighty plunge from double figures down to 4/1f by the off.

He is one of the more likely contenders for 2020, but will have a much higher handicap mark to defy this time around, and the current offer of at least 10/1 the field does not make great punting appeal (extra places often down to 8th are available on the day by shopping around).


Ryanair Chase 2020

Race 3, Thursday 12th March 2:50

A race that has grown in popularity since its inauguration in 2015, with over £200,000 in prize money attracting big name stars like Cue Card, Vautour, Un de Sceaux and Frodon to come here rather than the Gold Cup. The 2m4f trip is more suitable for those with a bit of speed (rather than the 3m2f test of the Blue Riband), and the 2020 renewal again has a wide open look to it with running plans fluid at this stage.

Ante-post markets are headed at 6/1 and upwards by Min, A Plus Tard and 2019 winner Frodon, with the last named sure to get another bold attacking frontrunning ride from the ever-popular Bryony Frost (superb record at Cheltenham and met every fence perfectly when pulling off a gallant victory last year).


Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle 2020

Race 4, Thursday 12th March 3:30

The highlight of Thursday at the Festival, with the battle to become champion 3m stayer one of the big titles of the week that is up for grabs. Over the years there have been some prolific winners of the race, with legends like Barracouda and Big Bucks becoming household names by coming back year after year to try and retain their crown.

More recently the division has had a more open look, with Willie Mullins Penhill causing a major shock at 25/1 in 2018. A new star emerged in Paisley Park last season, graduating from winning handicaps before Christmas to become a solid Grade 1 winner at the Festival. He was hammered down to 11/8f and delivered with supreme confidence there by Aidan Coleman, and his preparation has been flawless as he bids to register back to back victories in 2020. At around Even money he is going to be one of the shortest priced favourites of the week, with very few new rivals emerging to challenge, and he is sure to be in thousands of multiple bets over the four days.


Brown Advisory Plate 2020

Race 5, Thursday 12th March 4:10

Another wide open handicap that is always a tricky puzzle to solve, with comparing the form across from Britain and Ireland always difficult (form in Ireland usually a stone better as a general rule but their marks allotted by the handicapper do reflect that to level things up).

In 2019 Lizzie Kelly gained a memorable first winner at the Festival when she partnered Siruh du Lac to fend off 3/1f Jankia up the hill, making most of the running and remarkably finding more when hard pressed from the last. This is traditionally a quiet betting race in the lead up to the day, with running plans fluid, and the layers currently offer “12/1 the field” headed by Ben Dundee and Glenloe from Ireland.


National Hunt Breeders Novice Hurdle 2020

Race 6, Thursday 12th March 4:50

A Grade 2 for mares over 2m1f that has failed to capture the public imagination since its first running in 2016. The contests have been very light betting heats, with the principals trained by a small number of Irish yards (and their running plans kept a closely guarded secret until the last possible moment). Limini, Let’s Dance and Laurina ran out facile winners of the first three runnings, but there was a boilover in 2019 as Willie Mullins Eglantine du Seuil sprang a 50/1 shock.

In 2020 Nicky Henderson’s Maries Rock has really impressed over hurdles so far, looking a high class prospect when winning a warm race at Taunton in January. She could be the one to snap the dominance of the Irish if heading to this prize rather than a couple of alternative entries.


Kim Muir Challenge Cup 2020

Race 7, Thursday 12th March 5:30

Thrills and spills to end the day, with a 3m2f handicap chase confined to amateur riders, and the skills of the various riders are often the decisive factor in deciding the outcome.
In 2019 Derek O’Connor showed why he is one of the best amateurs around when guiding the quirky Any Second Now to victory in a stamina sapping finish, and it is well worth siding with the riders with the most experience as well as studying the form claims of the principals. This is a light race from an early betting point of view, with perhaps Glenloe and OK Corral the most interesting contenders to attract cash in the ante-post markets so far.


Cheltenham 2020 St Patricks Thursday Races

Thursday begins with a cracking JLT Novice Chase, and punters have very much had the better of things in recent years. In 2018 the Irish raider Shattered Love landed a wholesale gamble on the day down to 4/1 from 8/1 in the morning, storming clear impressively on the bridle up the hill, and last year Defi Du Seuil (well backed 3/1 chance and owned by the legendary gambler J P McManus) came through under a confident ride from Barry Geraghty.

The Pertemps Finale provides a stern test for backers, with big priced winners commonplace and a maximum field of high class handicappers meaning luck in running always plays a huge part in the final outcome. There was a rare result for punters in 2019 when Sire de Berlais landed the cash down to 4/1f under a never say die from Geraghty, getting up in the final strides having looking to be struggling a mile out, and bookmakers will be hoping that normal service resumes in 2020 (currently offering at least 14/1 the field).

The Grade 1 Ryanair Chase is up next and divides opinion, with some punters feeling it dilutes the quality of the week away from the Gold Cup on Friday (while others feel it provides a great opening for those high class chasers who might not quite be good enough at the top table). In 2019 Bryony Frost gave a masterclass in horsemanship to bring home the popular Frodon in front for champion trainer Paul Nicholls, and he seems sure to be back for a repeat bid this time around.

The highlight of Thursday is undoubtedly the Grade 1 Stayers hurdle which brings together the best three mile hurdlers from Britain, Ireland and France. This has produced some prolific legends of the game who have dominated the race, with Big Bucks and Baracouda two in recent times who have come back year after year to battle for the title of Champion stayer. In 2019 a new pretender emerged as Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park landed a huge public gamble on the day in terrific style, travelling typically strongly under Aidan Coleman and easing away from the resolute Sam Spinner up the hill. He has remained unbeaten since, and comes into the 2020 contest as one of the shortest priced public bankers of the week.

A very competitive Kim Muir handicap chase is the “getting out stakes” on Thursday, with amateur riders of varying ability (and an overly strong early gallop assured in a huge field of staying chasers). The skills of the pilots counts for plenty, and a patient ride from off the pace from one of those with plenty of previous experience is usually a very good plan of attack for backers. In 2019 the peerless Derek O’Connor came with a perfectly timed run on Any Second Now, and he is sure to be in demand again on one of the market principals.

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