Top tipster Dave Nevison marks your card for the action on day three of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.
2.10 Cheltenham: Thanksforthehelp
David Pipe won this race twice with Buena Vista a few years ago, so knows what is required to win a Pertemps Final and this looks to have been a plan that might have been hatched a while ago.
They certainly cut it fine getting him into this race and, for once, must have been very grateful that the handicapper has raised him 11lb for winning a modest race by just over six lengths last time.
That was at Chepstow where he took up the running two out and went away to win hard held over the longest trip he had tried up to now. It is a pure guess just how much he had in hand, but I think he had plenty.
That win came after a wind operation (not his first) and he was also wearing cheekpieces for the first time. Both are persevered with here and if they work again, he must have a chance of repelling the huge Irish challenge.
It has to be remembered that this horse is only a six-year-old and should still have upside left in him, so I am happy to stick with Paul Nicholls' charge who did us a big favour in a big handicap over this course and distance last time out.
He made a big impression when he won at Newbury not long after coming over from France but then his form went through a lull. A wind problem has been fully addressed now, though, as you would expect for a Nicholls resident, but he would not be the first young horse coming from France to go through the same phase.
He jumped and travelled enthusiastically last time and a raise of 8lb still puts on a rating lower than I thought he may be on at this point. Harry Cobden was in devastating form at the weekend, too, and hasn’t got too many chances in the handicaps this week, but this is certainly one of them.
5.30 Cheltenham: Royal Thief and AnightinLambourn
Gone are the days when this race was effectively a veteran’s chase full of well-known performers who plodded around the track ridden by retired soldiers or farmers' daughters in knitted colours!
Maybe that is a good thing, but I miss it, and can’t help thinking that some of today’s riders in particular are complete “shamateurs” who could, and do, hold their own in open company.
The horses are young progressive stayers nowadays who might well be in Graded contests next season. Apart from a couple of massive priced winners, most of the victors have been sent off at single figures in recent years.
I looked closely at Stumptown, Ruby Walsh’s only handicap tip in his racingtv.com column, and really want to be on him, but looking at his recent wins, I am worried that his jumping might still be put under too much pressure in this massive field.
I have left him out, but I am prepared to be wrong. Royal Thief goes very well fresh and took that to the limit coming back after more than two years last time to score comfortably in a race confined to amateurs.
His record over fences is two wins from three starts, and he was brought down early on his other outing. The way he won, and the manner of his jumping, last time out, certainly suggests significant improvement is forthcoming. His English rating certainly anticipates improvement, too, as he's 15lbs higher than that win now, but Henry De Bromhead’s yard seem to have hit Cheltenham in very good form and he has clearly been targeted at this.
Bookies are paying six places in this and I can’t see how Anightinlambourn won’t fill one of them plus deliver a decent profit on an each-way bet.
Ben Pauling’s mare has done nothing but improve this season and has run two really good races on the other course on her past two starts.
She should have probably beaten Jimmy The Digger two outings ago and turned the form around comfortably with the same rival last time out.
Her jumping has been a feature of her recent improvement and she has won when being held up, or up with the pace, so it seems Jack Andrews, who was on board last time out, will be able to put her anywhere in the race which will be very helpful.
I will be very disappointed if I lose money backing this one each-way.
A chance to win £50,000 with Paddy's Pick 5
Lydia Hislop's top tips for day three
Stayers' Hurdle: runner-by-runner guide
The Irish Angle: Johnny Ward's top tips
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