Thursday's free-to-play game boasts another huge prize fund. All you need to do is pick the winner of the five chosen races! See our suggested selections below. Good luck!
1.30 Turners Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 166y
The betting suggests that this is a straightforward start to day three’s Paddy’s Pick 5, but while I’m not quite so sure, this still looks a good opportunity for MIGHTY POTTER.
He has done everything asked of him since flopping in the Supreme (where he was quickly pulled up after making a bad mistake, also worth noting he was kicked at the start), with his three chasing wins including a comprehensive defeat of Gaillard Du Mesnil at Fairyhouse. It’s best not to get too carried away with that, though, as the runner-up doesn’t jump that well and wouldn’t have been suited by the drop in trip that day, but Mighty Potter looks the best horse in this line-up.
Connections seemingly believe that the nine-year-old Appreciate It needs this longer trip after failing to land a serious blow against Tuesday’s hero El Fabiolo in the Irish Arkle last time, and there’s certainly an argument for it as he won over this sort of trip over hurdles, while Banbridge was staying on best of all that day at Leopardstown. I fancied him for the Arkle, and backed him to win it before that day, so he is bound to win this. Because we all know that’s how the Betting Gods get their kicks.
2.10 Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y
Third Wind led home a 1-2-3 for British runners last year, bringing to a halt a six-year period of domination for Irish runners sent off between 4/1 and 14/1.
Perhaps notably, one of those placed last year – Mill Green - was trained by Nicky Henderson, and it does appear to be a race that he targets, having won it in 2009 with Call The Cops. Exeter winner Walking On Air is respected, but I’m more interested in stablemate CAPTAIN MORGS who seemed to take his form to a new level in first-time cheekpieces when stepped up in distance to this C&D last time. That’s no surprise, as he’s from the family of the dour stayer Chief Dan George, and it's worth noting that that horse won his next four starts after the cheekpieces were applied.
At the time of writing, Thanksforthehelp – who won easily on his first start in cheekpieces after a wind op - is the shortest-priced British runner, but his 11 lb rise in the weights pales into insignificance when compared to the new handicap perches of Maxxum (25 lb higher than for his December win, despite being beaten since) and Perceval Legallois (15lb higher than his win last month). Maxxum holds Good Time Jonny on his win, and suffered interference last time when sent off 7/4 in a strong handicap, so isn’t one to dismiss lightly. His stablemates Salvador Ziggy and The Bosses Oscar are also respected.
At a bigger price, Green Book looks interesting. This season’s pattern has followed that of last, as he disappointed at Haydock after winning on his reappearance at Sandown. He went on to be a very solid fifth in last year’s Albert Bartlett, so this mark of 139 shouldn’t be any barrier to him bouncing back once more.
2.50 Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y
A tricky piece of this Paddy’s Pick 5 puzzle to solve, really, as if he’s on song then nothing is likely to see which way SHISKIN goes. The problem is that the last time he was at Cheltenham he went only one way: backwards. Though connections blamed bad ground there, it was clear that he wasn’t right, and he looked a different horse on his first start following a wind op when stepped up in trip for the Ascot Chase last time. That comprehensive beating of Pic D’Orhy, who has a good record going right-handed, suggested he is back near his best.
Should Shishkin fail to fire, Blue Lord – third in last year’s Arkle and generally solid, though he ‘felt flat’ when only second in the Dublin Chase last time – should be thereabouts, while Janidil did best of those who chased home the superior Allaho in this race 12 months ago and he proved his wellbeing with a game win on his belated reappearance at Gowran last month.
The strong stayer Fury Road actually finished well ahead of Janidil back in the 2020 Albert Bartlett, and isn’t out of the fight for the places if he can live with the early pace. He looks a bigger threat than the Paddy Power Gold Cup one-two Ga Law and French Dynamite.
Envoi Allen is of more some interest, too. He was pulled up in the King George when last seen but had previously held off the good yardstick Kemboy at Down Royal on his reappearance. He was a never-threatening third in last year’s Champion Chase, over a trip too short, and he looks sure to run well over this intermediate distance as long as the ground doesn’t get too soft.
3.30 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y
The Stayers’ Hurdle has been a contest that has been kind to those who like to follow previous winners of the race; Inglis Drever and Big Buck’s picked up seven renewals between them in between 2005 and 2012, while FLOORING PORTER became the latest multiple winner when following up his 2021 win when beating Klassical Dream 12 months ago. This year looks tougher, but his enthusiastic (and big-punting) owners will have nabbed some big prices after the horse’s injury scare earlier in the season and he looks primed to go in again. Klassical Dream has an excellent course record and must be a big danger if the ground doesn’t get too soft.
This could turn into the battle of the injury scares, as the participation of ante-post favourite Blazing Khal was in doubt last week. He returned with a few nicks after an impressive comeback in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan in mid-February, but will take his chance in a race the County Limerick handler won with Solwhit 10 years ago.
Teahupoo, an easy winner of an uncompetitive Galmoy Hurdle last time, and Home By The Lee, who looks a stronger horse this season after his sixth in last year’s renewal, are obvious dangers. Ashdale Bob, who chased home Home By The Lee at Leopardstown in December, makes more appeal than either of the French-trained runners Gold Tweet (who had Paisley Park back in third when winning here last time) and Henri Le Farceur. A win for the 2019 winner Paisley Park would take the roof off.
4.50 Ryanair Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y
Confidence is high at Seven Barrows that Luccia will take all the beating here, but while she has impressed to date, she is no longer the big fish in a small pond, and this race looks a lot deeper. Will she sink or swim?
With Ashroe Diamond not declared, stablemate Lot Of Joy, who sauntered home at Fairyhouse when last seen, is the main Willie Mullins Hope. She’s respected, especially as she attracted support beforehand, but preference is for YOU WEAR IT WELL who looks to have been underestimated in the betting so far. She has only been beaten by two horses to date; Mullenbeg, a highly-rated Milton Harris inmate who was recently second in the Dovecote and reopposes here, and the more well-known Hermes Allen. She drops in trip here but should be ridden prominently and some of her speedier rivals might just struggle to get past her up the hill.
Though she stays well, the drop in trip should suit the speed of classy Flat recruit Princess Zoe, who was only joined on the line by Ladybank last time. Along with the unbeaten Down Royal winner Magical Zoe, Ladybank represents a yard that does well in this race (which this year is named in honour of the trainer’s son), so all are respected.
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
✍ GOLD CUP RUNNER-BY-RUNNER GUIDE
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