Steve Hughes looks ahead to Day Three at Cheltenham
A strange day on Wednesday with some short priced favourites turned over, yet plenty of the winners were very gettable. We found Dame De Compagnie (advised 6/1) with Night Edition second for the each-way wager (advised 20/1). I have four for Thursday.
Cheltenham 1.30: Mister Fisher
Some giants of Irish jumping line up here, but they could be seen off by Mister Fisher.
The 6yo has only once been seen beyond 2m, but that was a course and distance win in December. That proved he can handle soft ground and he has since won at Doncaster when looking briefly troubled three out. His class shone through in the end and back up to this longer trip he looks a solid each-way fancy.
Cheltenham 2.10: Welsh Saint
Trainer Nicky Henderson has been in great form this week and Welsh Saint could provide yet another winner.
He qualified for this race with a smooth success at Haydock last time, confirming my suspicion that he is best at this 3m trip. Previously he had stayed on well into third in a listed novice here over 2m4f.
The handicapper has not been overly hard on the 6yo, raising him just 5lbs so he still gets in here off a good racing weight.
Cheltenham 2.50: A Plus Tard
A brilliant winner of the Novice Handicap Chase at the Festival last year, A Plus Tard proved his grade 1 class by winning at Leopardstown last time. Trainer Henry de Bromhead is possibly cursing his decision to come here instead of the Champion Chase, given the way that race fell apart. However he could be vindicated after all with a win here.
De Bromhead has been in great form all week with a double on Tuesday and the way this horse stormed up the hill last year, he will prove the one to beat at this elevated level too.
Cheltenham 5.30: Bob Mahler
Trainer Warren Greatrex won the Kim Muir in 2018 with Missed Approach and used jockey Noel McParlan on that occasion. He does the same with Bob Mahler here and the recent Edinburgh National winner has the right attributes to take this.
His stamina is there for all to see having needed every yard of the 4m distance to win that day. Stiffer tracks are more his forte and he won here at the April meeting last season, storming home up the hill.
He is a lazy type so Greatrex may well be making a wise decision by upgrading the headgear from the usual cheekpieces to blinkers today.
0.75pts each-way – Mister Fisher – 1.30 Cheltenham – 11/2 (Paddy Power 1/5 odds 1st 4)
1pt each-way – Welsh Saint – 2.10 Cheltenham – 13/2 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)
1pt win – A Plus Tard – 2.50 Cheltenham – 7/4 general
0.75pts each-way – Bob Mahler – 5.30 Cheltenham – 20/1 Paddy Power (1/5 odds 1st 5)
Next column – Friday March 13th – final day Cheltenham Festival